If you will be parking your travel trailer on one site for an extended period or maybe even indefinitely, then you need to get it leveled properly. There is something that is quite off-putting about staying inside a trailer that leans to one side. Some people will just say that you just have to deal with it. However, having a crooked trailer is actually pretty bad.
This is why you need to learn how to level a travel trailer on a permanent site. Here are some of the reasons why you need to have your trailer leveled. Later on, you will also learn a couple of techniques to do it.
Reasons for Trying to Have a Level Trailer
You will sleep better at night – Have you ever tried sleeping on a slanted bed? If you haven’t then you do not know just how awkward and uncomfortable it is. Even just a slight slant on the bed is enough to make you feel like you will be sliding off the mattress.
It gets even worse when your bed is oriented in such a way that your head is lower than your feet. If your trailer is leveled properly, you will be able to get a good night’s sleep every time.
Cooking will be much easier – If you want your food to cook evenly, the pan needs to be flat on a level cooking surface. If you try to cook in a trailer that is not perfectly level, your omelets will always be brown on one side and slightly undercooked on the other. Your pancakes will also turn out thicker on one side as compared to the other.
Your refrigerator might malfunction or even break – Do you have a refrigerator in your trailer, which is the same as the one that you use in your home (one that uses Freon instead of propane as a coolant)?
Then be aware that if it is not level, the coolant lines will clog up, leading to expensive repairs. Your trailer needs to be almost perfectly leveled if you want your trusty, old refrigerator to keep on humming.
It can be vertigo-inducing – Even a slight slant on the floor can make someone prone to dizziness and vertigo feel like his head is spinning. Walking can also be a hassle as you feel like you are overcompensating for your balance with every step.
How to Level your Camper Trailer?
It is almost impossible to find a campground that is completely level, unless of course you will be staying at an RV trailer park where the parking slots are already paved. If you will be staying out in the wilderness, finding enough level ground that can fit your trailer is next to impossible. However, you can make do using the following tips:
- Pick a spot that is as level as possible
If you place a simple level on any surface in your trailer and the bubble goes either all the way to the left or the right then you should just pick another spot. Your trailer is positioned at such an extreme angle that any attempts at leveling the trailer will only be in vain.
Go find another place where the level does not stray too far from the center as much as possible. The nearer to the center, the better. This means that you will only be doing some minor adjustments to get the trailer to sit level on the ground.
- Clear the area as much as possible
Before you start to level your trailer, go clear out the immediate vicinity. Throw away any large stones, branches, dead logs and other debris that will make leveling your trailer that much more difficult. If you are camping with other people, ask them to steer clear of the trailer while you are figuring out how to make the whole thing stable and level.
- Check the trailer using a level
You should always bring an RV level with you whenever you go camping. You will use this to check how level your trailer is on the ground. Use the level to measure the camper’s doorway. Place the level flat on the doorway. The side of the trailer that shows that it is lower is the side that you need to raise.
- Place your leveling blocks near the trailer’s tires
Modern leveling blocks look like large and sturdy Lego blocks. To use them, you just snap them on together to form a simple ramp for your trailer’s tires. Place them in front of the tires of the side of the trailer that you need to raise. You can find leveling blocks in most big box stores or in camper specialty stores.
If you want and if you have some bits of wood lying around in your garage/workshop, you can also use wood planks. However, you need to make sure that the wood that you use is wider than the camper’s tires or else, it will damage the tires. The problem with using wood is that it can take up a lot of space in your camper. It is also very heavy.
Also, if you find that your stabilizing wood blocks are starting to rot and decay, you should stop using them right away.
- Drive your trailer onto the blocks
Slowly tow your trailer so that they rest on top of the leveling blocks. You just need to keep your steering wheel straight and go easy on the gas. The tires must be completely within the width of the leveling blocks.
If there are overhanging parts of the tires, you need to back up and reset the position of the blocks. If you let your tires overhang, it can seriously damage the steel belt ply of the tires.
- Place wheel chocks to keep your trailer in place
Chocks are required safety measures. Place your RV wheel chocks behind the tires if the ground slopes towards the back of the trailer and in front if the slope goes that way. If you are unsure then just place them in front and at the back of the wheels.
Chocks are vital for your safety, so you need to use them even if you do not think that you need them. It is better to be safe than sorry. There have been many tales of foolhardy trailer owners who did not use the chocks and had to chase their trailers downhill.
- Lower the tongue jack
Before you start lowering the tongue jack, which is located in front of the trailer, you should lay down a couple of pieces of 2” by 10” planks. This is so the jack has a solid footing, preventing it from sinking into the ground.
Lower the jack, making sure that the foot is dead center of the wood planks. If you want to use something that will last longer than wood and is much lighter, use a wheel dock, which you can find in most big box retail stores and in RV specialty shops.
- Unhitch the tow vehicle
Once you are happy with how the camper trailer is secured, lower the tongue jack and unhitch the vehicle. Move the towing vehicle out of the way so that it will be easier for you to continue leveling your trailer.
- Check the level again but this time, it should be from front to back
Grab your level again and then orient it so that you can measure if the front or back of the trailer needs to level. If the reading says that the rear is lower, adjust the tongue jack. Either lower or raise the front using the tongue jack of the trailer to make it level.
- Use the trailer’s stabilizing jacks
These jacks are found in the four corners of the trailer. Although you can use these for leveling, their primary purpose is to prevent the trailer from rocking from side to side and falling out of its level.
Before you lower the jacks, place a 2-inch by 10-inch plank of wood underneath their feet. This will give them a solid surface to stand on and prevent them from sinking into the ground.
If your trailer does not come standard with stabilizing jacks, you can use jack stands that you can purchase in all automotive supply stores in their place. One thing that you need to remember when using jack stands is that you cannot use them to lift up the trailer. You can only use them to prop it up once raised.
There you go. Your trailer is now leveled and stabilized. You can now enjoy living in your new small home for as long as you like. Now, you can move about inside the trailer without feeling like you are always ready to tumble forward or back.
You should never let your trailer stay crooked, especially if you will be parked in one location for an indefinite amount of time. Not only does living inside an uneven trailer nausea-inducing, it can also cause severe damage to the chassis of the trailer.
If you want to continue using your trailer for more camping trips in the future, you need to learn how to level a travel trailer on a permanent site.
Hi, I am Dane Heldt, a full-time RVer since 2016. I am always passionate about building and joining an RV community where people share their love for RV lives. This blog is a dream of mine, as I can finally share my experiences to help people who want to start living differently. So, feel free to reach out to me!