So you have gotten your new rig, towed it to the campground of your choice and managed to back it in to a fairly level looking site. The next task is to level the trailer so you don’t walk around leaning to the side. Once that is done, you’re all good right? Well….maybe not.
The best way to stabilize a travel trailer takes several steps to eliminate as much horizontal and vertical movement as possible.
- Deploy the levelers using leveling blocks. Set the rig level.
- Put wheel chocks in front of and behind the wheels.
- Utilize stabilizers to eliminate vertical movement.
This is a house that is mounted on wheels and springs, which are designed to cushion the ride as you travel down the road. If the frame and suspension were rigid, you wouldn’t have much left when you got to your destination, especially if you travel down I-10 in Louisiana – the worst patch of road ANYWHERE!
Parking it and leveling isn’t always enough to keep it from wiggling. Many fifth wheels and motorhomes these days have auto-leveling systems, but many travel trailers do not.
A stable rv means having the right tools and knowledge to add the extra support you may need above and beyond your four stabilizers.
So the question we get so often from newer RVers is: “How do I stop my travel trailer from rocking?”
The best way to stop your travel trailer from rocking is by using a combination of leveling jacks which reduce up and down motion, stabilizers that reduce side to side motion, and wheel chocks to reduce any movement of the tires.
These items come in many different forms which we will go through, so that you can make an informed decision as to what will work best for your situation. The other thing to remember is that nothing (other than a permanent foundation) will completely stop your rig from some movement.
Not only is an unstable RV uncomfortable, it can cause noise issues. Certain more vigorous adult activities will still require a bit of care to avoid waking the neighbors. I am talking about jumping jacks of course. Must mind your RV campground etiquette after all.
What Are Jacks, Levelers and RV Stabilizers
While these terms are generally used interchangeably in the industry, for our purposes we will define them as follows:
Jacks/ Levelers: typically used on the four corners of the rig (sometimes in the middle as well, for larger rigs.) They run up and down vertically and are used to level the rig more accurately than can be done with wheel chocks and the tongue jack. Most travel trailers have levelers attached in place, and they are run down to the ground by means of some type of a screw system.
Stabilizers: Run on an angle from the frame to the ground ( or jack base) adding side to side stability beyond what the jacks themselves provide.
“The simple answer is NO. You should not put your slides out until your RV is level. All slide systems rely on some kind of balance to work properly. Running the slide machinery while the rig is not level will put undue wear onto the mechanics, causing issues over time. “
What Is The Best Way To Stabilize A Travel Trailer?
There are several steps to properly leveling and stabilizing a travel trailer. It starts with parking the rv properly on the site. Many travel trailers have small leveling bubbles mounted onto the front area of the rig. If not you can get some or use a hand level that you can carry in the “basement” of the rig.
- Before driving into the site, take a quick walk around. look to see if the site is fairly level visually or if you will obviously need wheel chocks to raise one side of the trailer.
- Move the trailer into the site and get it close to where you want it. If you need to drive up on wheel chocks, drive a bit past the spot and set the chocks down so you can pull the rig back up onto them. The trailer should be very close to level (side to side) at this point.
- Disconnect the trailer from the bumper of your tow vehicle. Now use the tongue jack to raise or lower the front of the trailer until level front to back.
- Place leveling blocks or jack pads (whatever you use) under all 4 corners of the rig making sure that they are seated nicely onto flat ground. If they are rocking, so will the trailer. Then set or lower your corner leveling jacks onto the grounding blocks until they are firmly set.
- Now double check level both side to side and front to back. You can use the corner jacks to make fine adjustments- DO NOT have them bear the full weight of the trailer.
Best Selling Levelers
There are several types of levelers for Travel Trailers. A few of the most popular ones are:
Libra Scissors Type Levelers
These scissor jacks are one of the most popular sets of levelers. Each can support up to 5000 lbs. They can be mounted in opposing ways to add stabilization as well.
No matter what kind of RV you have- a pop up camper, travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome, your rig will probably be equipped with some sort of leveling jacks. These are also known as your landing gear. Depending on the size of your rig and the weight capacity of the levelers, they are typically found on each corner, or there may be extras midway down the vehicle.
These may be manual jacks that you have to hand crank down into place, or fully automated “one button” systems that will auto level the rig without you. Once you have these in place you will have pretty much eliminated vertical movement in your rig.
Horizontal movement, or sway is another question. This can be eliminated by using chocks on your travel trailer wheels, and vertical stabilizers on the lending gear.
How Do I Stabilize My Travel Trailer?
Once you have the travel trailer on solid footing, you will want to figure out how to stop the RV from rocking when parked and leveled. You can use stabilizers to reduce this side to side movement, or sway. There are 2 items to put in place here: stabilizers and wheel chocks.
Stabilizers are struts that attach to your frame in key spots, and angle down to the ground (or to the foot of the levelers,) helping to reduce side to side sway. There are many kinds depending on trailer weight but some of the most popular are:
Best Selling RV Stabilizer Jacks
Stabilizers come in many styles, but the idea is the same. For our purposes here, we will look at stabilizers that are installed additional to levelers.
SteadyFast RV Stabilizer System
This system mounts to the frame and to 4 included foot pads which go under the existing levelers. Once installed, the system can stay in place, it raises and lowers automatically with the levelers, then just lock each bar into place.
Best Selling Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks also come in several types. They serve to lock the RV tires into place, reducing any wiggle that may happen due to the tires moving.
MaxxHaul Wedge Style Wheel Chocks
Wedge-style wheel chocks are wedged in under the front and back of the trailer tires, keeping the tires from moving forward or back. They tend to be a more inexpensive type of chock.
Can I Level My Camper With the Slides Out?
This is one of these questions that comes down to “can I” vs “should I.”
The simple answer is NO. You should not extend your slide outs until after you complete your leveling process. All slide systems rely on some kind of balance to work properly. Running the slide machinery while the rig is not level will put undue wear onto the mechanics, causing issues over time.
So while the slide may work fine, you are playing a bit of Russian Roulette. As a matter of practice you should always level the rig before putting out slides, and put them back in place before un-leveling.
“There are several steps to properly leveling and stabilizing a travel trailer. It starts with parking the rv properly on the site. “
A Level Travel Trailer
Now you know how to answer the question “How do I stop my travel trailer from rocking?” With a few of the right accessories, you can ensure that your RV is stable and solid which will add great enjoyment to your camping adventure. Especially if you plan any “jumping jacks.”