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What Happens if Your RV Isn’t Level?

What Happens If Your RV Isn’t Level?

You’ve likely had to navigate some unlevel campsites. So what happens if your RV isn’t level?

It could cause damage or keep mechanisms from working correctly. That’s why it’s essential to know why your RV should be level.

Let’s go through the ins and outs of leveling!

What Does it Mean to Level an RV? 

A level RV is balanced from front to back and side to side. Some rigs have automatic leveling systems that will alert you when it’s set. When leveling manually, you can tell when it’s right with a bubble level.

Pro Tip: Make leveling easier with an app, such as Bubble Level. 

How Do You Level an RV? 

There are several ways to level an RV. The simplest is to park on even ground. It’s always a great day when a campsite is entirely level.

In this case, your tires will keep your RV balanced. If you’re in a travel trailer or fifth wheel, you still may need to level it from front to back after you put down any necessary jacks.

Some RVs have automatic leveling jacks.

An auto-leveling system or hydraulic leveling system is as easy as pushing a button. Manual jacks operate similarly but don’t level your rig without your assistance. Instead, you have to use a bubble level.

Leveling blocks are another way to get your RV level. You can stack them up several inches and drive onto them. Then, using a bubble level, you can adjust the blocks. There are several different brands on the market. We like the Camco Heavy Duty Leveling Blocks. 

Why Does Your RV Need to Be Level? 

Your RV needs to be level to prevent malfunctions and more. Here are the five main reasons. 

To Minimize Stress on the Frame

When an RV is off-balance, it can cause stress on the frame, leading to issues with interior features. RVs need to sit level, similar to how a house needs to be level.

So if an RV is unlevel in only one corner, the frame can twist.

When this happens over and over, you’ll suffer long-term damage.

For Efficient and Safe RV Refrigerator Function

RV absorption refrigerators won’t function properly if your RV isn’t level. The fridge uses a flame to heat ammonia, hydrogen gas, and water.

These travel through coils in the back of the refrigerator. A level refrigerator allows gravity to pull the elements through a cooling process.

But if the fridge isn’t level, that won’t happen, and it could cause a fire.

So Your Slide-Outs Work Properly

RV manufacturers are pretty adamant that your RV needs to be level when you use the slides. And for a good reason. If your RV isn’t level, your slides can malfunction.

Similarly, if your slides sit extended on an unlevel surface for more than a couple of hours, they can suffer damage. The weight and stress points aren’t in suitable locations when the RV is unlevel.


Sleeping or trying to cook in an unlevel RV is annoying. Doors not shutting correctly or cupboards swinging open can also make your camping trip uncomfortable when your RV is unlevel.

And it can throw off your equilibrium and make you feel off balance. A level RV will maximize your comfort. 

Accurate Holding Tank Readings

Readings for the freshwater, black, and gray water holding tanks will be incorrect when your RV is unlevel. This is because the sensors in the tanks may read full or empty when they aren’t.

In addition, liquids won’t flow through the pipes properly.

What Happens if Your RV Isn’t Level? 

There are profound implications when your RV is off balance. Here are two of the most severe dangers.

The Dangers of an Unlevel RV Fridge

An unlevel RV refrigerator can cause a fire. When a fridge isn’t allowed to cool appropriately, the elements can pool inside the coil and start a fire. The danger of an unlevel fridge can escalate quickly. 

Stuck or Leaking Slide-Out

Malfunctions or leaks can occur when your slide-out is on uneven ground. If you extend or retract your slide-out when the RV is unlevel, you risk it getting stuck or a mechanism breaking.

Slide-out repairs can be costly and take a long time. Keeping your slide out when unlevel can also invite leaks. The seal on the slide-out may not be tight, and rain will get in. 

Put It On Your Checklist

When your RV isn’t level, you could be in a world of trouble. We recommend putting “level the RV” on your arrival checklist. It’s an easy preventive measure to take so you don’t damage anything. And we guarantee you’ll be much more comfortable living on a level surface.

How do you level your RV?

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  1. carolyn (Casita 16 SD) says:

    Your phone may have a level in it, ours is very accurate