Unleash the convenience of hydraulic RV leveling jacks. Learn everything you need to know about these camper essentials before you start using them for a smoother RV experience.
You’ve driven miles to reach your idyllic campsite, surrounded by nature’s splendor, ready to unwind and relax in your cherished RV.
But as you settle in, you notice a slight tilt.
The unevenness turns comfort into frustration. It’s the dreaded leveling problem, a challenge that every RVer knows all too well.
Welcome, to our comprehensive guide about RV hydraulic leveling jacks.
You’re here because you understand a level RV’s importance and are not alone. We all want our homes-on-wheels to be as comfortable and stable as the brick-and-mortar ones we left behind.
Whether you’re a weekend wanderer or a full-time road warrior, a perfectly level RV can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a restless one.
Few things are worse than sleeping with your feet higher than your head!
In this post, we’ll dive deep into the world of hydraulic RV leveling systems – how they work, why they’re essential, and most importantly, which offer the best bang for your buck.
So, buckle up, and let’s embark on this journey to ensure you’ll always have a level playing field no matter where you park.
When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, please check our disclosure page.
At a Glance: 3 Best RV Hydraulic Jacks
Why Do You Need an RV Leveling System?
So, what’s the big deal about having an RV leveling system?
Firstly, it’s all about keeping your equipment in check. If your RV is tilted, it’s risky to extend your slides.
Doing so can lead to malfunction or even cause damage.
And then there’s your refrigerator. If you’re using a gas absorption fridge, it needs a level surface to work properly.
So, keeping your RV level is essential for those cold beverages at the end of a long drive!
With a leveling system, adjusting your rig becomes a breeze. Some are so powerful they can lift your entire rig off the ground!
If you have an auto-leveling system, you can sit back and relax. It takes care of the leveling process, taking a load off your mind.
In short, every RVer needs an RV leveling system or blocks.
They enhance comfort, functionality, and safety, regardless of where your travels take you.
How do RV Hydraulic Leveling Jacks Work?
The hydraulic system includes a pump that pushes fluid, creating pressure in a piston attached to ‘feet’ at the corners of your RV.
There may be up to six feet on some larger models, like 5th wheels.
The hydraulic fluid is stored in a tank and is circulated through the system via hoses when pressure is needed.
When the feet are retracted, the fluid returns to the tank, as it’s a closed system.
Not all systems use hydraulics, though.
Some use air pressure or electric motors to operate jacks.
These electric motors turn gears on a mechanical rack to extend or retract the jack instead of using pressurized fluid.
Some high-tech systems, like the Level Up Hydraulic Leveling System, even have auto-leveling sensors.
These sensors automatically adjust the jacks to level and stabilize your RV.
However, not every model is an automatic RV leveling system. Some just lift and stabilize your RV.
You control the jacks by flipping switches that control the flow of fluid, raising or lowering the jacks as needed.
For older models, such as fifth wheels, the systems are typically simpler and include individual jacks that need to be manually adjusted to level the RV side-to-side.
The Pros & Cons of Hydraulic Leveling Jacks for RVs
Remember, the right leveling system depends on your needs and circumstances.
Always consider your RV’s size, type, budget, and comfort while maintaining and operating the system.
Here’s a brief overview of the pros and cons of hydraulic leveling jacks for RVs:
Pros of Hydraulic Leveling Jacks:
- Reliability: Hydraulic systems are generally more reliable than other types, ensuring you get a steady, level RV every time you set up.
- Ease of Use: Many hydraulic leveling systems have automatic leveling capabilities, making the process as simple as pushing a button.
- Speed: Hydraulic jacks are usually faster at leveling your RV than manual or electric jack systems.
- Stability: Hydraulic jacks can provide superior stability, especially for larger RVs, as they can handle more weight.
Cons of Hydraulic Leveling Jacks
- Cost: Hydraulic leveling systems tend to be more expensive than other types, both in initial cost and maintenance.
- Complexity: These systems can be more complex to install and repair, often requiring professional help.
- Weight: Hydraulic systems can add significant weight to your RV, which might concern some owners.
- Potential for Leaks: Like any hydraulic system, there’s a chance of fluid leaks, which can lead to expensive repairs.
How to Choose the Best Hydraulic Leveling Jack for Your RV
Choosing the best hydraulic leveling jack for your RV involves considering several key factors.
Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision.
Understand Your RV’s Specifications
Before purchasing a hydraulic leveling jack, you need to know the weight and size of your RV.
Different jacks have different weight capacities and lift heights, so choosing one that can accommodate your RV’s specific requirements is crucial.
Consider the Leveling System
Some systems offer automatic leveling, while others require manual adjustment.
Automatic systems are easier to use and can save time but are usually more expensive.
A manual system could be more cost-effective if you’re comfortable leveling your RV manually.
Evaluate the Installation Process
Most hydraulic leveling jacks require professional installation.
Installing the system could save money if you’re handy and enjoy DIY projects.
However, professional installation might be worth the extra cost for complex systems to ensure it’s done correctly.
Check the Warranty & Customer Support
A good warranty and responsive customer support can provide peace of mind.
If something goes wrong with your hydraulic leveling jack, you’ll want to know the manufacturer stands behind their product and offers assistance when needed.
Customer reviews can offer valuable insights into a product’s performance and reliability.
Look for reviews from RV owners with similar needs and see what they say about the hydraulic leveling jacks you’re considering.
Hydraulic leveling jacks vary widely in price. While it might be tempting to opt for the cheapest option, remember that this is an investment in your RV’s functionality and comfort while on the road.
Balance cost considerations with quality, features, and durability.
Considering these factors, you can choose a hydraulic leveling jack that provides the best performance, convenience, and value for your RVing needs.
Installation & Setup
While the installation of hydraulic leveling jacks may vary depending on the specific model and brand, it generally involves a professional due to the complexity of the task.
Here’s a general overview of what the process might look like:
A professional will first assess your RV’s specific needs and limitations. This includes understanding your vehicle’s weight, size, and balance points.
Choosing the Right System
Based on the assessment, the right hydraulic leveling system is chosen.
This decision takes into account factors such as weight capacity, automatic or manual leveling, and the number of jacks needed.
For optimal stability, the installation involves securing the jacks at strategic points around the RV, usually at the corners.
This requires precise measurements and sometimes modifications to the RV’s frame, tasks best left to professionals.
Hydraulic System Setup
After the physical installation of the jacks, the hydraulic system connecting these jacks needs to be set up.
This includes arranging the hydraulic pump, hoses, and fluid reservoir.
It’s crucial to ensure no leaks and that the system builds up pressure as required.
Control Panel Setup & Testing
A control panel is installed, preferably within easy reach inside the RV.
This allows you to control the operation of the jacks. Some systems may also include remote controls for added convenience.
Once everything is in place, the professional will test the system thoroughly. This includes extending and retracting the jacks multiple times, checking the response of the control panel, and ensuring the RV can be leveled correctly on uneven surfaces.
Finally, they’ll give you a demo of how to use the system correctly and provide advice on maintenance and troubleshooting.
Remember, professional installation is strongly recommended due to the complexity and cost of hydraulic leveling systems.
It ensures the job is done correctly and can prevent voiding the warranty, as some manufacturers require professional installation.
How to Use a Hydraulic Leveling Jack
Running your RV’s hydraulic leveling system might initially seem complex, but with some practice and familiarity, it becomes second nature.
The heart of this system is its control panel, typically located within easy reach inside your RV.
This panel is your command center, allowing you to use a simple button press to engage the automatic leveling system.
Hold the “Auto Leveling” button for a few seconds, and the system will spring into action.
Some advanced systems, like the EQ Smart-Level, can level your RV in under two minutes. This quick operation makes setting up your campsite far more efficient and hassle-free.
Embracing Technology with Bluetooth App Control
Many hydraulic leveling systems have incorporated smart features in our technologically advanced era for added convenience.
One such feature is Bluetooth app control.
Now, you can operate your RV’s leveling system just like changing a song or adjusting the volume on your smartphone.
You can even connect it to the Renogy ONE using Zigbee connections linked to your leveling controller.
A Bluetooth app for hydraulic leveling jacks brings new convenience and precision to set up your RV.
The EQ Systems Smart-Level app even allows you to remotely manage your hydraulic leveling system, perform both automatic and manual leveling, and keep an eye on your system from a distance.
Alternatives to Hydraulic Leveling Jacks
While hydraulic leveling jacks are a popular choice for RV leveling, they are not the only option.
There are several other leveling systems available for RVs.
Scissor stabilizer jacks are a tried-and-true companion for the avid RVer, offering a reliable alternative to hydraulic leveling systems.
Many RVs and campers come equipped with these handy tools, securely bolted onto the frame for your convenience.
With just a simple crank rod, you can easily adjust these jacks until they make contact with the ground, providing your mobile abode with a steady foundation.
For an even smoother experience, consider scissor jacks that include a drill adapter, which significantly simplifies the cranking process.
If your camper isn’t outfitted with pre-installed scissor jacks or you’re in need of extra stability, you can readily find these jacks at hardware stores or online.
They come in a variety of weight capacities – 5,000 lbs and 7,500 lbs being common options.
However, it’s important to remember that while these jacks are sturdy, they aren’t designed to fully lift your RV off the ground. Exercise caution not to overestimate their lifting capacity.
Lastly, be mindful of your RV’s frame positioning before deploying the scissor jacks. Incorrect placement could risk damaging the underside of your RV.
With careful use and proper understanding, scissor stabilizer jacks can be an invaluable addition to your RV adventures.
Electric jacks present an effortless solution for RVers seeking an alternative to hydraulic leveling systems.
Powered by the RV’s 12V electrical system, these jacks spring into action at the mere press of a button!
This user-friendly option is ideal if you’re after a swift and uncomplicated method that spares you from bending down or handling heavy equipment.
Electric jacks pack more power than conventional scissor jacks, providing robust support for your mobile home.
In addition, these jacks can team up with leveling jacks to enhance your RV’s stability, making them a fantastic choice for those looking to streamline their RV setup process while also ensuring safety and security.
RV leveling blocks, also known as “jack pads”, “stacker blocks”, or “stabilizer pads”, offer a practical alternative to hydraulic leveling jacks.
They’re designed to help level your RV on uneven or sloped terrains, enhancing the stability and comfort of your mobile home.
It’s worth noting that while both jacks and leveling blocks contribute to the stability of your RV, they serve different purposes.
Leveling blocks help adjust the trailer’s tilt from left to right, while the tongue jack manages the tilt from front to rear.
The four-corner jacks, on the other hand, are mainly for stabilization and not for lifting.
RV bubble levels are a simple yet effective alternative to RV hydraulic leveling jacks.
They’re low-tech, easy to use, and affordable, making them a popular choice among RV enthusiasts.
You can purchase stick-on bubble levels for the side and front of your RV, allowing you to quickly gauge how far from level your vehicle is.
You could also consider using products like the LevelMatePro. It mounts inside your RV and aids in achieving a level stance.
A T level from Camco has been recognized as one of the best RV bubble levels available. It’s particularly efficient when used alongside hydraulic levels to ensure your RV is parallel to the ground.
It’s worth noting that some RVs have hydraulic jacks don’t auto-level but merely lift and stabilize.
These systems are slightly simpler but require manual side-to-side adjustment. Bubble levels can be particularly helpful with them.
RV leveling ramps, such as the ones offered by Anderson Hitches, are also super popular. These ramps, rather than being multi-piece block systems, are a single piece that allows for minute adjustments to get your RV evenly balanced.
The standout feature of the Anderson Hitch is its precision. It can accurately level at any increment from 1/2″ to 4″, making it both precise and user-friendly.
Plus they give you the flexibility to elevate the RV within a few inches. They provide a highly accurate and easy-to-use solution for RV leveling.
Remember, the best product for you will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.
Tips for a Perfectly Leveled RV
Here are some tips to help ensure your RV is perfectly leveled:
- Choose a Level Spot: Start by picking as level a spot as possible to park your RV. This minimizes the work you’ll need to do to get it perfectly level.
- Use a Reliable Leveling Tool: Whether using hydraulic leveling jacks, scissor jacks, or leveling blocks, ensure you’re using a reliable tool. An inaccurate leveling tool can leave your RV off balance.
- Check Your Level Often: Even if you think you’ve achieved the perfect level, it’s crucial to check it often, especially if you stay in one spot for several days. Slight shifts in the ground beneath your RV can throw off your level.
- Don’t Rush the Process: Take your time when leveling your RV. Rushing can lead to mistakes, meaning you’ll have to start over.
- Make Minor Adjustments: If your RV needs to be more level, make minor adjustments rather than large ones. Adding or removing a bit more support is easier than starting from scratch.
- Consider Upgrading Your System: If you find leveling your RV a constant struggle, it may be worth investing in an upgraded system. Automatic leveling systems can make the process much easier and faster.
- Use wheel chocks: Finally, remember to use wheel chocks for added safety and stability during leveling. These simple tools are essential for preventing unintentional and accidental movement of your travel trailer. They should be situated on both sides of the wheel, as close to the wheel as possible, and securely in place.
Achieving a perfectly leveled RV is not just about comfort but also crucial for the proper functioning of your appliances and overall safety.
While hydraulic leveling jacks offer unmatched precision and convenience, plenty of alternatives are available.
Whether you opt for scissor jacks, electric leveling jacks, RV leveling blocks, bubble levels, or RV leveling ramps, the key lies in choosing the right tool that suits your needs, budget, and comfort level.
Remember, patience and frequent checking are your best allies in this process.
And while these tasks might seem daunting at first, with time and practice, they’ll become second nature.
So, gear up, follow our tips, and prepare for a smooth and balanced ride on your next adventure. Happy RVing
No, not all RVs come equipped with hydraulic leveling jacks. These systems are commonly found in larger, more luxurious RV models such as Class A motorhomes or high-end fifth wheels. Many smaller RVs, like travel trailers and Class C motorhomes, often rely on manual leveling methods, such as using blocks or ramps.
The type of hydraulic fluid required for your RV’s automatic leveling system can vary depending on the system’s manufacturer. However, many systems typically use Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF). Always check your leveling system’s manual or consult the manufacturer to ensure you use the correct fluid.
Retracting the leveling jacks is generally recommended when storing your RV. Leaving them extended for long periods can expose them to weather and potential damage. Plus, retracting the jacks takes the pressure off the hydraulic system, which could prolong its lifespan.
Leveling jacks and stabilizing jacks serve different purposes in an RV setup. Leveling jacks, often hydraulic, are designed to raise and lower the RV to ensure its level when parked. On the other hand, stabilizing jacks are used after leveling to reduce the movement you feel inside the RV when people move around.