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Your RV's leveling jacks secure your rig at the proper angle so that it’s not tipped in one direction. Not only does the RV need to be level for your comfort while in the RV, but a lot of components within the RV rely on it being level in order to work properly. If an RV is not level, you'll have problems extending and retracting the slides, and appliances such as the refrigerator will have a hard time working. Keeping your RV leveling jacks from experiencing unnecessary wear ‘n tear will extend the life of them and make setting up camp a lot easier.
Read the Manual Front To Back
While reading your RV owner’s manual probably doesn't sound like the most fun thing to do, it's a must for familiarizing yourself with your RV's leveling jacks. The leveling system on your RV is one you want to know inside and out. The manual will explain how to use it, how to care for it, and how to troubleshoot if you run into a problem. Before taking any of the following steps, check your owner’s manual because RV systems vary depending on brand and manufacturer.
Cleaning & Lubrication
When your leveling jacks extend for use, they can pick up dirt and debris from the ground. Then, when you retract them, that dirt and debris can get pulled up into the leveling system and cause some major issues. To avoid this headache, make it a habit to wipe down the jacks before retracting them.
Periodically you will need to lubricate the jacks. Your manual should suggest how often to do it and what type of lubricant to use. Some will recommend using a silicon lubricant, while others will say to use something similar to automatic transmission fluid. Make sure to use the recommended type, as using the wrong one can cause damage.
When Using the System
The leveling system works with hydraulics. Fluid gets pushed in and out which in turn pushes the components of the system in and out. Check the fluid levels at least once a month to ensure they’re at the proper levels.
When you first get to your destination, make sure you’re on a relatively flat surface. Lowing your leveling system down onto jagged rocks that send it tipping in one direction can cause damage to the system itself. If your area isn't flat, you should move to a new place (if possible) or use something like a board or brick to make the surface flat.
If the ground is soft, you’ll need to distribute your RV's weight across a greater area so the jacks don’t sink into the ground. You can buy load distribution pads or use blocks of wood or bricks to get the same effect.
Auto leveling systems do all the work for you and deploy the jacks in the proper order. If you don’t have an auto leveling system, it’s important to know the order in which you should deploy each jack. Extending them in the incorrect order can cause twisting of your RV which can lead to broken windows, unbalanced slides, and cracks in the sidewall. Your owner's manual should include the correct order of extension.
When you're packing up to leave, make sure that all the landing gear has been fully retracted. If they’re still extended when you drive away, they become susceptible to damage from road debris and dirt build-up.
If you’re using the auto leveling system and it’s not setting up right, the zero point is probably out of whack. This zero point is set at the factory and communicates to the system what level actually is. At times this setting can become misaligned and need to be reset. You will be able to reset that zero point by following the instructions in the owner's manual. Again, the owner's manual comes to the rescue!
If you find fluid dripping from any part of the leveling system, you probably have a leak! Leaks can be caused by seal wear and tear and even from overfilling the fluid. If you find a leak, take your RV to the nearest RV dealership in Michigan, or wherever you happen to be, and have them take a look at it to diagnose the issue.
Watch for errors on your display and look them up in … you guessed it ... the owner’s manual. Not all display icons or words make it obvious as to what the problem is. For example, the Lippert system will display “FEATURE DISABLED” just because the front of the RV is below the leveling point when you start. The owner's manual will help you decipher the error messages.
Ultimately the best way to know how to care for your leveling system is to read the owner's manual and keep it handy at all times. If you need help with an RV issue or repair, visit mid-Michigan's premium RV dealer and we'll be glad to service your RV and get you back on the road in no time!