How to Use RV Stabilizer Jacks to Prevent Bounce and Sway

Do you know what stabilizer jacks are and what they do for your RV? We’ll walk you through the difference between stabilizing and leveling, and explain how to stabilize your RV once you’re set up at camp.


Leveling, stabilizing, and how they’re different.

First, you should know: stabilizing and leveling your RV are not the same thing.

Leveling is the process of making sure your RV is on an even plane from side to side and front to back. This helps the systems inside the RV work properly and makes it a more comfortable experience. No one really likes walking around at an incline or trying to keep from rolling out of bed at night because you set up your RV at an awkward angle.

Stabilizing keeps the RV steady when people are walking around inside, or when the wind is blowing outside.

You need to both level and stabilize your RV before you settle into your campsite. We’ll focus on stabilizing here, but if you want help with leveling, check out this post.


What’s a stabilizer jack?

rv stabilizer jacks

An RV stabilizer jack is a metal arm that’s installed into your RV’s frame and designed to extend from the frame of the RV onto the ground. When you’re on the road, your jacks should be retracted into the frame. When you’re parked, you’ll fully extend them until they touch the ground. There is a time and place for when you lower them to secure your unit–more on that later.

Automatic stabilizer jacks are found on some of the more upscale RVs. With the push of a button inside, all four stabilizer jacks extend and retract automatically.

Manual stabilizer jacks are more common and require a hand crank or a handheld power drill and drill bit to extend.

Either way, the process is pretty easy and should be a pain-free part of setting up camp.


How do you use a stabilizer jack?

Stabilizer jacks for your RV

  1. After your RV is disconnected from your tow vehicle, your RV is level, and your wheel chocks are in place, use the hand crank included with your RV or a handheld drill with an appropriately size drill bit to extend each stabilizer jack. Stabilizer jacks are often located at the front and rear of units.
  2. Each jack is in place when it touches the ground. Don’t extend it any further, because it could get stuck or damaged in the process.
  3. You can do a second round to check that each jack is extended properly.
  4. When you’re ready to hit the road again, retracting the stabilizer jacks should be one of your first steps. Complete this before you take out the wheel chocks and leveling blocks, and definitely get it done before adjusting your hitch jack. Never drive with the stabilizer jacks extended!


Do you need stabilizer jack pads?

Stabilizer jack pads aren’t a necessity, but they can protect your stabilizer jacks and make the stabilizing process a little bit easier and more secure. Try them out on a trip and see what you prefer.


We hope you’ve found this On The Road blog helpful. Please share it with your RVing friends and point them toward safe travels!

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