Last Updated on September 8, 2022 by Jessica Lauren Vine
Your RV’s stabilizers, also known as jacks, are an important system on your rig.
It’s simple—they level the rig, front and back and side to side, and make for a stable platform so that your rig is not rocking back and forth when someone is walking around.
Most rigs come with manual jacks that can be placed in the four corners of your rig. Some fancier RVs come equipped with self-leveling jacks where the owner simply has to press a button and walk away while the onboard computer figures out when it’s totally level. However, let’s face it, most of our rigs spend a bunch of time in the driveway or in a storage lot.
So should we or shouldn’t we put these stabilizers down when we’re not using them? Here is a little insight into that topic. The stabilizer question is situational.
My Holiday Rambler sits on a mountain top in Northern Colorado where some of the highest inland wind speeds have been recorded. I’ve considered putting out my stabilizers as a rational act—JUST IN CASE.
How Do You Level Your Rig?
Leveling your RV is essential to a pleasant stay—short or extended. For you lucky ones with auto level, it’s a button push and then walk away.
The microcontroller will figure things out. Kind of a fire-and-forget system.
For those of you with more conventional and manual systems, there is a little work and sweat involved. This is my situation.
Most rigs are equipped with side-to-side and front-to-back leveling bubbles. If not, then you need to go to Harbor Freight and buy a leveling bubble.
For the pull-behinds, you need to chalk the wheels to avoid disaster.
For Class-A-B-C you can apply the parking brake.
Depending on the slope you are parked on you may need to start the process by pulling your RV onto those fancy hunter orange blocks.
When I had a pull-behind, I used the manual jacks to level the trailer side to side. Then I would make adjustments to get it level fore to aft. It’s simple if you’re at an RV slip but could be a little more involved if you are in the backcountry.
Advantages of Storing Your RV With Stabilizers Down
Storing your rig for the winter or if you plan on not using it for a while should be done properly.
One thing you can do is to relieve the suspension, mainly the leaf springs, and the tires from the full weight of your rig. Fifth wheels can weigh from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds or more depending on size and how they are equipped.
Slide outs are heavy, so the more you have the heavier your rig. So, lowering the jacks or jacking the rig up is a good idea if she’s going to be sitting for a while.
Concerns About Storing Your RV with Stabilizers Down
You can’t get something for nothing.
Though you may be relieving some of the stress from your suspension and tires, you are putting more stress on your stabilizers. You are also exposing them to the elements, and they will rust. Dealing with a rusty jack is frustrating and in some cases expensive to repair or replace.
Consider washing down your rig, especially when you’ve been on dirt or muddy roads.
That muck and rocks will collect on the underside of your rig and in some cases make the stabilizers nearly or really unusable.
Before heading off to explore or maybe to store your RV, make sure to check out some of these other RV-related articles.