Are you looking for an easy but safe way to use the stabilizer jacks on your RV?
Then you’re in the right place!
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Supplies you’ll need
- Safety Tips
- How to use RV stabilizer jacks (5 easy steps)
- And much more!
An RV stabilizer jack is a tool that’s attached to the frame of an RV to prevent vertical and lateral movement.
Essentially, this metal arm is used when the camper is parked to keep the vehicle level and prevent it from bouncing around every time someone walks or rolls over in bed.
Ready to stop wobbling? Keep reading!
Table of Contents
Why You Need Stabilizers For Your RV?
Most of the time, the wheels on an RV are not enough to ensure stability.
However, when the vehicle is parked on uneven ground, it’s crucial to have a stabilizer jack to avoid the wobbles, which can lead to motion sickness.
Pro Tip >> These jacks are for stabilizing your rig, not for leveling it. Injuries can result in using them incorrectly.
In some RVs, a stabilizer jack may not be included in the purchase price and may be an upsell. However, they’re well worth your investment.
Stabilizer jacks keep your motor home level even when you’re camping on rugged campsites with uneven plots.
If your RV isn’t stabilized, you won’t just have to deal with things rolling off the counter; some of your appliances may also sustain damage.
Here are some of the benefits of having an RV stabilizer jack:
- RV stabilizers are usually used when you’re parked on uneven surfaces such as grass, dirt, or gravel.
- They’re a must for lighter RVs. Heavier RVs typically use their weight to stabilize their frames, but lighter RVs are more likely to bounce around when you’re moving inside.
- RV stabilizers are a must when you have an absorption fridge. The appliance needs to be level in order for its fluids to circulate properly. Otherwise, it can overheat and get irreparably damaged.
- RV stabilizers also help prevent damage to the vehicle itself. Frequent rocking and vibration can cause some parts to shift, leading to undue damage.
An RV stabilizer is crucial when you’re sensitive to movements on the floor.
They also don’t require much time, energy, or resources to extend and retract.
Related >> How to Level a Travel Trailer
How to Choose a Good Stabilizer Jack For Your RV?
When choosing an RV stabilizer jack, you first need to consider your vehicle’s weight, height, and dimensions.
Knowing these things will help make your search go faster. Here are some of the features that you should look for:
- Easy To Use
- High Quality
- Other Things To Look For
To determine if the jacks are compatible with your rig, measure the distance between your RV’s undercarriage and the ground.
If you’re using stabilizer pads, you may need two to four inches from the total distance.
You’ll also need to check the jack’s weight capacity. Your RV’s weight should be within this range.
Easy To Use
You want to buy jacks that are simple and offer a user-friendly design.
- Tripod stabilizers are usually the most cost-effective and easiest to use option, but they can be less effective at preventing front-to-back movement.
- Scissor stabilizers are better at preventing movement in all directions, but they take more time to set up.
- Telescopic stabilizers are also effective in reducing bounce, but setting them up can also be time-consuming.
Although a cheap RV stabilizer jack may work well for a while, they can eventually cause damage to your RV.
Look for warranties and read reviews to make sure you’re choosing a durable and long-lasting product.
Other Things To Look For
- Can be used independently or with other attachments
Related >> How Do Sway Bars Work?
Supplies You’ll Need for Operating Your Stabilizers?
Most RV stabilizer jacks typically require a handheld power drill or hand crank to set them up and secure them to your vehicle.
Here are some of the other supplies that you’ll need:
- Stabilizing jack pad: This will prevent your RV from sinking into the ground and help keep the frame secure.If you’re parking on asphalt, this can also help protect the surface from damage.
- Level: Your jacks will help stabilize your rig more effectively if you’re level before putting them down.
- Chock blocks: These are wedges or blocks that you place under your RV’s wheels to keep them from moving.
How to Use RV Stabilizer Jacks (5 Easy Steps)
If you’re wondering how to use RV stabilizer jacks, here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Get Level First
Try to find and park on level ground as much as possible.
This will significantly reduce the amount of work you need to do.
Step 2: Grab Necessary Tools
Check the kind of stabilizer jack you’re using.
Some of them come with your RV and can be operated automatically. In this case, you’ll just need to check your owner’s manual to learn how to use it properly.
If they’re a separate attachment, make sure that you’re choosing one that best fits your ride.
While there are universal stabilizer jacks out there, it’s still a good idea to find one that is suitable for the:
- Number of your slide-outs,
- And other RV specs
Step 3: Use Your Chock Blocks
Position the chock blocks and stack them to the appropriate height for each wheel by checking the heights with an electronic level.
The blocks should look like a ramp. Then, drive up to the blocks and make sure the vehicle is level side to side.
If you’re not using this type of chock block, just make sure you’re chocking the wheels in the front and back to prevent movement.
Step 4: Use a Jack Pad
Slip a piece of stabilizer jack pad between the ground and the bottom of the jack to provide additional stability.
This will also help against sinking into the ground, which is counterintuitive to stabilizing in the first place.
Step 5: Stabilize
Pull out the stabilizer jacks.
They’re often located in the front and rear of the RV.
Use the hand crank or handheld power drill to extend each jack.
Note: The stabilizer jack is considered in place when it comes into contact with the ground.
Avoid further extending it because it can get wobbly, damaged, or stuck when it’s extended too far out.
Serious injury can occur if you put too much stress on your jacks.
How Do You Manually Retract a Stabilizer Jack?
- Manual Override
- Disconnect Any Wiring
- Insert Crank Handle
- Rotate Crank
- Use A Drill For Easier Time
When the RV is on the road, the stabilizer jack is retracted into the vehicle’s frame.
For most upscale RV models, the stabilizer jack automatically extends and retracts.
However, manual stabilizer jacks are still common for many RV owners.
Furthermore, most automatic stabilizers also come with a manual override system.
If you need to manually retract a stabilizer jack, here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Manual Override
If you have an automatic system, look for a manual override coupler on the stabilizer jack.
Step 2: Disconnect Wiring
Disconnect the wire leads from the electric motor to prevent backloading.
Make sure to check the vehicle’s manual to avoid causing damage to the system while you’re doing this.
Step 3: Insert Crank Handle
Insert a crank handle that fits the coupler. The right size will often depend on the manufacturer.
Step 4: Rotate The Crank
Rotate the crank handle clockwise the stabilizer is fully retracted.
Rotating clockwise should make your jacks come down while rotating counterclockwise will move the jacks back up.
Step 5: Use A Drill For An Easier Time
To save time and energy, you can also use a drill adaptor that works with the coupler.
This can then be used with any cordless drill so you don’t have to spend so much effort on manually rotating the crank handle.
How Do You Lubricate The Jacks On Your RV?
There are various materials that you can use to lubricate stabilizer jacks and keep them in top working condition.
Grease or oil are common choices, but they can attract and hold a lot of dirt and grit.
Here are some other options to choose from:
- A pure silicone spray is water-resistant and a great rust-retardant. Apply it to your stabilizer jack to prevent moisture and rust damage and lubricate any stuck metal parts.
- A dry graphite spray is another good option. This type of lubricant contains graphite content and an organic binder. The spray will adhere to the coating of your stabilizer jack and reduce friction in its parts, so it will extend and retract more easily.
- A dry lube protectant spray can also help with lubricating and protecting your stabilizer jack. It leaves behind a dry film that prevents rust and corrosion to ensure that metal parts work properly.
If your stabilizer jack has already accumulated a lot of dirt and grime, you can use an engine cleaner or degreaser.
Pressure washing them might also help get rid of all the gunk.
Top Tips for Maintaining Your Jacks?
To ensure the longevity of your stabilizer jacks, they need to be inspected and maintained regularly.
Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:
- Keep them clean and attached to the frame properly. If they seem to be stretching, it’s time to get a replacement.
- Check for leaks—a red flag you need to watch out for is if the stabilizer appears to be bleeding down. This requires immediate attention.
- If you’re using stabilizer pads, make sure that they’re resting on flat and stable surfaces when the jack is extended. Sloped or unstable surfaces can lead to damage due to side load or slipping.
- Always follow the owner’s manual when determining which stabilizer to extend first. Sometimes, extending them in the incorrect sequence can bring about damage to the chassis, windshield, or slide room opening.
- Always check the lights and buzzers for your stabilizers. If you suspect a problem, get it checked right away.
- We recommend cleaning them with soap and water regularly. Also, don’t forget to apply lubrication when they’re extended. You can use any of the materials mentioned in the previous section.
- Make sure that the stabilizer jacks are retracted before you drive off! A lot of RV owners forget this and damage their stabilizer jacks beyond repair.
Final Thoughts On Stabilizer Jacks
It’s easy to park and camp anywhere—even when the campsite has uneven ground—when your RV has stabilizer jacks.
They’ll keep the vehicle as stable as possible and prevent undue movement when you’re walking around inside.
You’ll need a few tools to set them up and ensure that they’re secure.
You know you’re using them correctly when your RV isn’t rocking back and forth and your appliances and doors are all working properly.
Although you can take all of these steps, weather can play a big factor. Extreme winds can move your rig around even if you’ve stabilized properly.
Knowing the weather forecast can help avoid problems.
Rain, snow, ice, hail, wind–any of these can make your RV get a case of the wobbles again.
Below are a few weather sites that we recommend using, no matter which state you’re in:
Remember, safety first, but having fun is a close second. Enjoy your time camping, glamping, and being outdoors!