RV leveling jacks are an essential part of RVing, especially when staying at a Harvest Hosts location. This is because many Harvest hosts campsites are located on gravel or dirt and are not typically level. Leveling jacks help to ensure that your RV is safe for walking around in. A level RV also helps to keep all the appliances and lines running smoothly in your motorhome. Did you know that a fridge running on propane can become damaged if left unlevel for too long? Or did you know that an unlevel RV can have grey and black tank lines that are not functioning correctly? This can also put additional strain on your slide-outs, as well.
For all these reasons, and many more, it’s important that your RV leveling jacks are in tip-top shape. Not sure where to begin? Harvest Hosts has your back. As with any RV maintenance, always check your manual for helpful information pertaining to your RV’s specific jacks.
Before we jump in, let’s discuss the difference between leveling jacks and stabilizing jacks. Leveling jacks are used to level and, sometimes on larger rigs, also stabilize the RV. They have the capability of lifting the RV off the ground. Stabilizing jacks are specifically used to stabilize your RV after it’s already level. Stabilizing jacks prevent your RV from rocking or swaying while walking throughout it. This article focuses just on maintaining your leveling jacks.
Types of RV leveling Jacks
Manual jacks can include scissor jacks, A-frame jacks, aluminum stacks, and more. These are some of the easiest to maintain because they have no motor or hydraulic fluid to inspect. The main focus with maintaining these is to inspect them regularly. It’s important to inspect contact points and pivot points for damage or rust. It’s also important to inspect the arms (if applicable), checking for any stripped threads or loose bolts.
Depending on how often your RV is used, and in what climates it tends to frequent, you can lubricate your manual jacks a few times per year. There are many types of spray lubricants on the market that also protect your jacks from rust. One popular brand is Fluid Film, which has built-in rust inhibitors.
Electric jacks fall in the middle for the amount of maintenance they require. It’s important to inspect these regularly for rust and check the contact points for damage. Some manufacturers recommend washing your jacks with warm, soapy water and sanding off any rust. After doing this, you will want to apply a coat of protectant spray. Most electric jacks do not require any lubricant which can actually collect debris on them and cause damage.
When inspecting your electric jacks, you must ensure that there is no wiring hanging down at any point. It’s also important to examine and clean any connections using an electrical cleaner spray. Always be sure your batteries are fully charged before attempting to operate your electric jacks.
Hydraulic jacks require a little more maintenance than electric jacks. This is due to their many components, some of which are hydraulic, while others are electric or made of other materials. Each manufacturer will have different suggestions and recommendations for hydraulic jack maintenance. Some recommend to clean the leveler cylinder with warm, soapy water and then spray a dry lubricant, such as WD-40, and wipe off the excess. Other manufacturers recommend using a silicone lubricant. Be sure to do research for your brand of jacks before using any products on them.
Another important step to maintaining hydraulic jacks is to periodically check the hydraulic fluid levels. For most jacks, the fluid should be red. If it is pink, murky, milky, or white, then it needs to be changed. Some types of hydraulic jacks do not operate well in extremely cold temperatures. If that is the case with yours, then your manufacturer may suggest replacing the hydraulic fluid with a synthetic or winter weight. It’s also important to check all the electrical connections and clean them with an electrical spray. Be sure to check for loose wiring and check the hydraulic hoses for any signs of leaks or damage. If your jacks have mounting bolts, check them as well to ensure they are secure.
No matter the type of jacks your RV has, if you ever find that your jacks are damaged, do not use them. This can pose a serious safety risk to you and anyone else inside your RV. If you have electric or hydraulic jacks, take them to a professional to be inspected and repaired if they have sustained damage. If you have manual jacks, you may need to have them replaced entirely if they are damaged.
RV owners who are thinking of upgrading their RV’s leveling jacks should think over the decision carefully. New jacks can be a worthy investment, while automatic jacks can save owners a tremendous amount of time and headache. If you take your RV out more than just a few times per year, or opt to camp in areas outside of campgrounds, (like Harvest Hosts) then consider upgrading! We hope this serves as a helpful place to start with maintaining the leveling jacks on your RV.
What type of jacks do you have on your RV? How do you maintain them? Let us know below!
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