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How to level a caravan and why you need to
Arriving at your destination with a touring caravan is a wonderful feeling—the prelude to an enjoyable stay in your chosen location. Naturally, you’re keen to get to your pitch, unhitch, and get the holiday started. But first, there’s one essential task to take care of, levelling your caravan.
Why is levelling your caravan important? Because the patch of ground you’re about to call home for the next few days may feel flat at first, but that can be deceptive. Even on the smartest caravan park, there’s a chance that the ground will be sloping or uneven to some degree.
Why do you need to level your caravan?
The slightest slope can make sleeping surprisingly uncomfortable, and that’s the last thing you need when you’ve driven hundreds of miles for a relaxing break.
Drainage is another issue. If water from the shower starts finding its way out of the bathroom, lack of levelling is probably to blame. Water may not flow freely through your caravan’s pipes and drains if it’s having to go uphill.
Electrical appliances can also suffer—especially fridges and freezers, which can’t work at optimum efficiency while standing on even the slightest gradient.
Doors and drawers may also fly open unexpectedly or be hard to close—depending on the angle of incline.
How to check if your caravan needs levelling
A reliable spirit level is an important caravanning tool. Specialist caravan spirit levels can be readily available and inexpensive online. Place it on the caravan floor, above the centre point of the axle—preferably on the bare floor rather than a carpet or rug, which may have lumps underneath. From that position, you can check that the caravan is level both side-to-side and front-to-back.
Placing the spirit level on a work surface or table can provide a rough guide but may not be as reliable as the floor. We all know from experience that furniture and cabinets are sometimes not perfectly level.
If there’s no spirit level to hand, downloading a spirit level app to your smartphone is an effective alternative. Another option is to simply place a large glass of water on the same spot. It’s not as precise as a spirit level, but you’ll see immediately if there’s a tilt that needs correcting.
What tools do you need to level a caravan?
Start with the right equipment and you’ll find levelling your caravan a much simpler process. Here’s the list of items you’ll need to level your caravan.
- Towing vehicle or motor mover
- Levelling blocks or ramps, wheel jacks, or an inflatable bag system
- Spirit level or equivalent smartphone app
- Wheel chocks
- Corner steadies
How to level a caravan
Levelling your caravan involves two separate processes, first levelling the caravan right to left, then levelling the caravan front to back.
Start by adjusting any lateral (right to left) tilt by raising the low-lying wheel. This can be achieved in three different ways.
Lateral caravan levelling (right to left)
- Levelling ramp. Place the ramp in front of the wheel you wish to raise. Now very gently move the caravan forward, using either a motor mover or the towing car. When you’ve got the caravan level, place chocks on both sides of the wheel to make sure it stays where it is and unhitch the car or motor mover.
- Lock and level inflatable bag system. Place the uninflated airbag under the wheel, then inflate it using an air pump until the spirit level shows that the lean has been corrected.
- Wheel jacks. Place the jack around your caravan’s tyre, and raise with a ratchet, until your caravan is level. However, this may not be an ideal long-term solution as the jack may start to rust if left in place for too long. It may also mean that no jack is available when you need to change a different wheel on your car or caravan.
End-to-end caravan levelling (front to back)
Now it’s time to make sure the caravan is level from front to back. It’s a simpler task because all you need to do is adjust the jockey wheel. This gives you the power to wind the caravan’s nose up or down until it’s on a perfectly even keel.
Finally keep your caravan stable with corner steadies
With the caravan level in both directions, the next task is to keep it that way. Fitting corner steadies can help to prevent wobbling or movement during your stay. They can be installed manually or by using a battery drill with the correct attachment.
Of course, it is important that you follow the manufacturer’s guidance closely. If you are unsure about how to level your caravan, use a professional.
Safety precautions for levelling your caravan
Never forget that your touring caravan is a big and heavy piece of kit. It’s vital to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using all the equipment. Avoid overextending stabilisers or overloading chocks and jacks for example.
Above all, never attempt to level the caravan alone. Always have a partner on hand in case of mishaps.
What else should you consider when caravanning?
Before you even set out on your next adventure, you may want to ensure that your caravan, its contents, and your loved ones have suitable cover in case something goes wrong.
Intasure’s Touring Caravan Insurance is specialist cover that can help protect your caravan in the event of theft, injury, liability, or accidents. Contact the Intasure team to get a quote for our Caravan Insurance.
The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited trading as Intasure accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.