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How to Stabilize a Travel Trailer

Learn how to stabilize your travel trailer with jacks, chocks, and blocks following a step-by-step process.

how to stabilize a travel trailer

Traveling in a trailer can be an exhilarating experience, offering you the freedom to explore new destinations without sacrificing the comfort of your home. However, for those new to the world of travel trailers, it's crucial to understand the importance of stability. Whether you're navigating winding mountain roads, setting up camp in a remote wilderness, or simply parking at a crowded RV park, stabilizing your travel trailer is essential to ensure a safe, comfortable, and hassle-free journey. In this tell-all guide, we'll dive into the fundamentals of how to stabilize a travel trailer, sharing expert tips and tricks to keep your home on wheels level and secure.

Why Does Your Travel Trailer Rock?

Travel trailers, despite their numerous advantages, are not immune to the phenomenon of rocking while parked or in transit.

  • One of the primary reasons a travel trailer rocks is its elevated center of gravity. Unlike other vehicles, travel trailers are essentially homes on wheels, with considerable height and weight above their axles. This design inherently makes them more susceptible to swaying and rocking when subjected to external forces like wind gusts or uneven terrain.

  • Additionally, the suspension systems in many travel trailers are designed for comfort rather than stability, which can exacerbate the rocking motion when traversing bumpy roads.

  • Another key factor contributing to the rocking of travel trailers is their ball-and-hitch connection to the towing vehicle. This hitch system allows for the necessary freedom of movement but can also introduce sway and rocking, especially if not properly set up or if subjected to crosswinds and passing vehicles.

  • Additionally, the distribution of weight inside the trailer, such as unsecured items or an unevenly loaded cargo area, can lead to an imbalance that amplifies rocking.

While these inherent factors may cause rocking, it's important to note that with the right equipment, proper setup, and driving techniques, you can significantly reduce and manage this motion, ensuring a more stable and enjoyable travel trailer experience.

Why You Need to Stabilize Your Travel Trailer

Stabilizing a travel trailer is paramount for ensuring a more relaxing and enjoyable RV experience. Here are a few reasons why you should stabilize your travel trailer pronto!

  • Safety:

When a trailer is properly stabilized, it reduces the rocking and swaying caused by movement inside. This is essential for the safety of both the occupants of the trailer and other road users. A stabilized trailer is also less likely to cause accidents due to loss of control or instability, especially during sudden maneuvers or adverse road conditions.

  • Preserving your equipment:

Stabilization helps in preventing damage to the trailer's components, furniture, and appliances. Otherwise, your dishes, appliances, and personal belongings may all crash or break from shifting or falling during transit. Continuous movement and shaking can also lead to wear and tear over time. In fact, some appliances, like refrigerators, may not function properly if the trailer is constantly moving or tilted.

  • Leveling:

Stabilizing your travel trailer often involves leveling it, which is important for comfortable living conditions. Uneven surfaces can cause doors to swing, make beds uncomfortable, and affect the functionality of various appliances.

  • Long-Term Durability:

Stabilization also plays a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity of the trailer's axles and suspension system. Excessive rocking or swaying can place unnecessary strain on these components, potentially causing damage, wearing out the tires, and compromising safety. By prioritizing stabilization, RV owners can extend the lifespan of their axles and ensure that their trailer remains in top-notch condition, promoting both safety and comfort on their journeys.

Types of RV Stabilizers

There are various types of stabilizers for travel trailers, each designed for a specific purpose, and selecting the right one can greatly enhance your RVing experience, ensuring both comfort and safety. These travel trailer stabilizers play a crucial role in minimizing unwanted movement and sway, whether you're on the road or parked at a campsite. Following, are the top 4 types of stabilizers, with options available in the market, to assist you in finding the perfect stabilizer for travel trailer that fit your needs:

Jack Stands

Jack stands are the most commonly used RV stabilizers and provide excellent stability when deployed under the trailer's frame or near the axles. These sturdy, adjustable supports can be positioned at various points along the RV's chassis to eliminate unwanted rocking and swaying. Jack stands are easy to set up, with many videos available online on how to use stabilizer jacks on travel trailers, and offer a cost-effective solution for stabilizing smaller to mid-sized travel trailers.

Tripod Stabilizers

Tripod stabilizers consist of a triangular frame with adjustable legs and a central support column. They are designed to be placed under the tongue of the RV, supporting the front end. These stabilizers are particularly effective at reducing front-end movement, which can be quite noticeable in larger fifth-wheel trailers. The tripod design distributes the weight evenly, offering a stable foundation and enhancing both safety and comfort during your RV adventures.

Long RV Stabilizers

Long RV stabilizers are extended bars or rods that span the width of the RV and are placed horizontally between the trailer's chassis or frame and the ground. These stabilizers are ideal for countering side-to-side motion and are commonly used in conjunction with jack stands. Their length allows for greater leverage, reducing sway and movement even in larger RVs. They are available in manual and electric options.

Slide-Out Stabilizers:

Slide-out stabilizers are designed specifically to support the extended slide-outs. These stabilizers are placed vertically between the slide-out room and the floor to prevent the slide-out from sagging or swaying when extended. They help maintain a level interior, ensuring doors close properly and reducing the risk of damage to the slide-out mechanism. But keep in mind that some manufacturers do not recommend using these and it might even leave your warranty void, so make sure to check with the relevant people before you start using any slide out stabilizers.

8 Ways to Stabilize Your Travel Trailer

Now comes the most crucial question: how to stabilize your travel trailer? Here are 8 stabilization methods that can ensure your travel trailer remains secure and comfortable during the adventures, whether you're on the road or parked at your destination. Choose a combination of the following to find the best way to stabilize the travel trailer for you:

1. Use Stabilizer Jacks:

Stabilizer jacks are typically located near the four corners of the trailer. They are designed to provide vertical support, lifting the trailer slightly off its wheels and creating a stable foundation. To use them effectively, lower the jacks until they make solid contact with the ground. It's essential to avoid overextending them, as this can damage the jacks or the trailer's frame. Consider using leveling pads or blocks under the jacks on uneven terrain to prevent sinking or tilting.

2. Chock the Wheels:

Wheel chocks are simple yet crucial devices that prevent your trailer from rolling or shifting. Place them snugly against the tires on both sides of each wheel. This prevents any accidental movement, especially when setting up or breaking camp. Ensure the chocks are firmly in place to provide reliable stabilization.

3. Level the Trailer:

Leveling your travel trailer is essential for both comfort and safety. A level trailer ensures that appliances like refrigerators operate correctly and prevents you from feeling off-balance when inside. Use leveling blocks or pads under the tires to achieve a level surface. Consult your RV's owner's manual or use a smartphone app to determine when the trailer is level.

4. Add Stabilizer Bars (Sway Bars):

Stabilizer bars or sway bars are particularly important when towing a travel trailer. They connect the trailer to the towing vehicle and help distribute forces evenly, reducing sway and rocking. Properly installed stabilizer bars enhance towing stability, making your journey safer and more comfortable.

5. Distribute Weight Evenly:

Properly distributing the weight inside your trailer is essential for stability and safe towing. Avoid placing too much weight on one side or in the front or rear, as this can lead to an imbalanced trailer and increased swaying. Use cabinets, storage compartments, and cargo nets to secure items and prevent them from moving during transit.

6. Use Stabilizer Cross-Braces:

Stabilizer cross-braces are additional supports that can be placed beneath the trailer frame. They create an extra layer of stability, reducing the movement of the trailer when people walk around inside. These braces can be particularly useful if your trailer experiences excessive sway or rocking, especially when parked on soft or uneven ground.

7. Adjust Tension in Suspension Systems:

Some travel trailers come equipped with adjustable suspension systems, such as airbag suspensions. These systems allow you to control the amount of air pressure in the bags, which, in turn, influences the height and stability of the trailer. Properly adjusting the suspension can level the trailer and improve ride quality by reducing bouncing and swaying, especially when traveling on rough roads or uneven terrain. Consult your RV's owner's manual or seek guidance from a professional to ensure the suspension system is configured for optimal stability and comfort.

8. Invest in an Electronic Leveling System:

Electronic leveling systems offer the highest level of convenience. These power stabilizer jacks for travel trailers typically consist of hydraulic jacks or electric legs that can be extended and retracted with the push of a button. These systems automatically level the trailer and are especially useful for larger RVs and motorhomes. While they are more expensive, they are incredibly efficient and save you time during setup.

Here is an infographic showing a step-by-step guide on how to stabilize a travel trailer easily

stabilize a travel trailer

Troubleshooting Common Stabilization Issues

Occasionally, relying solely on purchasing and employing stabilizers for travel trailers may prove insufficient, as there could be additional factors contributing to the trailer's lack of stability while on the road or when parked. Use this guide to learn how to better stabilize the travel trailer; we’ll address the common stabilization issues and provide solutions for each:

  • Out-of-Balance Tires:

Problem: If you notice your RV rocking or vibrating excessively, especially at higher speeds, it could be due to out-of-balance tires.

Troubleshooting: Schedule a tire balance check at a reputable service center. Balancing the tires ensures that weight is distributed evenly, reducing vibrations, and improving overall stability. Regular tire maintenance can help prevent this issue.

  • Out-of-Round Tires:

Problem: Tires that are out of round can result in an uneven contact patch with the road, leading to swaying and instability.

Troubleshooting: Inspect the tires for signs of damage or irregular wear patterns. If you notice issues, such as bulges or flat spots, replace the affected tires. Regularly rotating and properly inflating your tires can also help prevent this issue.

  • Loose RV Structure:

Problem: A loose or unstable RV structure can lead to rocking and swaying, making it uncomfortable to move inside the trailer.

Troubleshooting: Carefully inspect the trailer's frame and structure for loose or damaged components. Tighten all bolts, screws, and fasteners. Pay close attention to the stabilizer jack attachment points and make sure they are secure. Consider using thread-locking compounds on critical fasteners to prevent them from loosening over time.

  • Front-End Suspension Problems:

Problem: Suspension issues at the front of the trailer can result in uneven weight distribution and instability during towing.

Troubleshooting: Inspect the front suspension components, including springs, shocks, and bushings. Look for signs of wear or damage. If you notice any issues, consult a professional mechanic or trailer service center to address and repair front-end suspension problems. Proper suspension maintenance and adjustments are crucial for towing stability.

  • Bad or Worn Parts:

Problem: Worn or damaged components within the trailer's stabilizing system can compromise stability and safety.

Troubleshooting: Regularly inspect and maintain all stabilizing equipment, including jacks, stabilizer bars, and braces. Replace any worn or damaged parts promptly. Lubricate moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer. Ensure that the stabilizer jacks are not overloaded and retract smoothly. A well-maintained stabilizing system is essential for a stable trailer.


Stabilizers for a travel trailer play a pivotal role in enhancing the comfort, safety, and overall enjoyment of your RV adventures. Say no to any more jostling, swaying, rocking, or anything else that tilts your RV home off its axis! Follow our guide for a stable, safe, and comfortable RV journey, and get ready to see a difference in your day-to-day RV life. Happy RVing!



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