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Travel trailers are an affordable and versatile form of RVing that allows the whole family room to relax and enjoy each other’s company. However, these rigs are prone to shaking and rocking, no matter the make and model.
You may be asking yourself, why is my travel trailer shaking? The answer could be many reasons, including that you aren’t parked on a level surface, your trailer is unevenly weighted, you may need wheel chocks and stabilizers, or there are simply people walking around inside the travel trailer!
But how can you combat the dreaded travel trailer shake? And are there any other reasons for your travel trailer to be rocking? Let’s take a look at some problems and solutions now.
Reasons Why Your Travel Trailer is Shaking
While a travel trailer that rocks is usually easier to diagnose, there can be several reasons why a travel trailer might shake. These rigs are supported by a single point (the tongue jack) and tires, which are just rubber balloons. When you think of your rig less like a house and more like a car, it makes sense why your travel trailer is shaking!
However, there are so many reasons your travel trailer is shaking, so many that you may not have thought of them all yet. Here are a great number of reasons your travel trailer is rocking or moving about.
Your Trailer Isn’t Level Because of the Jack
When parked, your trailer is primarily supported by the tongue jack, the piece of equipment on the front of your rig that you can raise and lower in order to hitch up your rig. These jacks are absolutely necessary and important for safe and secure towing of your rig.
However, that doesn’t mean these pieces don’t need replacing or adjusting every now and then. Your travel trailer may be shaking because your tongue jack isn’t level, or perhaps it is weighted improperly.
My vintage rig needs a new tongue jack, simply because I am tired of not knowing when my trailer is level. Installing a new tongue jack could be a good idea for those of you wondering how to level your trailer when you first get parked.
Your Trailer Isn’t Level Because of the Ground
The number one reason why your travel trailer may be shaking? It has everything to do with the ground that you are parked on!
Believe it or not, uneven or unsupportive ground can cause your travel trailer to rock and shake, especially if you can feel how uneven it is while you are parked. If the ground isn’t level, there isn’t much for you to do, especially if it is an unlevel and paved surface.
Parking on dirt, sand, gravel, or grass can lead to a shaky travel trailer as well- these are soft and malleable surfaces, and they will no doubt shift under the weight of your rig. Soft ground is also affected by rain and snow, which can mean your travel trailer moves throughout your camping experience.
You Don’t Have Stabilizers Installed
Have you heard of RV stabilizers? These gadgets are a necessary part of travel trailer life, especially if you are tired of rocking and shaking. They can either be installed and removed manually for each camping trip, or your RV will have built-in stabilizers.
These devices are fantastic, and I wouldn’t recommend RVing without them. They can even help extend the life of your rig’s frame, something I’m sure every RV owner would like to do. But more on stabilizers later!
Someone is Walking Around
The simplest explanation for why your travel trailer is shaking? Someone is walking around inside of it! While this can’t be fixed, it is another in a long line of potential explanations.
No matter what, your travel trailer is resting on top of tires filled with air, so expecting some bounce whenever a member of the family is up and about is smart. While RVing with a large group may mean a lot of shaking, there’s simply no avoiding this while camping.
You Aren’t Using Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are a necessary part of parking your trailer. They are made to rest against your tires to prevent your travel trailer from rolling away. While you may think you are parked on a level and safe surface, wheel chocks should always be used when your travel trailer is unhitched from your tow vehicle.
Wheel chocks can also assist with your travel trailer shaking, as they add additional support to your tires and prevent them from bouncing or rolling as much. There are additional wheel accessories that you can purchase, but more on that later!
Your Trailer Isn’t Weighted Evenly
While this mostly affects your travel trailer while you are driving, the weight of your items inside of your RV could play a role in why it may be shaking. Having an evenly weighted RV is detrimental while you are driving, and it could still matter while you are parked.
This isn’t to say don’t bring the supplies you need- it means that you should take care when packing and arranging these supplies in your RV. Shoving all of the weight to the back of your rig can make for an uneven trailer, and can lead to even more shaking while parked.
Your Tires May Be Flat or Too Full
Having properly aired tires is an important part of any travel trailer camping experience. If your tires are either under or over filled, you may experience more bouncing and shaking than you normally would. I always recommend making sure that your tires are ready before any trip!
Your AC Unit May Need Adjusting
If your travel trailer is shaking in the summertime, it could be the fault of your air conditioner. These rooftop units are a very efficient form of cooling, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need maintenance or adjusting every now and then!
Your AC unit could cause your travel trailer to shake either upon start-up or while running, and it should be a fairly easy thing to notice. If you can feel the walls or even the entirety of your rig shake when the AC clicks on, you may need to head up to the roof for some repairs!
Your Pop Outs May Need More Support
Is your travel trailer shaking but primarily in the pop outs or slide out portions of your rig? It could mean that these movable sections need additional support, usually in the form of slide out stabilizers.
However, slide out stabilizers have been known to do more harm than good, especially on newer rigs. It is something to consider, especially if you are under a manufacturer warranty- using slide out stabilizers can often void these important contracts!
How to Stop Your Travel Trailer from Shaking
With all of this information on shaky travel trailers, what can you do to best prevent this rocking and rolling from happening on your next camping trip? Let’s take a look at the many possible solutions to these common travel trailer problems!
Use Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are a necessary and important part of your travel trailer set up, and they should be purchased as soon as possible. They are often inexpensive, and you should own one for each tire present on your rig for maximum safety. I highly recommend these rubber options, which can be purchased via Amazon here.
There are also wheel chocks that can help stabilize your rig. They are designed to be set up between two wheels, offering added stability and strength. They are also known as x-chocks, and my favorite set can be purchased via Amazon. They are more expensive, but they can add a lot of additional support.
Install a New Tongue Jack
Tongue jacks can make a huge difference when it comes to a properly leveled trailer, especially if you decide to purchase and install a self-leveling tongue jack. These can help level your travel trailer, and even do so automatically.
While many newer travel trailers have self-leveling jacks installed, it could be a nice upgrade on your older travel trailer. Having a single secure point for your rig to rest on can make a huge difference. You may also consider purchasing a reliable jack stand, such as this one from Dock N Stow on Amazon.
My number one recommendation for what to do to help your travel trailer shaking is to install RV stabilizers. These can be found in many forms and shapes, but the most important thing to keep in mind is the overall weight of your rig. A stabilizer should be able to support this weight!
Some newer or higher quality travel trailers may have stabilizers already installed- if these stabilizers aren’t cutting it for you and your needs, you may consider purchasing additional ones or heavier duty options.
It is important to set up your stabilizers properly and get as many as you think you will need. While most RVers can get away with four stabilizers, some larger rigs may require more. It may take some trial and error, but these are key to stopping the shake!
I have written about many stabilizers in this article here, and there are even more to consider, depending on the make, model, and overall weight of your travel trailer. Some of the least expensive and easiest to use options can be found on Amazon using this link- I personally use these and love them!
Install Pop Out Stabilizers
If you have noticed that your travel trailer shakes, but only in your slide out or pop out areas, you may consider purchasing some stabilizers for these specific areas. So long as your slide outs are properly set up and on a level surface, these stabilizers can be very helpful!
However, as I have mentioned before, use slide out stabilizers with caution, and don’t plan on using them if you have a newer RV. Most new RV slide outs are designed to support a huge amount of weight without additional help from stabilizers- you could damage the motors involved.
Park on a Level Surface (If Possible)
While camping is an adventure, it is important to park your RV on a level surface, if one is available to you. Having a level rig is a very important part of stopping your travel trailer from shaking, and I have some tips for finding that perfect spot.
Before you park your rig, get out of your tow vehicle and inspect the campsite or designated parking area. Try to feel what spots are the most level, and you can even use a bubble level for this part of the process!
I have re-parked my rig many times after getting everything completely set up, so learn from my mistakes and investigate your site before getting settled in! It can be difficult to find a level section of ground if you are parking on gravel or dirt, but do your best in these locations.
You may also consider purchasing RV leveling blocks- these can be used underneath your tires and can help create a level surface. You can raise and lower the height of your rig using these blocks to create a level interior living space, from left to right as well as front to back.
I recommend these Tri-Lynx leveling blocks, available for purchase on Amazon. You can buy as many as you need, depending on how many tires your rig has. It will take some trial and error if you are learning how to use these for the first time, but they are worth it!
Rearrange the Interior of Your Rig
If your travel trailer shakes while you are parked, you may wish to consider rearranging your interior and the cargo stored inside of your RV. Having all of the weight toward the back of your RV may not help, no matter how level your tongue jack says your rig is.
While having all of the weight on your tongue jack is a smart idea while you are towing, it may be a different story while you are parked. Plus, keeping cargo evenly distributed from left to right inside of your rig can make a huge difference too.
Refill Your Tires
Given that your travel trailer rests on tires almost exclusively, it is important to keep them properly aired up. It can be stressful to find a location that has air and is also RV friendly while on the road, but keep truck stops in mind. These locations can often accommodate RVs.
My Travel Trailer Shakes When I Drive…What Do I Do?
If you are noticing that your travel trailer shakes the most while you are hitched up and driving, what can you do to prevent this? I have a few tips, though travel trailers shaking while driving is a fairly normal occurrence.
Adjust Your Tires
I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but making sure that your tires are properly aired up can make all the difference when it comes to an unsteady travel trailer. Whether they are underfilled or overfilled, your tires are key to a smooth ride!
Check Your Hitch Connections
If you are experiencing a lot of shaking while towing your travel trailer, you may be having some trouble with your hitch. Pull over safely, and inspect all hitch connections, including the tongue and hitch ball.
You may want to consider a hitch with sway bars and sway control- these types of hitches can help with a shaking and rocking trailer while driving. They offer you more control, especially while being passed by other vehicles on freeways.
I personally use this hitch (available via Amazon) for my tiny travel trailer, though make sure it aligns with the weight of your rig. Sway bars can make a huge difference on highways, trust me!
Check Your Suspension
Your rig’s suspension may have something to do with why your travel trailer is shaking, but it may not be very obvious to the average RV owner. If you suspect that your suspension has been affected, I highly recommend taking your rig to an RV repair shop or professional.
Adjust the Weight Inside Your RV
The most important part of towing your travel trailer? Ensuring that the weight of your cargo is evenly distributed. Your travel trailer acts like a see-saw in many ways, the tires being the central point.
Ensuring that most of your cargo is placed toward the front of your rig while towing can make all the difference in the world when it comes to a shaking and swaying trailer. Taking the extra time to pack properly is key!
Ensure That Your RV is Level
You should always strive to have a level travel trailer, whether you are hitched up or at camp. A level trailer while driving helps both your tow vehicle and trailer in the long run, and it leads to less shaking while driving.
Travel trailers may shake often, but there are many things that you can do to avoid this common issue. While it may require a few extra RV accessories, it may be something to consider given that the trade-off of a stable, level trailer is well worth it!