RV Leveling Jacks Will Not Retract: How to Troubleshoot

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RV leveling jacks not working is a common problem for many RV owners and campers who are using their vehicle as a temporary residence while out in nature. There could be several reasons, including some mechanical issues, for RV leveling jacks will not retract. Let’s find out these issues and the ways to solve them.

Leveling jacks help with the parking of an RV by keeping it level. They can raise the rig off the ground and contribute to the stabilization of a larger unit. They are important for an RV to stay in a leveling position and keep it oriented to the ground.

RV leveling jacks will not retract
Photo: Voyagerix / Shutterstock

Troubleshooting When RV Leveling Jacks Will Not Retract

When you are camping in a travel trailer, it is important to have the right tools and know-how to fix problems that might arise. One of these issues can be when RV jacks won’t go down. If this happens, here are a few steps to take in order to troubleshoot the problem:

Check the owner’s manual.

The owner’s manual for your RV is a great place to start when troubleshooting RV leveling jack problems. It will often tell you how to adjust the level of the jacks, and if there are any specific issues that should be addressed before using them again. If you don’t have an owner’s manual or can’t find it online, check with your manufacturer directly about these details.

Do a cleaning job.

The jacks can sometimes get jammed due to debris and other particles getting inside the system. If you travel frequently, the leveling system can collect more dirt than the usual time. You have to clean dirt and debris from the base of the jack to make them work.

rv leveling jacks not working
Cleaning may work sometimes. (Credit: Lippert Components)

Get underneath your RV and check if there is anything stuck on top of the jack or around it. Move things away from under the jack so you can get closer and see what might be causing it not to retract properly. If there is something, use a small brush or compressed air to remove any obstructions that might be preventing it from retracting.

Inspect for mechanical issues.

Examine the jack for any mechanical issues. Lubricate its piston rod if you suspect corrosion has occurred due to exposure to water, saltwater, or other chemicals (such as gasoline). You might need to replace parts or have a professional look at it to make sure that everything is working properly. Otherwise, the RV leveling jacks will not retract.

Look for blown fuses or tripped electrical breakers.

A blown fuse or tripped breaker could be the culprit if the RV leveling jacks don’t retract. It’s worth checking and re-setting these items to see if you can fix the problem this way, before considering more drastic solutions.

Check and reset breakers to make sure they are not blown and replace the fuses if necessary. The new fuses have to be rated for RV use. You can’t use a household fuse in an RV because of higher amperage requirements. If you’re still having trouble, contact your electrical specialist for help.


Check for water and ice deterioration

Another reason for the RV leveling jacks will not retract could stem from water and ice. The jacks and the accessories connected to them could be frozen. This can happen in all seasons and even if the ground’s not freezing. Water or ice may pool around your motorhome’s jack system and freeze overnight.

The best way to troubleshoot this problem is to try manual retraction. Dig out any snow or ice near them with something like a shovel or broom handle. Create enough room to get underneath the jacks. Flip up on the gear shift lever and see if they’ll retract now.

If this does not work, it could be something more complicated than frozen jack gears. Call an RV service technician from your area. There are many different types of motorhome and camper leveling systems, so there may be other issues that only an expert can detect.

RV hydraulic leveling system troubleshooting.

The most common issue for the HWH leveling jack won’t retract is a fluid leak. If it’s a small crack, repair it with epoxy glue before attempting to use the leveling system again.

rv hydraulic leveling system troubleshooting
You may need to change the jacks sometimes. (Credit: RV With The Tanners)

Oftentimes, a leak from leveling jacks is caused by a worn-out seal. To fix this problem, you need to remove the jack and replace the seals or packings with new ones. The best option for packing replacement is neoprene rubber because it can withstand higher temperatures than standard plastic. A hydraulic oil drip may also be coming from your camper’s front axle seal if there are no leaks at the levelers themselves.

Remove all weight off of these leveling jacks, so they were as low as possible. It will keep any fluid leakage contained. Next, unscrew each one (both the RV bedside manual and front axle hydraulic). Then, replace the seals with new ones and tighten everything back up.

Apply emergency override.

Another effective way of motorhome leveling jacks troubleshooting is to override them. Most manufacturers have an emergency override button for the leveling jacks. This is the last resort but it’s worth checking if you’re having trouble with the leveling jack system and nothing else has fixed the problem.

There should be an override panel in your camper. Once you’ve found it, look for a small red button that reads “emergency.” Pressing this will retract all four legs on your vehicle at once in case they won’t do it otherwise.

If none of these suggestions work after several attempts at troubleshooting, contact a professional service center. They will diagnose the system and find the troubling source or suggest you replace the jacks with new ones.


Leveling jacks are an essential part of your RV. You may need to troubleshoot and replace them every few years to fix the problem of RV leveling jacks will not retract. Don’t delay in repairing these crucial pieces or risk injury from sudden movements when driving down the road.

About Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman is an interesting travel blogger and outdoor photographer with a great sense of humor. He owns an RV Accessories shop in New York City so he has the knowledge necessary to provide thorough reviews and give advice on how to choose the right products for RV travel. He puts all that RV knowledge and experience to good use in his sharing posts. Besides product buying guides/reviews, Chris also writes informative articles, how-to articles and RV camping guides in his own interesting viewpoint. Chris’s blog is one of the most reliable information sources for RV campers no matter if you're an expert or a determined beginner.

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