We’re always looking for ways to protect our RV investment, and we’ve found RV SnapPads to be the perfect leveling and stability solution for our Fifth Wheel. In this article we’ll discuss the installation, how they’ve held up to multiple moves, and the financial benefits of using them.
RV SnapPads Explained
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RV SnapPads are permanent jack pads made from recycled rubber. We were initially impressed with them because there was no need to put down wood blocks or plastic squares before lowering our jacks when setting-up the RV in a new spot.
Other benefits, include decreased vibration, no worries of slippage, and protection of the mounted feet from the elements and road hazards. The pads increase your rig’s surface area/footprint and improve stability. Perhaps the most often ignored reason to have a good set of SnapPads for your rig is jack foot protection. The metal leveling jacks on your automatic system are absolutely integral to how your levelers function.
Installation was very easy. We were parked at a campground, so Sean had to hook up the fifth wheel to the truck, so he could install them without any safety issues or having the RV drop all the way to the ground. He followed the simple instructions and was able to install them in less than 15 minutes. This included hooking-up the RV to the truck and re-leveling the RV when the SnapPads were all installed on the leveling jacks.
All it took was placing some dish detergent around the lip of the SnapPad and the edge of the landing pad on the levelers. Once that was complete, he lowered the jacks so the landing pad snapped in place in the SnapPad. Once in place, he wiped off the excess detergent. He repeated the process working from front to back and that was it!
The great thing is that once they are installed, they are designed to stay on. There is no need to remove and re-install. Less than 15 minutes to protect your expensive investment is time well spent.
We are very happy with our RV SnapPads. First, we have traveled well over 1,500 miles with them on, including many miles in strong rain, wind, and heat, without any issues. They stayed secure and did not receive any road damage. We were also parked on different surfaces.
Initially, we were on a concrete pad in an RV park. One thing we noticed once these were installed was that the vibrations throughout the RV were reduced. Before the SnapPads, if I wiggled my toe in the garage, Sean would feel it in the bedroom. That was no longer the case once we had the SnapPads installed. From concrete, we went to a couple of gravel sites. The rocks did not cut any chunks or knicks in to SnapPads.
We also spent close to 3 weeks boondocking. We were parked on dirt in a fairground field. The ground was extremely unlevel, so we had to use some wood blocks on the right side so the levelers would level the RV. There was no slippage on the wood with the SnapPads installed. I was a little worried because of the angle, but they held firm on the blocks. Additionally, we had some fairly bad rain storms, which caused the dirt to turn to mud. With the increased surface area created by the SnapPads, we did not sink. The pads that did sink a little, did not go far enough for us to have to re-level. Also, the metal pads on the levelers were not exposed to the dirt and mud, protecting them. Click here to read more about our first boondocking (dry camping) experience.
Besides the quality of the product, we have heard nothing but positive reviews of the customer service. Some friends of ours had a problem with one of their SnapPads and called the company. Without any questions, the company sent out a replacement pad. As an RVer, it is difficult to plan on receiving mail and getting products when needed. The type of customer service provided by the SnapPad manufacturers is what we need as RVers. Predictable and timely service is what is needed when on the road.
There are several financial benefits to installing the RV SnapPads on your rig. Read below to see what Sean’s research came up with our watch the following video.
Jack Pad Protection
The primary financial consideration is of the metal jack pads that the RV SnapPads protect. cost to replace one of the foot pads on the leveling system is between $35 and $45 for the part according to what I have been able to find. If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, you are going to have to pay labor to have the standard foot pads installed by an RV Tech, which can be around $100 per hour depending on where you live.
None of this is necessary with the purchase of SnapPads. They offer protection for the leveling system foot pads by taking the punishment of the road, dirt, and elements instead of the metal feet. The metal feet will not be damaged from sitting in mud, gravel, jagged concrete, or asphalt, which all have the potential of decreasing the life expectancy of the metal feet that come installed on the leveling system. If the entire leveling system needs to be replaced, it can cost from $500 to over a couple of thousand dollars. The SnapPad XTRA set costs about $150 and comes with 6 pads. Our Heartland Cyclone has 6 leveling jacks, so this product is perfect. That is $25 per pad, which is cheaper than the cost of a replacement metal foot pad for the leveling system.
Since the pads are rubber, they offer some protection from electrical surges caused by storms and lightning. We recently met someone who had a brand new fifth wheel out for its maiden voyage and the first night was affected by an electrical surge from a thunderstorm. Although less common, these things do happen. He suffered over $5,000 worth of damage including the transfer switch, inverter, converter, television set, refrigerator, and the microwave. If he had SnapPads installed on his leveling system instead of having just bare metal, the chances of having as much damage may have been minimized since the pads are rubber and the metal would not have been directly on the ground.
There is some disagreement on this in the RV community. Some experts say to make sure your leveling jacks are up during lightning and others say it does not matter. Having the SnapPads is good insurance no matter which of these theories are correct. As a side note, for indirect power surges, a good surge protector will also provide protection for your electrical components. We have the SnapPads and a Progressive Dynamics surge protector for our RV and are confident these small investments will provide protection. Click here for a free Electrical Information Guide to help you decide which protection system is best for you.
Parking Surface Protection
If you park your RV in your driveway or concrete pad, the metal feet on the leveling system will leave rust marks on the concrete that need to be cleaned. It is not expensive to clean them, but does require some cleaning product expense along with elbow grease and time. This can be avoided with the SnapPads.
The final financial benefit of the RV SnapPads is for Mother Nature. SnapPads are made from recycled tires in Indiana. The EPA estimates that recycling tires saves us millions of dollars. There are also savings in health costs, which are incurred from the health effects of burning tires and from diseases from mosquitos, which use these tire disposal sites as breeding grounds. There are also social costs associated with aesthetic changes to the environment, which is difficult to price. For RVers, environmental damage is huge. We love to spend time in the outdoors. Damage from tires stockpiles and pollution damage limit our ability to enjoy all of nature.
Overall, we could not be happier with the product and highly recommend them to other RVers for all of the benefits and qualities mentioned above.