The sad truth about RVs is that things can and will break. Even the best-built motorhome is bound to have issues, and considering the stress we put our RVs through while driving down the road, this makes perfect sense.
Unfortunately, even knowing this fact ahead of time does not soften the blow when something goes wrong. RV parts are pricey, and spending hundreds of dollars on a replacement item can really sting. This is where RV salvage yards come into play.
RV junkyards are the perfect place to find used RV parts. Buying used can save you a ton of money while still getting your problems patched up so you can get back on the road.
What is an RV Salvage Yard?
Wondering what an RV salvage yard is? Well, to an outsider it might look a lot like an RV graveyard. However, those in the know understand that it’s actually a huge treasure trove.
The owners of these salvage yards buy totaled RVs from insurance companies and collect them on a large lot. They then sell the parts from these otherwise ruined motorhomes and trailers to RV owners like you. These used camper parts sell for much less than what you might pay for a new part, yet still create profit for the RV scrap yard owners, making it a win-win for all involved.
Why Turn to RV Salvage Yards and Graveyards?
There are quite a few reasons to head to the camper salvage yard when you need to repair your RV. Below are a few of our favorites.
The first and most obvious reason is the one we’ve already mentioned a couple of times: price. As is the case with almost anything you buy, used travel trailer parts and pre-owned motorhome parts are much cheaper than brand new ones. This alone is enough to get us to the RV wrecking yard, but it’s not the only reason to go.
Shopping for used parts is also much greener than purchasing new. By buying RV used parts, you are doing your part to keep items out of landfills while also saving on resources by reusing an item that has already been manufactured and purchased. If you’re looking for a way to make RVing a little bit greener, this is a great first step.
Support Local Businesses
Many cities and towns don’t have a local RV parts store. This means in order to get new parts, you must order online—usually from a large corporation. On the other hand, travel trailer and motorhome salvage yards are locally owned businesses. By visiting them, you’re supporting an individual and your local community by keeping your money close to home.
A Fun Treasure Hunt
Lastly, we must mention the sheer fun of searching through RV salvage. A visit to the camper junkyard is like a giant treasure hunt. Many people find this exhilarating, and we must admit, it is pretty fun to see what kinds of treasures you can find hidden amongst the used motorhome parts.
Pros and Cons of Buying RV Parts from a Salvage Yard
Of course, shopping at an RV junk yard isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are also a few downsides to be considered, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons so you know what you’re diving into before you get started.
As listed above, the pros to shopping for salvage RV parts include:
- Low price
- Shopping local
So what are the cons of shopping the RV salvage yards? There are only a couple that we can think of, but for some people, these will be enough to have them skip the RV junkyard and head to the new RV parts store instead.
Lack of Parts for Newer Rigs
Because camper salvage yards are home to totaled RVs, and because RV companies will sometimes change things up in their newer rigs, it can be difficult to find parts for the newest RVs at salvage yards. Fortunately, most newer rigs will still be under warranty, so those with these trailers and motorhomes shouldn’t have to worry about shopping for used RV parts just yet.
While the big treasure hunt is a bonus for some, it can be a problem for others. If you need a part quickly or simply don’t have the time or energy to search, you may be better served checking for new parts from a local dealer or even online. That said, it is always possible to call ahead and see if a yard has the part you need, making the job a bit easier.
In order to find the best deals on RV parts at salvage yards, you may need to do some negotiation. More introverted people may not be fans of the negotiation process, leading them to choose to skip the experience entirely. That said, even without negotiating, you’re likely to save money buying used RV parts rather than new, so this particular con shouldn’t sway you too much.
Used RV Parts Negotiation Skills
As mentioned before, getting the very best prices on parts purchased from a camper junkyard requires some negotiating. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say you should never take a part without a bit of haggling first. Most salvage yard owners are happy to make a deal, and considering the work you have to put in to find the right part, you deserve the best deal possible.
Wondering how to haggle your way to a good price? The best thing you can do is know the value of the part you’re looking for, go in with a fair price in mind, and make an offer. The worst that can happen is they say no. If this is the case, keep in mind that you can choose to stand your ground and keep shopping.
Remember, you can always come back for the part if you can’t find it elsewhere for a price you like better.
Where to Find RV Salvage Yards
Of course, you can’t start shopping for used motorhome and trailer parts until you know where to go, leading many to ask, “Where can I find an RV salvage yard near me?” Fortunately, finding an RV salvage yard near your home shouldn’t be too difficult. Simply searching the internet for “RV junkyard near me” or “used RV parts near me” should turn up some options.
Alternatively, you could choose to check out this list of RV salvage yards by state to find the camper junk yard nearest you.
Finally, there is the option of shopping used camper parts online on websites such as Arizona RV Salvage, which will sell used RV parts, or even SalvageBid, where you can purchase an entire totaled trailer or motorhome for cheap. Just keep in mind that purchasing online means you can’t see the part or RV in person before buying. This may mean you end up with the wrong part and no way to return it.
As you can see, purchasing parts for your RV from a salvage yard can be a fantastic way to save more, save the earth, support your community, and have fun while doing it. Ready to get started? Don your gloves and safety glasses, search the web for “used camper parts near me”, and get ready to do some treasure hunting!
Need to know more about replacing parts and making repairs in your RV? Our blog has all the information you could ever need and more.