What is an RV Salvage Yard? And Should You Give One a Try?

How can a salvage yard help you to repair your RV? If your RV needs repair, you might be starting to worry about the cost of fixing it. Buying new parts from your RV’s manufacturer or paying the labor to get it fixed can come out to a pretty penny. There may be a cheaper way, though. If you are good with your hands, you may be able to do the repair yourself. You could cut out labor and save a bundle on that alone. You just need to buy the part.

RV salvage yards, often called RV junkyards, buy old or broken down vehicles and trailers at a very low price. Then they scrap them for parts. Since they buy the vehicles for cheap, this allows them to sell working parts from them for cheap as well.

There is also a lot of variety when it comes to available parts at a salvage yard. You have a really great chance of finding the part you need. Many vehicles purchased by salvage yards are older models. If you are looking for a discontinued part, this means a salvage yard might be a good option for you.

What Can You Find At An RV Salvage Yard?

RV Salvage Yards buy vehicles like travel trailers, pop-up campers, and motor homes. You will definitely find vehicle parts suited for many different RV brands.

Also, since these vehicles are like homes on wheels, you can find many other RV items outside of vehicle parts. Interior items like furniture, kitchen appliances, and bathroom fixtures are common finds. You might also find exterior items like windows, awnings, or propane tanks.

Most salvage yards will have parts organized in sections for easier locating. You should be able to find what you’re looking for with a bit of time and effort.

Are There Are Benefits When Buying Salvaged Parts?

  • Parts at a salvage yard are affordable. Yes, you really only find used parts in RV salvage yards. This means, though, that you can get a fix to your repair needs at a cheap cost. Salvage pricing is a fraction of the cost compared to a manufacturer’s price for new parts.
  • You can find a variety of parts. Salvage yards buy a huge quantity of vehicles. This means the variety of parts offered is enormous. The chance, then, of finding your specific part is pretty great.

Also, you may be looking for a part for an older RV. This may mean that the manufacturer has stopped selling the part that you are looking for. For discontinued parts, salvage yards are often your only option.

  • You can buy and walk away with your part the same day. Waiting is torture, right? When you buy from a manufacturer, it can sometimes take weeks to get your part in-hand. This is because the part is being made new in a factory and then shipped to you. This can put you in a tough spot if you are planning to travel soon.

When you buy from a salvage yard they have the part ready to buy on site. This means you can walk away with your part in hand and get to work on your repair or replacement right away. There’s nothing like immediate gratification!

What Are Disadvantages When Buying Salvaged Parts?

  • There aren’t a lot of salvage yards. You don’t see RV salvage yards a lot so you may need to do some research on the closest lots to you. Then, you may need to travel a ways to get to one.
  • Salvage yards are sometimes difficult to navigate. Salvage yards have so many vehicles and parts. It can be difficult to find a particular one. While salvage yards do organize their parts in sections, it can still take some time and effort to search.
  • There is a risk of buying the wrong part or a broken one at a salvage yard. Be careful! Make sure the part you buy is one that will fit your needs.

Be sure to get appropriate measurements before heading to the lot so you know what size to get. Then, bring a tape measurer to ensure the part is the right size. Examine the part closely before buying!

Also, remember that the vehicle that this part came from was salvaged. Some vehicles were in an accident or neglected before being scrapped. Make sure the part works before purchasing it and make sure it doesn’t have unacceptable damage.

Salvage Yard Shopping is Ideal for a DIY Lover

As you would expect, rummaging through a salvage yard takes a lot of time and energy. It might be a draining experience for many people. Yet, if you love to DIY and you are good at working with your hands, you may be ok with this.

If you love to repair, redo, refurbish, and rejuvenate, a salvage yard could be heaven for you. You may also save some serious cash on your RV repair!

You Can Haggle at Salvage Yards

The RV manufacturer’s price for new RV parts is always set and rarely negotiable. The good thing about shopping at a salvage yard is that the prices are always fluid for the parts. If you excel at haggling and bartering, here is where you will shine.

This is especially the case for older model parts. Salvage yards sometimes just want to get rid of an old part and are willing to go very low on the selling price. Always try to negotiate. What’s the worst that could happen?

Finding an Rv Salvage Yard Can Be Tricky

It is not uncommon for salvage yards to operate in a way that is pre-information age. They don’t always have high traffic websites or digital marketing in place. They can, thus, be difficult to find, especially if you have an emergency repair needed on the road away from home.

Luckily, there are resources available. Here are some websites that have compiled lists of RV salvage yards in each state.  RV’s Corner and Marx RV have done some of the legwork for you.

Locating some of the best salvage yards when it comes to RV parts is just a click away!

Online RV Salvageyards/Junkyards

While there are online salvage yards, proceed with caution. As with any purchases made online, be sure to do some research on the website to ensure that it is trustworthy.

For example, check for secure payment options on the site. Also, be sure to scan through any available customer reviews so you know you will be happy with your part.

The good thing about buying salvaged parts online is that you will avoid some headaches. For one, you can avoid the physical ordeal of searching and rummage at a physical salvage yard.

One downfall, though, is that you can never be totally sure what you will get after you buy. Without being able to examine the part beforehand, you may not get what you expect. Make sure to check the site’s return policies and be sure you are comfortable with them before buying.

Here are a couple of examples of online salvage yards to get you started:

Salvage Bid

Colaw RV Salvage

A couple of alternatives to salvage yards:

Aside from the manufacturer, there are not a lot of alternatives to buying RV parts. Selling RV parts a pretty narrow business. Yet, if you find that digging through rubble is not your style, there are a couple of other options for you.

RV dealerships have parts for sale and they might actually install the new part for you on location. This gets expensive, though, with parts and labor.

RV stores are a good option as well but these parts are also new and are often expensive.

You can also checkout store chains like Walmart. Their superstores often have large outdoor sections so you may be able to find a new part for a decent price.

At the end of the day:

When you have a broken item on your RV or a part that needs to be replaced, it can throw a damp towel on your travel plans. You want to get it fixed as quickly and efficiently as possible, right? That way you can get back behind the wheel and enjoy the road less traveled.

As we’ve discussed, RV salvage yards offer a quick and cheap option for new RV parts. If you are able to make your repair yourself, this is a great option. Remember the drawbacks and warnings, though.

You may need to dig around the lot and rummage through some junk. You may need to do some extra legwork before buying it. You will want to be sure you are getting the right part, size, etc.

Rest assured, though. You and your pocketbook will be better off in the long run.

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