Where Do You Go for Cheap RV Repair Parts?
One of the bad things about owning an RV is the fact that you have to maintain it. Keeping up with things like sealing the roof and getting regular oil changes is easy enough, but then there are the things that break.
You see, no matter how well you care for your trailer or motorhome, things are going to break. This makes sense really, considering we drive these tiny homes down the road, with all the twists, turns, and bumps that go with it—but that doesn’t make these issues any less annoying when they do come up.
Fortunately, most RV repairs are pretty simple to do on your own, especially if you’re already handy, own a decent set of tools, and know how to navigate the internet to find instructions. Still, you have to purchase the parts to make the repair, and this can be incredibly expensive.
This is where RV salvage yards come into play. RV salvage yards are enormous lots of totaled RVs that are collected by insurance companies and sold in pieces to RV repair shops and RV owners just like you.
Look for parts at RV salvage yards
If you’ve never visited RV salvage yards, you might be wondering if one can actually save money by shopping these places when RV repairs are needed. The answer? A resounding yes!
As long as the part you need isn’t too obscure, and your rig isn’t so new that no matching parts have been scrapped yet, you may be able to purchase what you need at a salvage yard. Not only that, but because the part is used, you’ll spend much less than you’d pay otherwise.
Sure, you’ll need to do a bit of digging around and you might even need to visit more than one yard. However, if you have the extra time, and if the part you need is pricey, it’ll likely be worthwhile. This is especially true if you find yourself making multiple repairs at one time or doing a complete renovation.
Other reasons to shop RV salvage yards
Saving money is definitely the number one reason to shop RV salvage yards. That said, it isn’t the only reason to take up this practice. In fact, we can think of a whole list of benefits to combing RV salvage yards whenever you need parts.
Some of the top reasons to do this include:
Buying used items is always going to be a more eco-friendly option. This is true for clothing and toys, and is equally true for RV parts.
Fewer new parts purchased means fewer new parts manufactured. Also, since the used parts are likely to become unusable if someone doesn’t snatch them up relatively quickly, it’s much better for the earth if you keep the used parts out of the landfills.
Supporting a local business
Supporting individuals in your own community is always the best option if possible. If your area doesn’t have an RV parts store, you’ll have to order new parts online. On the flip side, if you have a local RV salvage yard, you can buy from a local business, helping your community to thrive.
The thrill of the hunt
Lastly, many people really enjoy the thrill of hunting for parts at RV salvage yards. A trip to one of these lots can be a ton of fun, and many people equate the experience to a treasure hunt of sorts. Finally finding the perfect part is exhilarating, and discovering treasures you never expected is equally fun.
RV Salvage Yard Haggling Tips
The thing about buying from a salvage yard is that in order to get the best price, you must be willing to negotiate with the salesperson. This haggling can be nerve-wracking for some and exciting for others. Either way, it’s good to go in well prepared. Here are our tips for doing just that.
Know the value
Before you leave the house to go digging through a salvage yard, make sure you know the value of the items you’re looking for. Know how much you would pay for a new part and how much the part tends to go for as a used item. This knowledge will help you ensure you get a fair price.
When you find the part you want, you’ll need to make an offer. Our advice is to offer a bit less than you actually want to spend without going so low the salesperson won’t take you seriously.
There’s a good chance your offer will be followed by a counteroffer, so know exactly how high you’re willing to go and be ready to make yet another offer.
Stand your ground
Lastly, it is important that you know your upper limit going in and stand your ground. Remember, you can always return later to grab the part if you can’t find something elsewhere.
How to find RV salvage yards
Of course, in order to shop RV salvage yards, you must first find them. Our advice is to run a quick online search for RV salvage yards or junkyards in your area to see what kinds of options you can bring up. This list might also prove helpful.
If there is not a salvage yard in your area, there’s also the option of looking for used RV parts online. This isn’t quite as fun as going to a physical junkyard, but can still save money and feel pretty satisfying. Just keep in mind that buying online means you can’t see the parts before buying, so you may end up with a wrong part and no way to return it.
One site that sells used RV parts is Arizona RV Salvage. Prefer to purchase an entire totaled RV? SalvageBid could be a good bet.
Chelsea Gonzales is a full-time RVer, freelance writer, and roadschooling mama who loves sharing her expertise about RVing with kids, roadschooling, and full-time RVing. The entrepreneurial and free-spirited author is also artistic director of the Aistear Mobile Irish Dance Academy, and currently travels with her family in a 27-foot travel trailer. Chelsea’s informational articles about full-time RVing, raising children on the road, camping, and destination features appear on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander. throughout the RV LIFE network, and in RV industry media outlets such as Outdoorsy, Coach-Net, and RV Share.
Chelsea, Aren’t the photos you show actually campers in Europe ?? File photos ? DG
Vince Sadowski says
AZ Salvage Yard is ridiculous on their prices. I wanted a spare wheel and they asked as much as I could have bought a new one for.
Other people have told me they wanted ridiculous money for parts.
Dr. Michael says
Good morning all
This is a very valuable service that, for some reason I cannot figure out why the major salvage yards (Ace, Go-Pull-It) have not jumped on the bandwagon.
So- all I am looking for is a replacement low beam headlight (the whole unit, not the bulb) for a 2014 Entegra Anthem. I write to Entegra parts and what do I get back:
“I’m sorry sir, the company that manufactures the headlights has gone out of business and we do not have any in stock.”
Seriously?? That is the answer they provided! No part number, no other places to look? There are more than10,000 Entegra’s on the road and what are we going to do for a simple part (salvage yard!!) let alone a complex part (again– salvage yard!!)
Allen Charles Below-Gallina says
RV Junk Yards Good
Jeffrey Kontur says
Depending on what you’re looking for, even regular salvage yards are a great option. I purchased a dozen or so 4AWG battery cables from an ordinary junk yard. I paid about as much for the whole lot of them as I would have paid for just four brand new equivalent cables. I also bought a replacement wheel for my motorhome from a truck salvage yard. I paid about 1/8th what a new wheel would have cost.
Dana Lakeman says
So I go to a salvage yard and buy a water heater because, notwithstanding I paid thousands of dollars for an RV, I don’t want to spend the money for a new water heater. I get it home and install it. It leaks everywhere, and doesn’t heat up. I don’t know it doesn’t work until I install it because I can’t operational check it at the salvage yard. Not what hassle do I have!
I will always buy new if the part is available.
Looking for 8 lug front hub cover for a 22.5” rim
Part number VAC8275FHC.
These are also used on Winnebago with part #150723-01-700
If anyone has one or knows where to get one, please contact me.
Rick Hannes says
Automatic Leveling System