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Supply chain issues have thrown manufacturers and RV owners for a loop over the past couple of years. If you can find the part you need, it may come at a premium price and take longer to get to you. To avoid derailing RVing adventures, many RV owners turn to RV salvage yards to keep them on the road.
Today, we’re sharing how RV salvage yards can be an ideal option you might not have considered. You can save a few bucks and avoid canceling your travel plans. Let’s get started!
What Are RV Salvage Yards?
RV salvage yards are like a cemetery for RVs. It’s where RVs park when their days of adventuring and making memories have ended.
However, just because they’re no longer usable doesn’t mean that some of their parts don’t have a life still in them.
You can use these salvage yards to find parts that might not be readily available elsewhere.
It is beneficial if you have a vintage camper that uses components that may no longer be in production.
If you can find the necessary part at a salvage yard, you can get back to adventuring and making memories in your rig.
What Kind of Parts Can You Find at RV Salvage Yards?
RV salvage yards are full of rigs of all shapes and sizes and in various conditions.
However, they’re typically beyond repair.
The possibilities are practically endless regarding what kind of parts you can find.
You can salvage everything from the leveling jacks to roof-mounted air condition units and everything in between.
Universal parts like water pumps and water heaters are often more readily available.
You might have trouble finding a unique part for your RV.
However, patience can pay off, and you might be able to discover that rare part at an RV salvage yard.
Pros of Buying Parts at RV Salvage Yards
If you’ve never bought parts at a salvage yard, it’s easy to overlook this option.
However, there are a few great reasons why we think you should consider checking with an RV salvage yard if you’re having trouble getting a specific part.
Parts Are Cheaper
Because these parts aren’t new, you can sometimes expect to pay a discounted price.
Some salvage yards may even require you to bring your toolbox and remove the parts yourself.
However, it’s a minor inconvenience and a small fee compared to the cost of new RV parts.
RV parts can be costly, especially if you have to buy directly from the manufacturer.
You’ll not only have to pay a premium price for the part, but you’ll also likely pay a hefty fee for shipping.
If the part you need is heavy, it’s not going to be cheap to ship.
Driving down to the RV salvage yard and picking it up can be more convenient and cost-effective.
Pro Tip: Buying used parts from a salvage yard isn’t the only way to save money. Check out these Easy Ways To Save Money While RVing.
Finding Obscure Parts for Older Rigs
There’s something special about seeing a retro camper pull into the campsite next to you.
They take you back to the days when life seemed more simple and at a slower pace. On the other hand, this uniqueness can make it challenging to find parts.
Airstream has been making its iconic trailers since the 1950s and estimates that nearly 70% of all Airstreams ever built are still on the road today.
However, they’ve changed their manufacturing processes and what parts they use over the years. Finding a supplier with a new part for an aging rig can be next to impossible.
RV salvage yards are the perfect place to search for obscure parts.
You may hit the jackpot and find that the local salvage yard has an RV from the same timeframe as your retro camper.
The part may not be new, but it may have some usable life!
It’s natural to develop a deeper appreciation and respect for nature the more time you spend RVing.
You can save money by purchasing parts from a salvage yard, and you can also save the planet.
Using components that have already been tested is much more environmentally friendly and less wasteful.
We consider it a win anytime we can extend the life of a piece of equipment instead of letting it rot away in a landfill.
Keep in Mind: Still looking for eco-friendly options? Electric RVs may be in your future! Take a look into where it’s heading
Supporting Local Businesses
According to the RV Industry Association, the RV industry has an annual economic impact of over $100 billion.
Prominent players in the industry are lining their pockets with a tremendous profit every year.
Any time you buy a new part from a retailer or manufacturer, you support a big business.
By visiting a local salvage yard, you often support a local small business.
Local community members usually own these businesses, and their profits go directly to their families.
We love supporting local businesses, and this is an excellent opportunity for you to do just that!
Cons of Buying Parts at RV Salvage Yards
While you can save money and locate hard-to-find parts, these aren’t perfect options. Let’s look at a few of the no-so-perfect characteristics of RV salvage yards!
You Must Negotiate
Be ready to negotiate if you find the perfect RV part at an RV salvage yard.
You’ll want to consider the law of supply and demand for that specific part.
The salvage yard has it, and you need it.
You’re often at the mercy of the salvage yard employee when it comes to what you’ll be paying.
The salvage yard is looking to make money, and you’re looking to save money. You’ll likely want to consider how much it would cost to acquire that same new part and how much life you can expect from it.
It’s best to have a price in mind that you’re looking to pay for the part before you start searching for it.
You don’t want to pay a like-new fee for a used part, especially if it’s readily available elsewhere.
The key to a successful negotiation is that both sides are happy.
However, if you’re looking for a rare part, you may have no other choice than to pay what they’re asking.
Not All Parts Will Be Available
While you can find some hard-to-find parts now and then, there’s no promise that they’ll be available.
If you’re looking for a specific part, there’s a good chance someone else is.
If they beat you to it, you’ll have to continue searching or consider other options.
Takes Time to Dig Around
Searching for a specific RV part can be like a less exciting scavenger hunt or escape room.
While some parts may be easy to find or readily available, it can take time to find the specific part and evaluate it to ensure it’s compatible with your rig.
The amount of time and effort it can take to locate and acquire a part is often why many people buy new.
They’re not interested in the wild goose chase of tracking down a specific part for their rig.
They’d rather pay a premium price and get back to enjoying their RV.
Keep in Mind: Can’t find an affordable carport piece? Save money and DIY your RV carport!
How to Find RV Salvage Yards
One of the easiest and fastest ways to find an RV salvage yard is to use your favorite search engine.
Simply looking for “RV salvage yard near me” or “used RV parts near me” may provide what you need.
Some salvage yards may not advertise themselves as “RV salvage yards,” so it could be worth calling your local salvage yard.
They may be able to push you in the right direction or provide resources you didn’t know were available.
Websites like RV Yard and SalvageBid sell used RV parts online and can be worth considering. eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist are familiar places for people to sell random items they no longer need.
To get the best deal and maximize your chances of finding a part, you must consider all possible options.
Score Hard to Find Parts at RV Salvage Yards
RVs are notorious for having things break, so you’ll likely need to replace a part or two on your rig eventually.
Some issues can leave your RV unusable until you address the situation. Using an RV salvage yard can help you save a few bucks while avoiding shipping delays and supply issues.
We think it’s worth giving RV parts a chance at a second life by visiting a local salvage yard.
Have you had luck finding parts at an RV salvage yard?