By Chris Dougherty, Certified RV Technician
Sad to say, RVs are a lot like cars: As they bounce down the road of life, they wear and tear, and sooner or later you’ve got to replace something. And like cars, parts aren’t usually cheap. But here’s a little secret that many don’t know about RVs: Like cars, you don’t always have to “buy new” when you need parts.
We don’t suppose you’ve lain awake at night wondering where RV heaven is. Most folks never give a thought to where RVs go “at the end of the hunt.” Like automobiles, there really are RV wrecking yards — okay, excuse us! RV recycling yards. They’re scattered across the country, and they carry a fascinating array of parts: From roof vents to holding tanks, siding to windows, dinettes to dump valves, if you’re looking for an RV part, there’s probably an RV recycler that has what you need. But how do you find such an outfit?
You just need to point your Internet browser to the database of “RV Salvage, Used RV Parts Surplus RV Parts Suppliers.” It’s a neat little database of RV salvage yards and other surplus parts suppliers where you can search to locate a yard within reach. Or depending on your part, for a part within reach of the post office or UPS, as many yards will ship your part to you. We prefer to visit the yard when looking for parts. In our searches, we’ve discovered it’s best to check out the part we need to ensure it really fits, looks like what we want, and will do what we need.
How much will you pay? The law of supply and demand seems to dictate: Popular parts like air conditioning units and refrigerators may run 70 percent or more of “new” prices. Lesser in demand stuff can run pennies on the dollar. And like “Uncle Bulgie’s Wrecking Yard” of my youth, it can also depend on the mood of the yard owner at the time you stop in. Pay attention — it pays.
And one more thing: When you visit the website, don’t just “jump” to the state-by-state listings. If you have an “orphan” RV, where the manufacturer has gone out of business, look down toward the bottom of the page. You’ll find a whole list of outfits that may have parts for your orphan.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW TO LEARN MORE.