Camper Salvage Yards: Where to Find Them and What to Expect

Parts for sale in a camper yard

Are you looking for information about camper salvage yards? If you're searching for parts for a motor home or travel trailer, you may be able to save quite a bit of money if you can locate the items you need in this type of facility. Take a look at how you can find a salvage yard near you and what to expect when you visit one.

What Is a Camper Salvage Yard?

A camper salvage yard is similar to what is commonly referred to as a "junk yard" for automobiles, except the inventory consists of recreational vehicles (RV) rather than cars and trucks. These types of lots are places where RVs that are no longer in use are stored and made available to RV owners who want to purchase parts from them.

Recreational vehicles that are involved in accidents, are damaged by floods or other types of natural disasters, or become leaky due to exposure to the elements or poor maintenance often end up in these salvage yards. Even when a particular unit has been damaged to the point that it can no longer be used as a camper, there are likely to be plenty of parts that are still useful for RV repairs.

Trailers and Cars junk yard

Salvage Yard Expectations

You can expect to pay significantly less for parts found in a salvage yard than if you were to order new items from the manufacturer or a parts supply retailer. When you visit this type of facility, you will be able to look through the available inventory to determine if the particular items that you need to repair your RV are available. If you find what you are looking for, the proprietor can provide you with a price for exactly what you are interested in purchasing.

There's No Guarantee

There's a better chance that you'll find parts for your RV at a salvage yard if you own a unit that is several years old rather than one that is fairly new. However, as with all types of salvage shopping, you just don't know what you might find until you look, and there's no guarantee that the salvage yard you go to is going to have the part that you need. Some camper models, such as Airstreams and Scamps, change very little from year to year and a part from an older model may work perfectly for your new unit.

Additionally, even newer models can become damaged to the point where they end up in a salvage yard. Keep in mind that inventory varies greatly from one place to another. Even if a yard has the same model of camper that you own, there is always a chance that someone else will have already bought the parts that you are looking for by the time you arrive at the facility.

Finding Camper Salvage Yards

If you're interested in finding secondhand parts for your recreational vehicle, you will first need to find out if there are any salvage yards that carry RVs within a reasonable distance of where you are located. You may first want to check local print and online telephone directory listings when looking for camper salvage yards. In addition to looking near your home, it's also a good idea to check for salvage lots located in and around areas where you travel frequently. When you find a listing for a salvage business that carries RV parts, it's best to call before taking a trip to the location. This will allow you to ensure that the facility is still open as well as provide you with more detailed information about what you can expect to find when you arrive.

Camper Salvage Yards Locator Tools

While digital locator tools aren't guaranteed to have a junkyard located in your area within their catalogs or maps, they are a good place to start. Here are three junkyard databases for the United States that might help you find the salvage yard you've been looking for.

  • Junk Yards Near Me - This website has an interactive map showing many of the RV salvage yards based in the United States. Unfortunately, their map is mostly focused on showing locations on the East Coast, so you might have to do some more digging if you call the Midwest or western states home.
  • Rich the RV Guy - Organized by state, this website has a large collection of RV salvage yards from practically every state across America, equipped with their contact information so you can get in touch with them as quick and as easily as possible.
  • RVResources.com - This website has a fairly comprehensive online recreational vehicle salvage directory that you can use to look for places that may have what you need. There's no cost for salvage yards to be included on the website, so there many of these types of business listed in the directory. However, there's no guarantee that every salvage yard in existence is on the site or that all of the businesses included are still in operation.

How to Sell Your Camper to a Yard

Half of the reason people look for camper salvage yards is because they're trying to get rid of their older camper or RV. Perhaps you haven't been able to find a buyer for your old camper, or it's broken down and you're not sure what to do with it. If this is the case, take a look at this walk-through for what to do to sell your RV or camper to one of these specialized salvage yards.

  1. Contact any local salvage yards and see if they're currently accepting used campers or RVs.
  2. If they are accepting new inventory, discuss the make, model, year, and mileage of the camper you're currently trying to get rid of.
  3. The salvage yard should give you an estimate for how much your RV/camper is worth. From there, you can try to negotiate a higher price if you feel like your camper is worth more than what is currently being offered.
  4. Once you've settled on a price, you'll need to arrange to have your camper brought to the salvage yard, and fill out the necessary paperwork (which varies by state) to complete the sale.
  5. Keep in mind that even broken RVs and campers can be sold. If you can, try to make your salvage yard incur the costs for towing, but if you can't, have the costs deducted from your sale price.
Man outside with an abandoned trailer

Don't Let a Camper or RV Go to Waste

Whether you're looking to find a cheap part to fix a broken piece of your camper or RV, or you're trying to get rid of one that's been sitting in your backyard for a few years, camper salvage yards can come to your rescue. Offering parts and machinery significantly below retail prices, these salvage yards are a great alternative to conventional market pathways if you want to get the best bang for your buck. After all, no camper or RV should ever go to waste.

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Camper Salvage Yards: Where to Find Them and What to Expect