Let’s Compare New Versus Used RV Parts
Most RVers give little thought to used RV parts until the day something breaks or becomes damaged in their RV and they come to realize used RV parts are a viable option to get them back on the road.
What are the benefits of used RV parts?
- Sticker shock! Let’s face it, some RV parts are expensive and the cost savings of installing a used part instead of new is easier on the budget.
- Recycling old parts is good for the planet.
- Obsolete: The part you need may no longer be available from the manufacturer as the manufacture is no longer in business or has discontinued producing the part. This is especially true for unique parts (end caps, fender skirts, etc) on “orphaned” RVs.
- You can’t get the new part in a timely manner. With the huge demand for new RVs along with supply chain issues due to COVID-19, many RV parts and accessories are back-ordered for months.
Where do you find used RV parts?
RV wrecking yards
Just as automobiles and trucks not worth repairing are sent to wrecking yards, the same fate awaits RVs damaged beyond their monetary worth. While the RV itself may no longer be usable, many of the parts, appliances and accessories are still serviceable and available for sale.
Typically you will find older RVs in wrecking yards as they aren’t worth the cost of repair, but occasionally you will find a newer RV with extensive damage that resulted in it being totaled by the insurance company.
RV Dealers / RV Service Centers
While you are unlikely to find individual used RV parts, you will occasionally find a complete used appliance and accessories.
Here’s why: When an RVer decides to upgrade an appliance or accessory, the facility that does the work often ends up with the item that was removed which is typically still fully serviceable.
Examples: An absorption refrigerator may be removed in favor of a residential style refrigerator. A 6-gallon water heater may be swapped out in favor of an instantaneous tankless water heater. A manual patio awning might be removed and replaced by an electric awning.
eBay and other online sites are good places to locate used RV parts. When searching eBay, use the word “pre-owned” rather than “Used” to improve your search results.
Are used RV parts safe?
Salvage yards usually test used RV parts to ensure they’re in working order. They also offer many parts in like-new condition as some RVs are wrecked before they have been used heavily.
An RV service center that removed a newer appliance when a customer upgraded may offer a short warranty period or agree to warrant the balance of the original manufacturer’s warranty on the item.
Many used RV parts like fender skirts, awning rafters, access doors, etc. have many years of service left on them and shouldn’t cause concern for buying them used. Caution should be exercised when buying used electrical or electronic parts like circuit boards or solenoid propane valves.
Here is a video with tips on hunting RV wrecking yards for used RV parts and what to expect:
Used RV parts, appliances and accessories are a viable option. Be sure to keep them in mind when the need for replacement arises.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents and receipts in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due and potentially avoid a costly repair or serious accident.