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When an RV has lost all of its value and cannot be fixed, it is typically referred to as “junk.” That usually occurs because the vehicle is outdated, unusable, or requires costly repairs that exceed its market value. Does it cost too much to get your RV running again? Does your state forbid you from restoring it after a major accident or severe damage? If the answer is yes, you likely have a junk motorhome on your hands that you need to get rid of quickly.
Nevertheless, RV disposal is a hassle because moving an old camper or toy hauler to the graveyard is problematic. The good news is you now have more options than ever for disposing of old RVs. Therefore, think about these disposal methods if you want to know how to junk an RV – and maybe make some money in the process.
1. Sell Your Old RV to a Private Buyer
Whether selling your RV to a dealer or private party, it’s important to ensure you do the right things to get the best possible value for your junk RV. Fortunately, many resources are available to help you get started.
Next, find out what your RV is worth. This may not be easy, as depreciation can be high, especially if your motorhome has been in a serious accident or suffered catastrophic damages because of flooding, hail, etc. One of the smartest ways of getting cash for your junk RV is starting with the NADA wholesale value. It is a standardized figure that most RV owners should be familiar with. It’s best to know it before you decide on an asking price because you can make an educated decision.
Now that you understand how much your junk RV is worth try selling it via online marketplaces and online papers/magazines, connecting millions of users. Most of these sites are free and allow you to create a sales list with photos.
Some buyers may get the full junk RV, while others collect a couple of vehicle pieces, dismantle the RV, and use its shell or frame for their campers or other DIY projects. However, it all depends on the extent of your rig’s damages, so be honest in your advertising and set reasonable price expectations. Before you set your asking price, determine what functions inside the camper, and look into the value of any appliances and other RV parts in good condition.
You might also want to consider a professional company specializing in selling RVs. They often offer free listings for new and old rigs alike. Some even allow you to consign your RV and stay in control of the sales process.
2. Sell the Old Camper to an RV Merchant
You might be able to discover a business that would come and take your junk RV for free if speedy RV disposal is your top goal. If there is a junk RV removal business in your area, this can be your simplest and quickest choice. Some reputable buyers will also give you a respectable sum for your old motorhome.
Depending on where you live, a junk RV merchant might be willing to buy your old RV for instant cash. Such buyers usually take care of most of the paperwork and pay you a lump sum that is on par with or higher than what the scrap yard will give you.
3. Strip the RV Down and Sell It for Parts
If you’re skilled, you could disassemble your junk RV into individual parts (like cabinets or appliances) and sell them separately. You might be able to maximize the possible profit by selling the parts, but it all depends on their condition.
Those with a “Vintage” motorhome or one with unusual fixtures that RV fans find difficult to get by might strike gold with RV communities, collectors, and DIYers. However, since stripping down your camper requires huge effort and skills, you must consider your hours’ worth when setting the price.
Nevertheless, you might be able to sell your RV for a healthy profit if its recovered components are fully functional and you clean them thoroughly.
The metal siding and other materials from your RV can also be scrapable and sellable. If the local metal recycling facility pays for scrap metal, you could take the metal components there. Additionally, look for scrap metal groups/forums/communities that can explain how to disassemble an old RV. They’ll describe how to identify various metal types, what they sell for on the open market, and what safety measures you should take during the dismantling process.
Although stripping an RV can be labor-intensive, if you know how to scrap a trailer or motorhome, you might get more money than throwing it in the landfill. Then, after you’ve removed everything of value from the vehicle’s inside and outside, you can haul it to the scrapyard and accept their flat-rate offer.
4. Donate the Old RV to Those Who Need It
If you want to junk your RV without getting money, you could just give your camper away. No matter its condition or title (clean, salvage, rebuilt, etc.), you’d be astonished at how many individuals would be eager to take it off your hands. Share the information with your RV buddies, on social media, and in specialized forums or communities. For example, fishermen and hunters could make excellent customers since they can use an old motorhome as a fishing shack or a place to hide when hunting.
Whether you have an old RV that still works or an unusable one, donating it to a charity can be a wonderful way to help others. It can lead to a tax break and help you eliminate an eyesore in your driveway or backyard.
Donating your RV can help your favorite charity raise money or implement their projects. Several organizations accept RVs, and the money is used for housing, children’s programs, medical care, etc. Whether you are interested in donating your RV to your local food bank or a non-profit involved with kids or veterans, it can be a simple and stress-free process.
Some organizations include the following:
- Wheels for Wishes benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation;
- Vehicles for Veterans
- Home on Wheels
- Habitat for Humanity, and more.
These NGOs might strip down your junk RV to sell it for parts and add to their budget this way, utilize it for something else, fix it, or turn it into a project aligned with their mission (auto shop practice for students or parolees, etc.). Some non-profits might also decommission old vintage RVs, take out the tires, and remove the drive train to turn the vehicles into accommodation facilities for the homeless.
Charities and organizations accepting junk RVs as donations will usually take care of all the paperwork. It is good news for you, as transferring the title of a large toy hauler or travel trailer may be painful.
When you choose this giveaway path, you must acknowledge that you probably won’t see any cash for your vehicle. However, at the end of the year, you can expect some deductions for the donation from your taxes.
5. Sell the Old Motorhome to the Scrapyard
But do so only if everything else fails. Sell your camper or trailer as junk to a salvage or scrap yard. They will assist you in getting rid of your old RV safely and easily. Remember that you will make less money selling to a scrap or salvage yard than you would if you sold it to a real buyer or a company specialized in buying junk RVs.
Again, the key takeaway is that you should only sell an RV to a scrap yard if it is beyond repair, in very bad shape, and nobody wants it. Depending on the components you believe are still worth within the RV, you can negotiate a little with salvage yards but don’t expect them to give you enough for the down payment of your future luxury motorhome.
You can contact a scrap or salvage yard and inquire about having your RV removed from your property. Most of the time, they handle the paperwork and the transportation from your place to theirs.
The major benefit of this approach to junking an RV is that you won’t have to invest effort into it; they can remove the camper from your property and pay you on the spot. You might have to fill out forms related to you, the RV’s model, year, and other details, but everything is pretty clear-cut. The entire procedure will be quick and easy if you are not looking for tax advantages.
6. Take the RV to the Dump
Dealing with unwanted rigs is now more difficult than ever because of landfill laws and local ordinances regarding vintage RVs. However, you can transport your damaged camper to a nearby landfill (as long as they will take it). Unfortunately, if all other options have been tried, you may have no choice except to pay a dumping fee, which could be significant. In other words, you won’t make any money out of this approach, but you pay good money for somebody to get you rid of your junk vehicle.
Since you’ll probably have to pay to have your camper trailer scrapped, and it will only end up in a landfill where it will be useless, we only advise this choice as a last resort.
Is There an Alternative to Make Money Out of a Junk RV?
Yes, but it will cost you. For example, suppose your RV is undrivable, but its interior is still in decent shape. Why not invest in repurposing it into something that will make you some money in the long run?
Turn It into Novelty Lodging
Older RVs and travel trailers are being decommissioned, fixed up, and made available for rent by people with a suitable position close to a popular natural attraction or touristic destination. This practice is a modest but developing trend in the private lodging business. Of course, a premium location is important, but a specialty RV like Airstream – with all the bells and whistles – is the core of this enterprise. To fit the bill, your RV needs to respect the following conditions:
- It can’t and won’t travel anywhere again.
- Its interior is either updated to modern standards or repaired to the old ones while the exterior is fixed, cleaned, and polished.
- Its location is worthy of a small travel business.
- You have the legal right to operate a business in that location.
- Your state’s rules allow you to repurpose your RV as lodging.
You can advertise your “home away from home” on VRBO or Air BNB once you renovate the camper to meet accommodation requirements. Renting your old reconditioned RV for the week(end) to tourists, fishermen, hunters, couples thirsty for adventure, or families searching for “something new” when they travel can be a good idea. Of course, you cannot make money without spending money, so fixing and refurbishing the old camper might be a hassle.
Nevertheless, your old RV might generate returns and profits sooner than you think if you’re in a good location and use the proper marketing strategies.
Turn It into a Shop, Booth, or Place of Service
One way to junk your old RV without actually sending it to die in a landfill is to transform it into a small business or rent it to a business that wants to use it. Make sure you comply with your state’s laws before turning your junk motorhome into a nail salon or stationary sandwich truck. Some popular ideas these days include:
- Turning an old RV into a photo booth (if it is in a good location, it can make a lot of money from newlyweds who love having their pictures taken in the wildest places).
- Repurposing it into a shop/mini-boutique – from selling vintage clothes to flours and homemade jewelry, an old decommissioned RV may become a cool novelty/souvenir store, attracting locals and tourists alike.
- Refurbishing it into a beauty parlor – depending on your RV type and class, you can operate a nail salon, a massage parlor, a hairstyling business, etc., or rent the motorhome to a business offering such services.
As you can see, junking an RV by repurposing it might prove profitable in the long turn. However, if the camper is in terrible condition and you want to get rid of it quickly, the best option is to try one of the solutions presented at the end of this article. Now that you learned how to junk an RV, we hope you choose the option that gives you peace of mind and gets you some money.