Junk RVs and RV Disposal
Getting rid of a junk RV isn't as simple as driving it to the landfill because not all landfills accept junk RVs. Even if they do, a junk RV may not be drivable, so getting it to a landfill can be complicated. If you want to know how to dispose of an RV, some options include paying to have it removed, finding an RV salvage or junkyard, or breaking it down into its component parts. You could also donate it to charity.
What is a junk RV?
An RV is generally considered junk when it no longer retains any value and can't be repaired. That usually happens because it's old or needs repairs that cost more than its market value. If you've got an RV that no longer runs, you might have a junk RV on your hands, depending on what it would cost to make it operational and whether your state will allow you to restore it.
RV salvage value and title
If you've been in an accident and your RV insurance has determined the vehicle a total loss, you probably have a junk RV. A salvage title says that the vehicle has been deemed a total loss by an insurance company. The criteria for determining when a salvage RV title is issued varies by state. A totaled RV should have a salvage title. Some will go even further and have a salvage title that lists them as "parts only," "non-repairable," or something similar. The RV salvage value is the price you or the insurer would expect to get from a salvage company to take it for parts.
Some people may use the term "junk RV" to refer to any totaled RV – one that you can legally restore – so be sure you know what exactly you're dealing with.
How to scrap a camper trailer or RV
1. Selling a junk RV
If you've determined that you have a junk RV, you can still try selling it. Some DIYers may be interested even if the RV is in bad shape. Depending on where the damage is, they may harvest parts or gut the RV and use the shell or frame.
Have realistic expectations and be honest in your advertising. Figure out what works and doesn't, and research the value of any appliances and other components that are still in working order before you set your asking price.
2. Give your junk RV away
If no one wants to buy your junk RV, try listing it for free on resale sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You won't get any money for it, but someone else will likely handle the junk RV removal at no expense to you. Otherwise, you may be able to donate it to charity, especially if it's still operational.
3. Pay to have your junk RV removed
If quick RV disposal is your priority, you may be able to find a company that will come and remove your junk RV for a price. If there's a junk RV removal company in your area, this can be your fastest and most hassle-free option. You can expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for the convenience.
4. Scrap your junk RV yourself
If you've got the DIY skills, you may be able to break down the RV into components such as appliances or cabinetry and sell the pieces individually. You may also be able to scrap the metal siding and other materials and sell them at a scrapyard. You could take the metal parts to a local metal recycling site if they pay for scrap metal. The process of breaking down your RV can be labor-intensive, but if you know how to scrap a camper trailer or motorhome, it may make you more money than disposing of your junk RV whole.
5. Take your RV to the landfill
Another option is finding a landfill in your area that accepts junk RVs. Call ahead to check whether the landfill accepts junk vehicles and find out if you need an appointment. Ask if they have any other conditions like draining all the fluids. The landfill's requirements will determine what you need to do to prepare the RV for demolition and whether you can drive it there or if you need a tow.
What are RV salvage yards?
You can also search for an RV salvage yard or scrap yard. These sites collect old RVs and break them down, selling parts to other RV owners looking for secondhand components. Depending on your RV's salvage value, the scrapyard may pay you a small amount. Either way, this approach provides quick RV disposal for you and ensures that useful components don't get thrown away unnecessarily.
If your junk RV doesn't run, the scrapyard may pick it up, but expect that to reduce whatever they might offer for the RV salvage value.