Shopping for mobile home parts isn’t quite like shopping for a standard residential family home. But being that your mobile home is going to need maintenance from time to time, you best know where to go to get these replacement parts. Failure to do so and you risk going on a wild goose chase looking for the particular part that you need. In the end, you might tire of the routine and settle on a part that’s not specifically designed to install in your mobile home. Perhaps you never pick up the replacement part at all.
Finding mobile home parts can be a challenge, but that challenge can become all the more daunting if you don’t know where to look or what resources to tap in to. Here’s a closer look at what you’ll need and where to go if you need replacement mobile home parts or materials:
First Things First
First and foremost, you need to understand that mobile home parts are by and large different from conventional single-family home parts. For instance, many mobile home walls are either VOG (vinyl over gypsum) or wood panels – not drywall. While it’s true that you may be able to get away with purchasing parts designed for a single-family home in some cases, you’ll likely have to do some modifying to the part to get it to work in your mobile home. For this reason, we strongly advise only buying parts that are purpose-built for mobile homes. Here’s a look at some other tips:
- Know the part: Minimally, you’ll want to know the type of part that you’re looking for. Generally, this is pretty simple to figure out. If you can, remove the part so that you can take it into a local mobile home parts store for a replacement. If you can’t remove it, take pictures of it for reference.
- Check for a part number: Certain parts will have an identification label, which you can then use to cross reference for a new, similar part.
- Try to find the user’s manual: Most parts come with some type of literature that describes installation, warranty information, etc. Try to locate this manual for reference in a replacement. If you can’t locate it, see if you can identify the manufacturer, then log on to the manufacturer website to see if you can print off an additional manual.
Once you know what type of part or material you’re looking for, then you can move on to the next step of locating the replacement part.
Shopping Online for Mobile Home Parts
It’s easier than ever today to locate mobile home parts and materials thanks to the Internet. While it arguably doesn’t come close to the customer service or expertise that you’d get at a brick-and-mortar mobile home store, one of the nice things about shopping an online site is that you’ll likely find what you’re looking for very quickly. Here are some tips for shopping for parts and materials online:
- Stick to trusted sites: Some good resources to check out include Mobile Home Parts Store, Discount Mobile Home Parts and Mobile Home Advantage. For more specialty mobile home parts, you might try eBay. Also, check out our parts store for specialty mobile home parts offered by Aberdeen Home Repair.
- Shop smart: You should already have an idea of what you’re looking for, but if you’re having trouble finding it online or aren’t sure if a particular part is the right one, be sure to call the store and have them help walk you through things. Some online retailers offer a live chat feature. Also, be sure to read up on each store’s policies (i.e., return policy, delivery estimate, etc.).
- Though shopping online can be convenient and affordable, customer service is usually lacking. This is especially true when shopping for specific parts or asking questions on parts, as it can be hard to talk through things over the phone. However, if you know the specific part you’re looking for, shopping online is ideal.
Shopping locally at a brick-and-mortar store is your other option when it comes to acquiring mobile home parts and materials. Here are some tips for going this route:
- Skip the big box hardware store: Outside of Menards, which does carry a decent amount of mobile home parts and materials, you won’t find what you’re looking for at a big box store. You want to stick to the stores that specialize in mobile home parts. If you need help finding them in your area, check out MHvillage.com. It’s a site that lets you search for mobile home stores within your geographical area.
- Come equipped: Unless you know exactly what you need, arrive at the store with the part you’re replacing (if possible), pictures and any other helpful information.
- Great for the unknown: While shopping online is ideal if you know the part you need, the opposite is true when shopping in person. That’s where the customer service aspect of a brick-and-mortar store comes in, as associates can help you find the part you need. It’s not likely you’ll get that when shopping online. Additionally, if you’re buying something like floor materials, it’s easy to buy several different types of sample materials to see which one you like best in your home before making a decision.
- Drawbacks: There are a few drawbacks to shopping at a mobile home parts store. One, prices are likely to be higher than online. And two, you may have to travel a considerable distance to find one based on where you live.
Is it possible to replace a mobile home part with a stick-built part? It’s a question we get all the time, and we’re always wary of recommending it. That’s because there are a variety of factors that go into mobile home materials and parts versus stick-built materials and parts. Parts are built to different codes, for instance, or designed to perform differently. And while it’s possible to make the swap, typically there’s some significant jerry-rigging involved. It’s why we suggest sticking to mobile home replacement parts and materials specifically designed for such homes, even if you can’t tell the difference.