5 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Reefer Trailer

Semi-trucks haul nearly 80% of the U.S. freight. A refrigerated trailer, also known as a reefer trailer, is generally used to transport temperature-sensitive products. Because reefer trailers keep products at a certain temperature, the food industry relies heavily on them to transport perishable food items. In most cases, truck drivers hauling a reefer trailer make more money. It requires more work and food products come with specific regulations. Purchasing a reefer trailer requires a lot of research and knowledge. It is a huge purchase and drivers need to know what to look for in a trailer. Check out our 5 tips on purchasing a reefer trailer below.


New vs. Used Reefer Trailers

Although there are plenty of benefits when purchasing a new reefer trailer, it may not be the most cost-effective decision. There are several places online that allow drivers to shop for used reefer trailers for the fraction of the cost for a new trailer. So, if you’re considering buying a reefer trailer, look at used trailers first. Also, make sure to buy from a reputable person or place. You never know when someone might try to scam you into buying an overpriced trailer.


Reefers vs. Dry Vans

Refrigerated trailers are dry van trailers with a cooling system. Both trailers allow drivers to haul bulk products and protect the freight from bad weather, theft, and other types of damage. Dry vans and reefers are both extremely durable. Drivers have to consider important factors when purchasing a reefer trailer. Some factors include: repairing the reefer unit and damaged panels.


Check the Number of Hours on the Reefer

The amount of hours on a reefer trailer matters more than how old the trailer is. The average used reefer trailer logs around 3,000 to 4,000 per year. Most buyers would prefer to buy a 3-year-old trailer with 5,000 miles than a 2-year-old trailer with 8,000.


Thermo King or Carrier

When it comes to the temperature control system, two brands predominate the industry: Thermo King and Carrier. Each brand has differences, but overall they are very similar. One important thing to consider when choosing between Thermo King or Carrier: what are you hauling? If you are hauling frozen goods, a Carrier may be the best option. Some drivers have reported that Carriers have better electronics and microprocessors and some drivers have reported that Thermo King is more reliable. It’s best to ask other experienced drivers what brand they prefer.


Examine the Trailer

If you are buying a used trailer, you must examine before purchasing. Check for leaks and rust, inspect the floor, test the temperature all before buying. A great way to check for leaks is to get in the trailer on a sunny day, close the doors and look for any light shining through the ceiling, corners, or floors. Get underneath the trailer to check for rust, corrosion, or any other damages. Do not forget to check the weight of the trailer. Any additional weight added to the trailer can cost hundreds in fuel. Make sure to use a scale and get the actual weight of the trailer.

Check out our blog 10 Most Common Trailers Used By Everyday Truckers.

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Maranda Heaverin

Maranda Heaverin

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the reminder that the hours on refrigerated trailers are important to consider when looking to buy one. I’m interested in looking for one that can help in my plans to start a food supply business soon. I’m sure that transportation would require refrigeration for a business like that.

  2. Thanks for explaining that dry vans and reefers are both extremely durable for transporting. I’ve always wondered how companies can transport cold products and keep them at the right temperature. It makes sense that there are lots of different options for transporting this.

  3. I like how you pointed out that it is a good idea to check for leaks and rust when you are purchasing a reefer trailer. With that in mind, it could be a good idea to have a mechanic thoroughly inspect a reefer trailer before you make a final decision. A thorough inspection will help you find potential problems that might not be easy to spot.

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