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The Most Common Reefer Unit Issues

Along with being an important way of transporting different types of perishable cargo, reefer units also require a lot of maintenance. If you fail to properly maintain your reefer truck then you’ll likely run into many issues. These mechanical failures can result in spoiled cargo and wasted time and money.

Truck drivers are responsible for inspecting their reefer units and scheduling regular maintenance. So, if you wish to arrive at your destination with your cargo intact you should keep an eye out for the following reefer unit failures.

Top 4 Reefer Unit Failures You Need to Look Out For

Air Leaks

An air leak is dangerously common in refrigerated trucks. If your doors aren’t properly sealed then this could cause cold air to seep out allowing warm air to enter the unit. Therefore, before each trip, you need to inspect your seals and ensure none are broken or cracked. You should also examine the hinges on your trailer’s doors because this can also contribute to air leaks.

Fluid Leaks

If you’re having issues with keeping your reefer unit cool, we suggest checking for fluid leaks. This is a common problem that can be spotted fairly easily. The first place to check for a fluid leak is under your truck. Do you notice any spots or stains towards the front of your vehicle? If so, it may be oil from your engine.

If that isn’t the culprit then we recommend checking your hoses, belts, and equalizer tubes. Equalizer tubes are responsible for controlling the flow of liquid refrigerant to the evaporator. If there’s a leak in one of the tubes then it’s likely the cause of your truck’s inability to remain cool. Lastly, if your equalizer tubes are intact you should check for cracked, worn, or broken hoses and belts. These could also be affecting your reefer’s cooling system and functionality.

Condenser Issues

The purpose of a condenser is to stabilize temperatures in your reefer unit. Several components inside the condenser, such as the clamps, bolts, tubes, and coils need to be intact to work properly. Therefore, we recommend checking these parts for any existing damage.

Bulkhead Issues

Hauling multiple shipments at the same time is very common with refrigerated units. The only problem is these goods have to remain at their designated temperature throughout the duration of the trip. This is where bulkheads come in handy.

Bulkheads are responsible for separating goods with different temperature requirements within the same trailer.  In some instances, the airflow can become blocked which puts the various shipments at risk. If you think the bulkhead is the culprit you can test it out and monitor whether or not the temperature remains consistent in each section. You also inspect each section to see if any airflow is passing through.

Stay Informed and Maintain Your Reefer

To avoid the above-mentioned mechanical failures, you need to schedule your vehicle to be serviced every three months. Regular maintenance and inspections ensure that all components of your reefer are working correctly.

Before the start of each trip, you should go through the following checklist:

  • Check for any broken or cracked seals and hinges
  • Make sure your trailer’s doors close tightly and lock
  • Check your hoses, belts, and equalizer tubes for any leaks 
  • Ensure your cooling system is functioning properly by showing accurate measurements 
  • Check your bulkheads and condensers 

Following this pre-trip inspection will lessen your chances of ending up with spoiled cargo. Ultimately, reefer breakdown coverage will save you time and money, in the long run, making your fleet run more efficiently.




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