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10 Spring Maintenance Tips for Refrigerated Trailers

Mar 13, 2024

Keep the heat out of your refrigerated trailers and wallets by taking some preventative measures. Pre-cooling and proper temperature settings when loading can lower the number of service calls on your units. PLM recommends the following tips for pre-cooling your trailer during the hot weather:

  1. Driver Pre-Trip Inspection

    Always complete a pre-trip inspection to ensure that there are no existing worn or damaged parts before starting your trip.

  2. Check Oil, Water and Fuel Levels Daily

    Engine performance: Hot temperatures can place additional strain on the engine of the refrigeration unit. Checking the oil level ensures that the engine has sufficient lubrication to operate smoothly, reducing friction and heat buildup. Insufficient oil can lead to engine damage or failure, particularly in hot conditions where the engine is already under stress.

    Cooling system efficiency: Adequate water levels are crucial for the proper functioning of the refrigeration unit's cooling system. In hot temperatures, the cooling system works harder to maintain the desired temperature inside the trailer. Insufficient water levels can lead to overheating and inefficiencies in the cooling process, potentially compromising the integrity of the transported goods.

    Fuel efficiency: Monitoring fuel levels is important for ensuring uninterrupted operation of the refrigeration unit. In hot temperatures, the refrigeration unit may consume more fuel to maintain the desired temperature inside the trailer. Checking fuel levels allows drivers to refill as needed, ensuring continuous operation and preventing unexpected shutdowns due to fuel depletion.

  3. Remove Debris from Return Air Bulkhead

    Ensure that there is no debris in the return air bulkhead. If there is debris, this will prevent proper air flow, causing your trailer to cool down slower. During warm months, this can seriously impact the temperature control of your trailer.

  4. Pre-Cool Trailer Before Loading

    Pre-cool your trailer to within 10 degrees below the desired set point of the product being loaded into the trailer. Refrigerated units are designed to maintain temperature in the compartment and are not designed to pull product temperature down to a specific temperature over time. So verify product being loaded into the trailer is pre-cooled to desired temperature prior to loading.

  5. Turn Off Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) While Doors are Open

    If you leave the TRU running while the doors are open, it will just suck in the hot outdoor air causing you to lose the cool temperature faster. In addition, this will overwork your TRU, leading to failures and more wear in the future.

  6. Inspect Your Tires

    You should always be checking your tires. However, especially in hot temperatures, heat can cause tire pressure to increase. Overinflated tires are more prone to blowouts, reduced traction, and uneven wear. Regular tire inspections during hot weather allow for adjustments to maintain optimal tire pressure levels.

  7. Replace Worn Glad Hand Seals

    During hot temperatures, the seals can become softer and more prone to deformation, which can exacerbate any existing wear and tear. This can result in increased air leakage, causing the refrigeration system to work harder to maintain the desired temperature inside the trailer. In extreme cases, air leaks can lead to a loss of refrigeration capacity, compromising the quality and safety of the transported goods.

  8. Inspect Air Lines for Chaffing, Leaks, and Rubbing

    Preventing air leaks: Hot temperatures can exacerbate wear and tear on air lines, making them more susceptible to cracking or developing leaks. Inspecting the lines helps identify any potential weak points or damage that could lead to air leaks. Air leaks can affect the performance of the trailer's braking system and the operation of the refrigeration unit.

    Preventing accidents: Chafing or rubbing of air lines against other components or surfaces can lead to wear and tear, weakening the integrity of the lines. If left unchecked, this could result in sudden failures or even accidents. Regular inspection helps detect any signs of chafing or rubbing early on, allowing for preventive maintenance to be carried out before a serious issue arises.

  9. Document Any Damage
  10. Driver Post-Trip Inspection

PLM offers full service maintenance complete with 24/7 emergency service, mobile service that comes to you, a team of fleet experts, and more. Contact us: Contact Us (