How to Boost Fuel Efficiency in Your Reefer Trailer

Have you ever wondered how perishable items move from the factory or warehouse onto our supermarket, pharmacy, or retail shelves without spoiling or going bad? It’s all part of the intricate transportation system that now stretches globally. And it couldn’t be done without reefer trailers. Whether you’re looking at new reefer trailers for sale or used reefer trailers, you’d be joining the other 500,000 reefer trailers in operation in the United States. The global refrigerated market also seems to show no signs of slowing down — indeed, the FTR Transportation Intelligence reported that in January of 2018, around 40,000 refrigerated trailers were ordered by the United States. And the market globally is expected to increase at CAGR of almost 5% between 2016 and 2022. So looking at even used reefer trailers for sale might mean hitching your wagon to a lucrative enterprise.

What is a Reefer Trailer? 

A reefer trailer is a type of refrigerated trailer that handles temperature sensitive products during the intermodal freight transport part of the products’ route. The trailer is attached to a semi-truck and is cooled through either diesel generators or cryogenic cooling. Interestingly, the reefer trailer has been around for a while — since 1925, when the ice cream industry needed a way to send their goods across the country.

A reefer trailer can handle a lot, but the maximum weight is usually around 44,000 pounds. Reefer trailers are typically between 28 and 53 feet long and no taller than 13.5 feet. Reefer trailers can also be heated, if the goods they’re carrying need to be warm. Generally speaking, these trailers can go from -20 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the need.

What Should I Look For in Used Reefer Trailers? 

Used reefer trailers can be wonderful for their lower cost, which often makes them extremely appealing to truckers. And “used” might mean it was only driven for a few months or a couple of years, so you’re not necessarily signing up for a trailer that’s been on the road for ten years.

The condition the flooring is in when you get the trailer is definitely a consideration. Because the floors are corrugated anyway, they can run the risk of damaging products even when they’re new. If the floor is too torn up, it might damage your goods and be expensive to refit.

Some states also have specific laws about how many emissions reefer trailers can have — and used reefer trailers are often older, so they might not be up to speed with the latest technology. You’ll definitely want to make sure that your trailer can run in various states and check to see what fuel consumption is like as well.

You should also absolutely test drive your reefer trailer and see how it handles on the road — have someone drive behind you to see how it operates — and do a thorough visual inspection of every part of the trailer: roof, interior, exterior, tires, doors, refuel tank, etc.

How Do I Boost My Fuel Efficiency? 

Of course, the obvious answer is to get a new model, but that’s not always the most practical or feasible option. Bear in mind that your driving habits do make a difference when it comes to how much fuel you’re using. Speeding, too much idling, and lots of accelerating and decelerating can all chip away at your fuel consumption. And making sure that you’re in the right gear can also make a big difference.

Too many accessory loads on the engine — like a manual fan switch — can also reduce fuel efficiency. Try to set your fan cooling for automatic and let the vehicle kick it into gear. Underinflated tires and bad tread can also play a role in increased fuel consumption. And don’t forget to keep aerodynamics in mind — reducing every 2% of drag can mean a 1% gain in fuel efficiency.

Reefer trailers are a marvelous link in the chain of transporting goods. If you’re looking into buying a used trailer, there are plenty of things to check for, but you’ll also likely get a great deal on the overall price of the trailer!

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