How to Choose a Used Reefer Trailer

There are a half a million refrigerated trailers on U.S. roads today. And with the food industry continuing to grow, there’s room for more. And with so many options, it’s easier than ever to invest in one: online retailers have driven competition, making even brand new reefer trailers within reach for dedicated truckers. But that competition has had the same impact on used reefer trailers as it has on new ones. If you’re in the market to buy a reefer trailer, it’s definitely worth it to look into buying used. Read on for an overview on why you should choose a used reefer trailer.

New vs Used

There are certainly benefits to purchasing a brand new, unused and unowned version of most any large-ticket items. They will be in optimal condition, remain longer under a manufacturer’s warranty, and in many cases have better curb appeal and more current features. But it can be a significant expense that may not be worth those benefits, especially with so many high-quality used reefer trailers available. The only difference you can be certain of between a new and a used reefer is the initial price.

A Bit About Reefer Trailers

You likely already know that there are differences among trucks used for transporting and delivering food goods. But many still equate reefer trailers with dry vans and other kinds of delivery trucks. For convenience, durability, and function, reefer trailers and these trucks are about the same. The difference is that reefer trailers are refrigerated, built to carry perishable foods and other goods at a specific temperature. As you are likely to choose a used reefer, it’s worth noting that used reefer trailers tend to circulate in better overall condition than dry vans. Here’s why:

Registered Hours Vs. Manufacturing Date

It’s common for newer reefer trailers to have registered more operation hours than a similar one just a few years older or more. Shrewd buyers will be aware of this. Reefer trailers average about 3,500 hours per year — so it’s easy to tell if you’ve found a pre-owned reefer that has been gently used, regardless of its age. With diligent searching, you can choose a used reefer that is a solid investment now and a solid investment down the road.

Market-Leading Makes

There are a number of reefer trailer manufacturers, and most are very much worth exploring. But two makes, in particular, are among the most popular and most frequently purchased: Thermo King and Carrier, and they’ve earned their market dominance. With a few minor exceptions — Thermo King refrigeration units have smaller and more user-friendly compressors, while a Carrier reefer exceeds in electronics — the two are indistinguishable in durability and functionality and if you choose a used reefer made by either Thermo King or Carrier, you will likely have a reliable truck for many years.

How To Find a Used Reefer

The old system of visiting a number of dealerships, talking with a number of salesmen, and learning about a few different used trailer refrigeration units is still effective, and still not convenient. For truckers trying to choose a used reefer, it’s now possible to visit a dealer online, sort through a range of trucks, compare the differences among them, access their technical specifications, contact sales representatives, make offers, and even get pre-qualified for a down payment, term, and payment instantly.

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