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The transportation industry today never has time to take a breather. There is always another load to be moved. This obviously causes stress on not only drivers, but their equipment as well. In the 1990’s, the average life expectancy of a refrigerated trailer was 15 years. Today, in 2019, it’s shortened to 12 years. The loss of life in your dearly beloved reefer is likely due to two major issues: overuse and decreased manufacturing quality. With such a high demand for new trailers, brands have been forced to expedite their manufacturing speed. This comes at a cost, as some defects may be missed.


To combat the loss in trailer life expectancy, it’s important to stay vigilant in the maintenance of your trailers. Whether you’ve got one trailer or 500, maintaining your trailer is always more affordable than paying for costly repairs or a new trailer. Here are our best tips to keep your trailer working smoothly.


Repair Punctures to Trailers Immediately

Moisture in refrigerated trailers can be lethal in the long term. If you’ve got a rip or tear on the outer or inner skins of a reefer, moisture can seep into the walls or floor and degrade the insulation. This, over time, will cause your unit to have to work harder to keep the trailer cool, causing it to consume more fuel and can easily snowball into larger issues with your unit and a hefty repair bill.


Doors, Doors, Doors!

It’s no secret that the doors are the prime suspect when looking for air and water leaks. Be sure to check rear doors for damage or warping on panels, frames, and hinges. Check compression seals for damage — repair or replace them if you see any issues. Perform regular maintenance to the seals around vents.


General Tips for All Trailer Types:

  • Check tire pressure before and after every trip
    • Ensure that all tires are inflated to the same pressure as specified by your trailer manufacturer.
  • Check your springs
    • Visually inspect suspensions looking for signs of irregular wear, tears or heat cracks on the air springs
  • Lube
    • Be sure not to mix calcium based lubes with lithium complex based lubes.
  • Take time for brakes
    • Inspect your drums during every wheel-end service and be sure that your brakes are adjusted correctly.
  • Watch your wires
    • Keep a close eye on all of your wiring. If any wires are exposed, harsh road salts can and will corrode them down and create an inoperable lamp or other issue.
  • Is everything secure?
    • Be sure that all tiedowns, straps, chains, ratchets, and winches are operable and not damaged or torn in any way. A broken strap will send your cargo flying and can damage your trailer.
  • Stay on a strict schedule
    • Inspect your tires, lights, breakaway switch, breakaway battery, and brakes before and after every single trip. But don’t forget to inspect things like lug nuts, wheels, hub and drum assemblies, wheel bearings, seals, brake assemblies, springs and suspension every 6,000 miles.
  • Better safe than sorry
    • Finally, never take a chance on anything you find. Even if it seems that the problem can be put off for a few weeks or months, research has shown that it’s much less expensive to fix minor issues before they snowball into larger problems. Your wallet and your trailer’s resale value will both thank you.


With proper maintenance, a watchful eye, and a little TLC, your flatbed, reefer, dry van, end dump, tanker, or any other trailer will last you much longer than the average lifespan of a trailer today. Be sure to follow all of these tips and stay vigilant!


If you need a trailer repositioned or your trailer pools balanced, Oneway Trailers is here to help. Oneway Trailers is the industry leader in trailer moves and utilizes a network of thousands of thoroughly vetted carriers to transport trailers all across North America. We offer 24 hour customer service to tend to trailer owner’s and carrier’s needs and it’s always FREE to sign up!