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Tips for reefer unit maintenance in the winter

Managing Editor of Fleet Equipment Magazine

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Reefers equipped with transport refrigeration units (TRU) come with their own winter maintenance checklist. In addition to those mentioned above, here are a few reefer- and TRU-specific tips.

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“It’s essential to get units checked out before the cold sets in to ensure that the system is operating at full capacity,” recommend Scott Koch and Freddy Muñoz, Thermo King district service managers. “Have the system checked for a proper refrigerant charge. It requires a lot more refrigerant to create heat. Doing a refrigerant level check is one of the most straightforward tests to ensure units can produce the heat necessary to keep the product from freezing.”

Koch and Muñoz named batteries, starters and alternators as some of the components that are affected by the temperature and, in batteries’ case, by parasitic loads that tend to accumulate in the winter in long-haul applications as the reefer unit may not start as often to maintain temperature. 

Winter fuel is another area of note, according to Koch and Muñoz. “As trailers move across the country, some can get caught coming up to the northern states from the south into extremely cold weather,” they say. “Without the correct blend of fuel, drivers often find themselves with gelled fuel and a reefer that won’t start.”

For more on how to keep your trailers in the best possible shape in the winter, read our full story here.

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