Transporting and hauling is the backbone of the United States freight shipping system. In 2019 alone, the trucking industry hauled 11.84 billion tons of goods around the country. This accounted for 72.5 percent of all shipped freight.
Every day, people around the country rely on semi trucks and trailers of all styles to deliver essential goods. No matter the weather conditions, power outages, or other obstacles, semi trailers need to be on the road.
The trucking industry requires a large amount of logistics coordination. Truck drivers need to meet their delivery windows to move onto the next haul and provide goods to the next company. They also sometimes need to be dispatched with very quick turnaround times to meet the fulfillment demands of their clients. That means there is no time for truck or trailer breakdowns.
Preventative maintenance of your reefer and auxiliary power unit (APU) is vital to ensuring you can always be on the road when needed.
Top 2 Areas To Maintain On Your Truck & Trailer
According to NAFTA, trucks are responsible for three quarters of all food transportation in the US. With this in mind it’s important to note that your truck and trailer should be regularly serviced to make sure they’re working correctly and that there are no breakdowns. Here are two major areas to examine each time you’re about to get on the road:
Refrigerated trailers are necessary to ship many products across states, frozen food from coast to coast, and produce to local clients. They need to be functioning correctly to keep food from spoiling, among other things. When working with reefer trailers, it’s important to know which parts of the reefer could possibly break down. Here are five different areas to consider:
Leaks from faulty seals – Refrigerated trailers require many different fluids and moving parts to function correctly, there are more opportunities for these seals to fail. The most common is the engine oil or coolant leak and the rear trailer seal due to broken hinges or damaged doors.
Rips and tears – Aggressive wear on belts and hoses can force other parts of the engine to overcompensate. This results in inefficient cooling and product spoiling.
Condenser or evaporator problems – A vital component of the refrigeration unit, can have damaged coils or missing bolts which will affect the cooling ability of the trailer. Both the condenser and evaporator need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Either one of them being dirty reduces cooling and can cause breakdowns.
Sensor malfunctions – Damaged sensors will provide inaccurate temperature information, potentially not alerting the driver to an important issue. The electric harness needs to be inspected and corrosion needs to be removed to ensure a proper operation refrigeration unit or APU.
Blocked bulkheads – By restricting air flow with debris or piled boxes, the trailer will end up freezing the products at the head of the trailer while not allowing the cool air to reach the tail. They also add to defrosts and fuel costs will increase.
Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)
The APU is important for reducing wear and tear on your truck’s engine. This supplemental power source is responsible for reducing engine idle time, providing heating and cooling, and improving fuel efficiency. Typically it is mounted outside of the main engine, either behind the sleeper cab or under the wheel well. This means it may be exposed to the outdoor elements. Since reefer trucks spend so much time on the road, APUs also suffer from wear and tear issues. The main problems with an APU can be traced back to one or more of the following:
- Constant vibration
- Corrosive road sprays
- Extreme temperature fluctuations
- Unexpected impact
Truck downtime can be reduced by ensuring proper APU maintenance is conducted. Drivers should be inspecting the APU regularly. Any cracks, missing bolts, or visible damage should be addressed as soon as possible.
It can be challenging to keep up with an additional maintenance schedule, especially if it does not align with other maintenance schedules of the truck. However, doing so will reduce the amount of downtime if you experience an APU breakdown.
Stay On the Road With Regular Reefer & APU Maintenance
If you’re located in the greater Midwest United States and you need to perform reefer or APU maintenance, the experts at Blaine Brothers have you covered. With 40 years of experience and 5 locations conveniently located around the Midwest, you can trust our reefer and APU professionals with any repair, service, or new trailer needs.