Maintenance is key for transportation carriers who want steady profitability and productivity. The best way to prevent and deal with breakdowns and to keep on top of maintenance is to look at the areas that are most susceptible to wear and tear, and address any issues before heading out on the road. For transportation carriers that haul refrigerated goods, there essential areas of both the tractor and refrigerated trailer unit that require maintenance.

Tractor Unit Maintenance Essentials

  1. Tires – the most common reason for downtime on the road. To prevent delays and the cost of roadside assistance, check the tire pressure and adjust per manufacturer’s directions. Always remember rot have spares with you, and confirm that the jack is in good using condition.
  2. Battery – issues may arise due to improper battery charging, dirty terminals, and deterioration of the metals in the battery unit. When servicing the vehicle, make sure the battery is properly greased to prevent wear. Some industry experts also advise to make sure the battery is recharged before heading out on long hauls, as this increases the overall battery life.
  3. Brakes – faulty brake lights, soft brake pedals, sinking pedals, pulsing brakes, and leaking brake fluid can all lead to defects in the brakes that make it impossible for a truck to brake properly, which can lead to breakdowns and devastating accidents. Check all brakes thoroughly before each trip so that any issues can be addressed prior to departing; this will save time and money!
  4. Clutch Cables – wires on the clutch cable can weaken easily due to high pressure and continual use. Once weak, they can break at any time. Check these often to ensure the wires are in good working order.
  5. Spark Plugs – all must be in good order for the engine ignition system to work at optimal performance. These should be checked every time the truck is serviced, and changed at the proper intervals as directed by the manufacturer.
  6. Alternator – battery and headlight issues can be signs that there is a problem with the alternator, especially if they persist. Be attentive to early warning signs; they can often save money and reduce risk.
  7. Distributor cap – dirt and moisture can cause the distributor cap to crack, which will in turn cause lack of ignition to spark. Regular servicing and cleaning will work to avoid this issue.

Refrigerated Trailer Unit Maintenance Essentials

  1. Discharge Pressure – if it is too high, this could be attributed to broken fan belts, defective battery, defective High Pressure Cutout Switch on the compressor, or wiring.
  2. Reefer Engine performance – ensure the fuel system to the engine and the solenoids are all in good operating order and that the fuel system to the engine is not plugged or has air in it. Check the inline fuel filter as well to make sure it is clean and operating as designed.
  3. Chutes – make sure there are no tears and that the chutes are properly attached so that air can flow through the unit.
  4. Unit Calibration – make sure the reefer unit has been calibrated per the manufacturer’s recommendation; this will ensure that the temperature on the set point is accurate and will reduce exposure to claims or additional charges.

These maintenance essentials should keep you and the refrigerated goods you haul on the road without issue. But what should you do if an issue or breakdown occurs? Apart from practicing the learned breakdown procedures related to truck, driver and public safety, if roadside assistance is required, this should be done immediately to reduce downtime.

If you have broken down on a UWT load, contact us immediately. We will need to provide an update to all parties involved and can often assist in locating mobile roadside assistance companies and other options.


The Maintenance Essentials for Transportation Carriers that Haul Refrigerated Goods was last modified: by