5 Steps for Optimizing Refrigerated Trailer Performance
It is no secret that well-optimized reefers have rising profit margins. It costs more to run a refrigerated trailer, and customers pay more for reefer transport. If you can figure out the formula to optimize reefer performance and minimize your cost, you too can increase your profit margins! Read on for our 5 helpful steps!
1. Use Solar Panels
While a refrigerated trailer uses more energy, the use of solar panels can help offset that cost and optimize your performance. At K&J Trucking, we worked with ThermoKing to invest in solar panels for our reefers that have many benefits including increased battery life and fuel savings! All our drivers have access to these panels for their tractor trailers if they are interested.
2. Know When To Use Cycle Sentry
Cycle sentry is a setting on the reefer trailer that helps save costs by only kicking on the unit when the temperature gets 5 degrees above the set point. Then when the temp is .5 to 1 degree below the set point it shuts the unit off. This leads to greater temperature variations than running on continuous, but it can also save you money.
Each product you haul and company you work with will have different requirements. So know if the product you're hauling allows for cycle sentry. Read your bills: if it doesn't say the product has to be run on continuous, you are usually safe to use cycle sentry. If you're still unsure, you can always check with dispatch!
3. Make Sure Your Tires Are Inflated Properly
Optimal inflation in your tires is important. Tires that are under-inflated can lead to less responsive steering and handling, increased braking distances, and accelerated tire tread wear. K&J Trucking offers both our company drivers and owner operators an auto inflate system. This system automatically keeps your tires at optimal inflation and alerts you if there is a leak. The ability for continuous re-inflation allows drivers time to get into a shop to repair the tire rather than being stuck on the side of the road.
If you don't have an auto-inflation system, make sure your tires stay in the optimal range by checking them before you get back on the road. A little extra time spent with your tires can save you money in the long run.
4. Follow California's Mandates... Even If You Aren't Required To
The state of California mandates any reefer trailer entering the state to have EPA SmartWay technology. These SmarWay-certified trucks use machinery such as fairings, tail wings, and/or side skirts to increase fuel economy 4-5% through use of aerodynamics. And while they are only required in California, these requirements could help optimize your reefer trailer anywhere!
5. Watch Those Doors!
In a refrigerated trailer, cold air is released by the air chute at the rear of the truck and the flows forward before getting sucked into the unit again in the front of the truck. When you are in a dock and open your reefer, the refrigerated air is blown out of your truck and into the warehouse. While we know truckers are friendly people, giving customers free refrigeration is a bit too nice. Turning your reefer unit off when its doors are open or you're unloading is an easy way to help optimize your performance.
Although driving a refrigerated trailer is slightly different than your normal rig, we can help you learn. If you want to start a conversation with us about refrigerated trucking or how you might be a good fit for our company, click below!