New reefer vs used, pros and cons revisited.

Discussion in 'Refrigerated Trucking Forum' started by TallJoe, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. TallJoe

    TallJoe Road Train Member

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    What are your thoughts on buying a brand new reefer as opposed to a used one 3-5 year old? Is the investment worthy? I'd rather handle bigger payments vs all the possible break downs and TK/Carrier service visits. I used to haul older/used reefers and it was a nightmare. Not only to find service to take you in but also all the produce ready to go bad. With older reefers, the norm was for the temp recorders to bounce off the floor to avoid claims...I could not stand it - going to a receiver and watching them try to read the ribbon and then looking at me.
    It is forgivable that a truck can have a break down but no one forgives a reefer with berries to warm up to 100F.
    New reefer is about 70K....
     
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  3. Scooter Jones

    Scooter Jones Road Train Member

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    Are you really that ready to take the plunge into reefer work? I mean to the degree you're ready to fork down that much money (used or new) on a trailer?

    If you're planning on testing the waters, you could always do a short term rent program for say one quarter (3 mos) and then decide?
     
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  4. STexan

    STexan Road Train Member

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    Reefers lose their thermal R value slowly over time [and become heavier] as the insulation becomes more "saturated" with moisture. For frozen and especially ice cream loads, this could be problem especially for smaller units in summer. Chilled and produce loads should not be a problem.

    However the cost of new is prohibitive if you're not 100% committed to the long haul in the reefer side.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
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  5. TallJoe

    TallJoe Road Train Member

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    Playing with the idea. I am not sure if I do it this year yet. I wanted to start with reefer from the very get go. The insurance would have been too high at the start. I think about having both van and reefer. It thought about the rent from Compass but it is darn expensive.... maybe I should try it first though. It think there is a good market out of Chicago.
     
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  6. Scooter Jones

    Scooter Jones Road Train Member

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    Yeah, I'd be darned sure that's what I was going to do before I took that plunge. Unless you just have so much money laying around you need to shelter it ;-)
     
  7. 201

    201 Road Train Member

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    Be a cold day Hades before I spent that kind of money on a reefer.( except for maybe a dedicated account) I've pulled lots of older reefers, and they are fine. It's not like a truck, where there's a gazillion things that can go wrong. In a jam, there's lot's of reefer repair outfits, and honestly, I don't remember having a problem, aside from some idiot that ran it out of fuel. There's got to be a ton of used reefers out there. Reefer sucks.
     
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  8. BoostedTeg

    BoostedTeg Road Train Member

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    You can get a new utility 3000R owner operator spec for $63k in Utah. If you can find a low hour unit that’s a couple years old I’d go that route.
     
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  9. TallJoe

    TallJoe Road Train Member

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    I also think it might be best to get used one but still new. But I don't want it to be lottery though. I've read some good threads already what to check and test. I was thinking that If I am to own it and run it myself (take care of it), I might as well get it new. But I am sure it is right to say that 2-3 year old reefer has still a lot of value in it compared to a new one for much smaller price... about 40 - 50K. I was hoping to find a thread where some owner ops would make an argument that a new reefer is a better money spent, I did not find any yet, so it seems that it makes little sense to get a brand new then.
     
  10. Rocknroller4

    Rocknroller4 Road Train Member

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    I'd leave the reefer work to the rookies (like myself). lol.
     
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  11. RedForeman

    RedForeman Momentum Conservationist

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    I went through this myself about 2 yrs ago.

    The thermal efficiency of the insulation in a reefer trailer really starts falling (and water saturation rising) at around 7 yrs old.

    New liner materials, laminated metal versus kemlite, came out about 2012 or so. Fairly standard issue around 2015. Way more durable and better protection against moisture penetration.

    Chassis wear (brake components, etc) really doesn't become an issue at all until after about 4-5 yrs. Not like the axles and doors are falling off or anything. Bushings get worn, things get a little less tight, and the trailer takes more effort to pull down the road and wears out tires a little faster.

    Reefer units will usually go to 10k hrs without much repair needed. Over 15k and you're gonna be spending some money keeping it going.

    On a new trailer, a stock unit will take 0-60 days to deliver. I ordered top of the line TK units and that was the long timeline: 2-3 week to get the reefer unit and a few more days to get worked into the install queue at the dealer.

    Optionally you can custom spec any way you want. Don't know about the other manufacturers, but Great Dane is about 5-6 months on a special order. Sometimes you can short cut that if the salesman already has a stock order in process and the options you want aren't already passed on the assembly line.

    When you're considering cost, don't forget fuel. I went from a 2002 and a 2006 Great Dane to a pair of 2017. Not at once, to be fair. About a year apart. One is early production and one was nearly a leftover with 2018's coming soon. The old trailers had no aerodynamic add ons, the new ones have skirts and tails.

    The trucks pulling those trailers improved about 0.7 mpg on average. The improvement is greater on level terrain/light loads and not so much when heavy and climbing hills. A combination of new not worn out chassis rolling easier, auto tire inflation (I did use cats eyes on my old trailers, so duals were balanced but not constant pressure), and the aero add ons.

    The new trailers burn about 30-50% less reefer fuel. For example running a full -10ºF load in the summer, my old units would burn a 50 gal tank in just under 48 hours. The new trailers will go three days and then some. Combination of the fresh, efficient insulation and more efficient fuel system and programming on the reefer unit.

    When I added up the reduced fuel usage, in my operation I'm putting between $300-600 a month back on the bottom line depending on the season.

    I'm keeping these for 5 years and trading for new ones. The old ones will be worth enough to cover just under half the cost of their replacements. So the next 5 years will be even better on the P&L.

    All that said, my favorite feature on the new trailers is the advanced bar light. I can see the box temp and fuel level in my mirror.

    As if you needed more to think about LOL.
     
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