CRTS Insights

Making Trailer Repairs The Right Way Benefits Your Bottom Line

Posted by David Shepherd on Sep 24, 2019 5:07:41 PM

If one of your refrigerated trailers is involved in an accident and the panels sustain substantial damage, you could be looking at a major repair bill. Your insurance adjuster and your finance officer may sign off on the cheapest estimate, but a cheap estimate may damage your business and set you up for more repair work in the future. 

Most adjusters and finance officers won’t understand the differences behind the costs. Their job is to protect their bottom line. At CRTS, we believe protecting your bottom line means making a wise investment into your panel repairs. That may mean spending a little more up front. Here’s why CRTS panel repair estimates may be higher than others—and why that’s good for your business.

repairing reefer trailer insulation

The Right Fix the First Time

Repairing a damaged panel on a reefer trailer is more involved than you might imagine. When you pull the panel off, foam insulation comes off with it. It’s critical to properly replace both the panel and the insulation, or you won’t get a good seal and your trailer’s R value will drop.

To ensure your refrigerated trailer maintains its peak performance, CRTS service personnel takes pains to replace damaged panels the right way. Here’s our process:

  1. Pull the liner back
  2. Dig out the foam
  3. Replace the panel, using top quality buck rivets
  4. Add wood fillers for reinforcement
  5. Spray replacement foam insulation
  6. Glue the liner back

It’s important to respray the foam insulation to ensure that the trailer is properly insulated. Your trailer keeps its R value and your loads won’t get suffer heat gain. Unfortunately, not every repair shop takes the same approach.


Cheaper Isn’t Better

To lower costs and save time, some repair shops use shortcuts. They pull the panel off of the outside, stuff the old foam insulation back in, and replace the panel with shaved-head rivets or monobolts. 

The difference may seem small, but reusing insulation creates void spots, allowing cold air to escape and warm air to seep into the reefer trailer.

Using shaved-head rivets causes problems, as well. They’re popular with some repair shops, because they’re quicker and cheaper—you can shoot them into the panel with a gun—but they don’t hold up. In fact, you can actually see a ring around the rivet. Before long, those panels will start moving and you’ll be losing cold air like a leaky faucet. 

Buck rivets securely keep your panels in place and they’ll hold your trailer together

get a service estimate

What’s the Big Deal?

Foaming WallsCheap panel repairs impact your bottom line in several ways:

  • Insulation voids reduce your R value. To maintain the temperature on your load, your reefer unit will have to run longer. Your unit will keep running to try to keep up with the leaking cold air, adding costs to your fuel and wear and tear to your unit.

  • Shaved-head riveting wears out. As a result, you’ll need to replace the panel again. If it’s over a critical area like the landing gear or running gear, it will actually wallow the holes out and pull through. Those repairs add up quickly.

  • Your resale value drops. When you trade in the trailer, the appraiser will see that shortcuts were taken. It decreases the trailer’s value, and many dealers (including CRTS) won’t take trailers that have been improperly repaired. 

Cheap repairs end up hurting your bottom line in the long run. Before you take your refrigerated trailer to any repair shop, make sure you know how they will replace the panels. You may also need to educate your insurance adjuster on the implications of a cheap repair.


Trust CRTS with Your Repairs

CRTS is committed to doing every repair the right way. We have no tolerance for jobs that get done halfway. The technicians in our shop are the best of the best, and they take pride in their work. Our shop foreman checks each job throughout the repair process and he inspects the work when it’s completed. You can be sure that your trailer repair has been done right. 

Need a trailer repair?

Contact Our Service Department

Behind You Since 1971


For 50 years, CRTS, Inc. has been a trusted partner to hundreds of transportation firms. We accomplished this by putting our customers first, providing unequaled service, and offering the best semi-trailer products available. 

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