Brakes and Other Options for Reefer Trailers

Welcome to our series on Standard Trailer Options and Upgrades to consider when spec’ing your next reefer trailer. Today’s topic is Tire Size, Wheel Type, Suspension & Brake Options for Standard Reefer Trailers.

Read: How to Buy the Best Reefer Trailer

Wheel Options:

  • Powder-coated White steel (Most common)
  • Aluminum: $1,500 upgrade
    1. Clean buff.
    2. Polished
    3. Dura bright – has a clear coat finish

Tire Sizes:

  • Standard: Low Pro 22.50″
  • Upgrade: 11R 22.5″
  • Low Pro: 24.50″ and 11R 24.5″
  • Wide base tires: 14”


  • Tandem and Spread Axle configurations.
    • Spread axles commonly come with a 10’ 1” spread.
    • Increases weight by 379LBS.
    • Increases cost by approx. $3,000.
  • Hendrickson, Ultraa-K
    • Most common model.
    • Includes a dampening system through the airbags, eliminating shocks.
    • Heavy Duty options include HK-ANTs. Rated for heavy-duty applications. HK-ANT 46, HK-ANT 50, and Tri Axles are available.

Front Axle Lift Kit

  • A front axle lift kit is designed for lightweight trailers with back-hauls of under 18000 lbs. When the trailer is less than 18,000 lbs, the system automatically raises the front axle off the ground, saving wear and tear.
  • Lifts front axle approx. 4 1/5” off the ground, saving wear on tires & brakes, and you don’t get charged tolls if they’re in the upward position.
  • Sensors: airbag pressure sensors will automatically lift when over 18,0000 LBS and lower when below 18,000 LBS.
    • Adds 85 lbs.
    • Cost: approx. $2,800 (* prices subject to change).
    • Saves wear and tear on the tires and braking system.
    • Saves toll costs on bridges and roads (paying for only four axles vs. five axles).

Brakes and Drums:

  • Standard. 16-7/8 x 8”.
  • Mountain brakes. 16-7/8 x 10”.
  • Disc brakes. Will stop 30% quicker than standard drum brakes.
  • Standard
  • Centri-fuse: saves 62 lbs.
  • Lightweight Steel hubs: saves 56 lbs.


Read more in this series, How to Buy the Best Reefer Trailer.
Options and Upgrades to a Standard Reefer Trailer.
Multi-Temp Design Strategies and Perspectives for Single Temp Operators.