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Shipping container maintenance tips for winter

Shipping container that needs maintaining due to winter weather

Shipping containers can withstand tough conditions for a very long time. It’s one of their main advantages. After all, they’re designed to sail the seas, travel on lorries and are held at seaports for many, many months. That being said, anything that is continuously exposed to the elements – particularly during the winter – will require maintenance; and containers are no exception.

Yes, they’re made from strong corten steel and specially treated to prevent corrosion. But they’re still highly susceptible to rust. And, to ensure their longevity, you must look after them correctly. Here we suggest a few ‘container care’ tips to help keep yours in top condition.


5 tips to maintain your shipping container

1. Choose a flat surface

This is one of the easiest things you can do to care for your container. Simply keep it on a flat surface. Not only will this ensure the structure is stable, it also reduces the likelihood of water gathering either on or underneath the structure – which could potentially lead to rust.

To ensure it is completely level, one idea is to rest the container on top of paving slabs or railway sleepers. This will raise it several inches off the ground and help to prevent a build-up of moisture.


2. Repair any dents

Dents are common in shipping containers – particularly if they’ve been loaded and unloaded regularly or stacked on top of each other. But they can be problematic. If the dent is located on the roof of the structure, rainwater can easily accumulate, leading to corrosion, chipped paint and rust.

Therefore, be sure to regularly inspect your shipping container. And if you do notice any depressions or indentations, repair them as soon as possible and treat the area with a rustproof paint.


3. Keep an eye on the roof

Shipping containers are designed to bear weight on their corners. The middle of the roof, in comparison, cannot carry much of the burden – and it’s important to check this area frequently during the winter months. Snow and rain can both place undue pressure on this structural ‘weak point’. And if you notice an accumulation of either on your container, every effort should be made to remove it.


WS-40 used to maintain a shipping container


4. Look after the door hinges

To ensure they stay in top working order, maintaining your container’s door hinges is crucial. This is especially true in the winter, when poor weather conditions lead to a build-up of dirt and grime.

Start by giving the hinges a thorough clean. Wipe away any grit or rust with a commercial-grade cleaner. Then, to ensure they operate smoothly, lubricate both the door hinges and locking bars with a lubricating spray (such as WD-40). It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the rubber gasket seals. If these start to appear worn or cracked, be sure to replace them as soon as possible.


5. Consider the container’s plumbing

If your shipping container has been modified – and features any sort of plumbing – be sure to take this into consideration when temperatures start to fall. Cold weather can sometimes cause pipes to freeze and burst. Therefore, it may be worth opening drain lines or leaving a tap to drip very slightly.

Alternatively, you may wish to maintain the temperature inside your container by installing an air-conditioning or heating system or simply by plugging a portable heater into your power supply.


Shipping container maintenance


Shipping container maintenance and repairs at Gap

Looking after your shipping container is essential. By showing it a little TLC and following our shipping container maintenance tips, it’s possible to keep your structure in optimum condition (even during the winter) and maximise its lifespan. And if any repairs are necessary, we’re here to help at Gap Containers.

From our base in the North West, we offer a range of excellent shipping container repair and maintenance services – including full steam cleaning, container painting, part replacements and more. Not to mention, we’re always happy to offer our expert guidance in this area. If you have any questions or would like further tips on container care and maintenance, you’re welcome to get in touch at any time. Either give us a call on 0870 240 9405 or send an email to and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


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