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How Long Do Shipping Containers Last?

Many people who might have a need for a shipping container find themselves asking, “how long do shipping containers last?” Shipping containers’ lifespans are determined by a number of factors, including environment, use, modifications, and the number of years spent at sea. However, proper maintenance of shipping containers can help them last even longer. Continue reading to find out the average lifespan of a shipping container and ways to improve that lifespan.

How Long Do Shipping Containers Last?

Shipping containers have an average lifespan of 25 years. This is due to a design that ensured durability while traveling at sea. The containers’ longevity remains even after manufacturers modify shipping containers to transform them into container-based structures. 

Shipping containers are made up of high-quality corten steel which allows them to last many years. However, maintenance is recommended throughout the shipping container’s lifespan.

Signs Your Shipping Container Needs Maintenance

When doors are difficult to open or close

When your doors become difficult to open or close, this is usually caused by one of two reasons. The first reason is that the doors, especially the cargo doors, may need lubrication. The second reason is that the container may have become unlevel.

When you notice rust patches on your container

Be sure to perform routine visual checks on your container. Check for any rust build-up on the exterior of the shipping container. If you see any rust, it’s imperative that you address it promptly. Despite the durability of corrugated corten steel, rust can be immensely harmful to the integrity of your container.

When you smell musty odors

If you notice any musty odors, you should check your ventilation, air conditioning system, or both. It’s a good idea to inspect your air conditioning system regularly. This will allow you to stay on top of issues before they arise, especially during weather changes. 

Proactive Shipping Container Maintenance

Below is a checklist that can help prevent the issues listed above. Perform these inspections annually to extend the lifespan of your shipping container:

  • Check the roof for dents and debris. Fill major dents with a sealant (caulk or a similar sealant) to prevent further damage.
  • Check caulking and weather stripping on doors and windows for leaks. Replace as needed.
  • Check if the container is level. Some settling of the foundation and the shipping container is completely normal. Re-level if necessary.
  • Check the paint on the exterior walls of the container. Repaint rust patches as needed.
  • Inspect and replace the A/C unit filter, if applicable. Contact the climate control system manufacturer for additional assistance if needed.

Contact the Professionals

While shipping containers are extremely durable, it’s important to keep up with routine maintenance to extend the longevity of your container. Contact the professionals at Storage on Wheels for assistance with the proper maintenance of your shipping container.

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