As with any vehicle, over time your refrigerated van will become less efficient and there’ll come a time when you’ll need to seriously consider replacing your van with a newer model to ensure standards are kept up to code. There are many things to look out for as your refrigerated vehicle gets older, and here at BHRV, our team of industry experts have put together this guide to help you.
The Problems of a Poorly Performing Refrigerated Van
A refrigerated van’s performance can be impacted in a variety of ways, from the breaking down of the refrigeration unit, to damage causing a loss of insulation that affects the internal temperatures. These issues can lead to food that is being transported to spoil or pharmaceutical supplies, such as vaccines, to be unusable. These issues can be costly for a business, who have taken the time to procure the product, arrange transportation, and expect some form of return from the sale and distribution of goods.
It’s important to regularly check your refrigerated vehicle for faults or damage. Catching something early could mean the difference between paying the cost of a repair or forking out for an all out replacement. While your refrigerated vehicle will eventually need to be replaced, you can prolong its lifespan by keeping up with maintenance that you can have done professionally or by yourself. Some basic maintenance tips include:
Regularly Clean your Refrigerated Vehicle
Not only is it important to keep your vehicle clean and tidy for goods, but cross contamination is a real thing that could impact the quality of food and pharmaceutical stock you’re transporting. It’s particularly important when raw meat or with common allergens to prevent the stock from becoming unusable. Aside from this, regularly cleaning your refrigerated vehicle allows you to check for damage or leakages that could lead to issues further down the line.
Arrange Regular Inspections
An expert mechanic should regularly check your vehicle to ensure that the refrigeration unit is functioning as it should be, but also that the rest of your van is working properly. This means inspecting the engine, brakes, clutch, and any electrical components required to keep your refrigerated vehicle up and running. It’s recommended that an inspection should take place every 25,000 miles, however newer refrigerated vehicles may be able to run for over 100,000 miles before they need an inspection. Any problems found in these inspections can help to inform you about whether a repair or replacement is necessary.
Perform Routine Tune-Ups
Checking oil and coolant levels and making sure your oil is clean is one of the most basic things you can do for your vehicle, as well as making sure your oil is regularly changed every 3,000 miles. Tuning-up a refrigerated vehicle differs slightly in that they are especially sensitive to build ups of dust, water, and dirt, which can negatively impact their performance in maintaining a consistent temperature in the refrigerated area. This is why when performing a tune-up on your refrigerated van, you should be especially aware when looking out for contaminants that could have gotten into the refrigeration unit, be it summer or winter, maintaining your vehicle is the best way to prolong its lifespan. Letting water, dust, or dirt sit in the unit can lead to future breakdowns that mean a replacement vehicle is needed.
How Can I Tell My Refrigerated Van Needs Replacing?
If you’ve followed all the essential maintenance steps we have outlined above and still find that your vehicle is experiencing issues, it may be time to consider a replacement, but you can decide whether you want to invest in a new or used refrigerated van. Unlike regular vehicles that you can theoretically use until they give up, a refrigerated vehicle needs to be kept in top condition to make sure the goods you’re transporting arrive at their destination in accordance with the cold chain put forward by the manufacturer of the food, pharmaceuticals, or other chilled products you’re moving. Some conversions may be performed to prolong lifespan, but common signs your refrigerated van needs replacing includes:
External Damage: Though the refrigeration unit of your vehicle has quite a dense shell, it’s still possible for external damage (gashes, cracks, deep scratches) to break through to the refrigerated space, which causes a change in temperature that impacts the quality of goods.
Irreparable Faults: One of the most frustrating parts of owning a vehicle is the fact that faults over time are inevitable, and the same applies to refrigerated vehicles. If your vehicle develops a fault that can’t be repaired by a mechanic, or the cost to repair is more than the cost of replacement, the latter is usually the recommended option.
Trouble Maintaining Temperature: The most important part of a refrigerated vehicle is the cool temperatures they keep. If your refrigerated vehicle is having trouble maintaining its temperature in the storage unit, a replacement is highly recommended, especially if the issue stems from external damage or an irreparable fault.
Still not sure? Let us help!
Our team at BHRV are industry experts with years of experience providing new and used refrigerated vans and can offer advice and guidance on replacing your existing vehicle. If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!