Whether you’re hauling flowers, food or other perishable goods, your refrigerated van is a key part of your business. Breakdowns while you’re on the road can spell disastrous consequences, from minor ones like delayed deliveries to major problems like spoilage due to a broken cold chain. To ensure that your goods stay cool throughout their journey, follow these basic preventative maintenance guidelines to keep your refrigerated truck in good condition.
1. Schedule professional inspections
Scheduling routine “checkups” for your refrigerated van is an important part of preventative maintenance. Newer vans and trucks can usually go about 100,000 miles between inspections, but if you’re driving in especially harsh conditions, you may want to schedule them closer to every 25,000 miles if possible. Professional mechanics have well-trained eyes and ears for small issues that can become critical ones if left unchecked, and play an important role in keeping your van running smoothly.
2. Conduct regular tune-ups
Another basic maintenance activity is making sure your oil is clean, and checking your oil and coolant levels. Oil should be changed about every 3000 miles to ensure optimal performance. Refrigerated vans are especially sensitive to dust, dirt and water, which can affect their ability to maintain a consistent temperature. During your tune-ups, check to make sure that no contaminants have gotten into the refrigeration unit. Keep in mind that any maintenance that requires disassembling components of the refrigeration unit should be performed by an experienced professional.
3. Perform pre-trip checks
Before each trip, perform a quick check of your refrigerated van to ensure that everything is running smoothly. A loaded van out on the road is much more expensive and challenging to repair than an empty one in the garage, so you’ll save time and money by doing an inspection before you load your cargo into the vehicle.
Before each trip, you should:
Make sure the inside of the container is clean
Visually examine the walls or “skin” of the insulated area for cracks
Check the seal and locks on the door
Check the temperature and fresh air settings
Inspect the drains
Check oil and coolant levels
4. Watch for warning signs
Experienced refrigerated van operators know that keeping a watchful eye and ear out for any changes to their vehicles is the best first line of defense against breakdowns. During regular use of your refrigerated van, note any changes or deviations from its regular performance. If the refrigeration unit takes longer than usual cool down, if it is making unusual noises or if you notice any other unusual behaviors, be sure to schedule a visit to your mechanic as soon as possible.
Regular maintenance for a better ROI
Keeping your vehicle in great condition is critical, as failing to keep a refrigerated van in top shape can impact its ability to maintain the necessary, precise temperature control. By purchasing a high-quality refrigerated van and maintaining it regularly, you can extend the lifespan of your delivery vehicle and enjoy a better return on your investment in the long run.