How Do Refrigerated Trucks Actually Work?

Keeping precious goods cold has been a challenge for many a lifetime. Often, once a product is cooled or frozen to the desired temperature, it must stay at that temperature. It’s a wonder anything ever got delivered cold in the early days of chilled delivery. Ice melts, and Styrofoam can only keep things cold inside for so long.

The refrigerated truck has been an industry game-changer for obvious reasons. Its ability to be a refrigerator renders it the perfect fit for just about anyone looking to deliver products that are temperature-dependent.

However, there are a couple of things you will want to know before getting one of these trailblazers. Let’s get some cold facts about refrigerated trucks and vans and how to choose the right one for your application.

First off, let’s have a look at a simplified explanation of the technical aspects of a refrigerated truck:

In a refrigerated truck, insulating a compartment and then sealing it creates the self-contained atmosphere. The insulation is made from high-density polymer foam, which is quite like polystyrene, although it’s constructed from a higher density and more durable polymer than you’d find in typical polystyrene insulation. The insulation, combined with a seal around the door, creates an atmosphere that is heat-tight. Then all you need to do is remove any heat that remains inside, and any heat that comes in when the door is opened. This is accomplished using a refrigeration system with a reasonably simple operating method. It has three different mechanisms all working together: a condenser, a compressor, and an evaporator.

The condenser consists of a twisted metal piece of pipe, filled with coolant fluid. The latest in this fluid has been developed to be exceptionally efficient at absorbing heat. As the coolant fluid sucks up the heat and becomes hot, it turns into a gas.


Once the fluid has transferred into a gaseous state, it is taken into the condenser. This is a mechanism that tightly compresses the gas down, placing it under extreme pressure and forcing all of the molecules together. In this condition, the gas is in a similar state to what you’d find in a household aerosol. Once the gas has been condensed and is being held at high pressure, it’s placed into the evaporator. This machine then takes air from the exterior atmosphere and pushes it through the high-pressure coolant gas. This process cools down the coolant fluid, simultaneously converting it back into a gas and expelling the heat energy out into the atmosphere. The gas is then reintroduced into the condenser for the process to begin again. As this process is continually repeated, the atmosphere inside the refrigerated truck becomes gradually colder and colder.

Next up, How Much Space Do You Need?

Not all fridges and freezers are the same. While some can store 3 full-sized horses, others just hold a popsicle and six-pack. The same is essentially true when it comes to reefer trucks. Whatever your needs and limitations, there is a temperature-controlled vehicle made to suit your needs.

Having enough room to store frozen goods is necessary for both growing businesses and those making wholesale deliveries. However, too much room can prove to be less efficient and more work-intensive in certain locations, like narrow city streets or low-ceilinged parking garages. Operating environment and storage needs are important things to consider when choosing the right rig for you.

Making Your Budget Work for You

One possible issue you may run into when finding a refrigerated truck or van is the price. However, there are affordable options out there:

Rather than buying a pre-fab, consider a more customized truck that fits your specific needs of size and space. There are tons of fleet vehicles available on lease at places like Ice On The Road in Miami that are great for your price range.

You also might consider outfitting a vehicle for a degree of refrigeration. If you have a box truck or van in mind that you would like to use for your business, try to find out how much it would cost to add a fridge system to it. It may turn out to be a cheaper and more efficient option than buying a rig overly excessive for your needs.


The Final Word in Keeping It Cool

From cab-over box trucks to flat-bed-truck style conversions, there’s a body-style that will fit both your storage needs and size limitations. Depending on how specialized your application, there is always the option to custom outfit a unit specific to your delivery needs. Whether you specialize in flowers or gelato, you’re sure to find a unit that suits your needs if you know where to look. We hope that this article will help prepare you for choosing the right truck for your needs. Let us know in the comments how you get on!

How Do Refrigerated Trucks Actually Work?

One thought on “How Do Refrigerated Trucks Actually Work?

  • 06/06/2022 at 07:58

    I like that you mentioned how refrigerated trucks are a perfect fit for any temperature-dependent delivery. I saw a refrigerated truck on the road today and I was impressed with its size. Repairing them must be quite a challenge but I heard there are reefer repair services for such needs.


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