Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Refrigerated Truck or Van

By November 18, 2019Buying / Selling, Vans
refrigerated truck

A refrigerated truck or van is a commercial vehicle that is used to transport perishable and temperature-sensitive goods like meat, vegetables, flowers and other foods. Its capability to control the temperature of its cargo compartment preserves the cargo and protects it from deterioration.

If your business requires you to move temperature-sensitive products on a regular basis, you should consider buying a refrigerated vehicle rather than renting them. But before you go to a refrigerated trucks and vans dealer or buy used refrigerated food trucks for sale, there are a lot of things you should know about this particular type of vehicle.

1. Cost – Refrigerated Trucks are Expensive to Operate and Maintain

Refrigerated trucks are more complex than your average box truck. They also consume more fuel than conventional dry cargo box trucks. Moreover, you need to spend more in performing diligent maintenance to delay corrosion and degradation of their insulated cargo box.

2. Extra Attention – Refrigerated Trucks need to be monitored during Operation

It’s a given that refrigerated trucks and vans need consistent, proper maintenance – but there’s more to it than that. They also require monitoring during loading and unloading of cargo. You need to record the air and cargo temperature to prevent the goods from getting damaged. Furthermore, to prevent unpleasant odors and premature damage to the truck, thorough cleaning is a must after each unloading operation especially if you’re hauling food.

3. Cargo specific – Certain Products are a No-No on refrigerated Trucks

Before buying a refrigerated vehicle, you must know that certain types of cargo cannot be loaded together on the same trip to avoid damaging the goods.

If you are hauling fruits for example, you may not be able to load flowers with it into your truck. As fruits ripen, they produce ethylene, a naturally-occurring gas that can cause rapid wilting and discoloration of flowers and other plants.

4. Shorter Lifespan – The Useful Life of Refrigerated Vehicles is Much Shorter

The estimated useful life of refrigerated trucks or vans is seven years. It is certainly shorter than the life of conventional box trucks due to all the moisture generated from the refrigeration cooling system and extra cleaning to the box interior. You may be able to extend the life of a refrigerated vehicle by undercoating the frame and chassis. This process done properly can be very expensive.

5. Duration of Operation – Long Distance Transportation vs. Long Hauls

In most cases, refrigerated vehicles derive energy from the power generated by the main engine of the vehicle. This means that even if the truck is no longer travelling on the road and is stopped at the destination for loading/unloading, its main engine needs to keep running to power the refrigeration unit to maintain the temperature of the cargo compartment. With that said, before buying a refrigerated van or truck, you should determine if your operation will require extra power for your trucks refrigerator.

If your operation involves more long distance runs than idle time, your truck’s main engine would be sufficient to keep your cargo refrigerated. But if you are involved in an operation that requires your truck to stand-by for extended periods (ex. Catering business), you may require a separate generator to keep your truck’s refrigeration system running.

If you’re in need of a new or used refrigerated truck, call Truck-N-Trailer at (405) 912-5800. We’re the leading dealer of used commercial trucks and vans in Oklahoma!