Many things can lead to a mechanical failure in your refrigerated truck reefer system. Drivers must act fast in order to maintain the integrity of their load and keep things at temperature. Here is how to keep produce fresh when the cooling system stops working.

Plug It In

If your truck has a plug-in electric standby option plug your truck in as soon as possible, then get to work on troubleshooting what is wrong. In some cases, plugging your truck in won’t fix the problem so keep reading.

Set A Timer And Keep The Doors Closed

In case it needs to be said, keep the doors to your truck closed. The only time they should be opened is when conducting a repair or inspection. Even then, open the door quickly and minimally and keep it cracked not wide open. Also, set a timer so that you can calculate how long your load will remain fresh. Don’t cut this close as you need to leave room for driving, unloading, and the potential traffic delays if you must return to your supplier.

Check And Reset Your System

The microprocessor controls have hundreds of possible settings in which drivers can control temperature, ranges, and commodity. Sometimes human error is the culprit so check that first. Check to make sure settings are accurate for:

  • Temperature
  • Stop-start vs. continuous
  • Tolerance variations
  • Manual defrosts

If all settings are correct, perform a quick system reset or reboot and see if that takes care of things.

Run Diagnostics

If you have diagnostic tools on-board running diagnostics should be one of the first things you should do. Some of the most common causes of mechanical failure include running out of fuel, overheating, broken condenser fan, and blockages—but there are over 200 fault codes. If you use a remote IoT with two-way remote control and monitoring, give them a buzz to determine the next best step. In fact, their notification may be what alerted you to your cooling problem.

Jump Start

If your refrigeration unit is engine driven and your engine is to blame, try to jump start your truck. You likely have some sort of roadside assistance in place so hop on the phone. If it’s just your engine that is down, the alternator on your reefer can also be used to jump start your truck. Learning how to jump start from the reefer is an excellent training topic. Also, make sure all your trucks are equipped with jumper cables. Small vans may be able to ask a good Samaritan for a jump start but mid-sized and semis will need assistance.

Consider Your Load And Route

If your engine is still running but your cooling system is down, consider your load and route. For example, if you only have one stop left and can get there well before you lose temperature—it may be best to do your delivery and troubleshoot once your load is safe and sound. Or maybe you can do one more stop, but not more than that. If you have multiple stops left, are far from your next stop, or are transporting fragile produce you may need to explore other options, including placing a claim.

Return To The Most Logical Spot

Another consideration is to return to the most logical spot. This might include calling to see if you can return your delivery until your cooling system is repaired, heading straight to your in-house garage, or heading to a local repair shop. If you are unable to retain chill, follow your company procedures for regarding who to call so that you can alert your customer and begin a claims process.

Train Your Team

Training your team how to troubleshoot and complete basic repairs is a must. This can get a bit tricky if you have multiple makes and models in your fleet. However, an hour of initial and recurrent training can save you lots of time and stress. This includes training your team on the types of produce they are hauling. As you know, transporting berries and leafy greens is a lot different than transporting winter squash and root vegetables. This means that your team needs to understand not only how long temperature will hold but the risk factor of going even a degree or two above temperature.

Finally, keep your fleet maintained. How to keep produce fresh will vary depending on the individual set of circumstances, but to minimize the likelihood of mechanical failure, keep your fleet or your individual truck on a strict proactive maintenance schedule—for both your truck and your reefer.

How to Keep the Produce Fresh if The Cooling System in Your Refrigerated Truck Stops Working? was last modified: by