The transportation of perishable goods poses a unique logistical challenge. Though technologies like IoT smart devices, GPS tracking devices, and integrated data solutions are quickly helping to ease maintenance and vehicular challenges, fleet managers continue to have their work cut out for them when managing the distribution of perishable produce like medicine, meats, fruits, and so on.
As there are unforeseen activities that become beyond you and your fleet driver control, there are steps that will help you lower mechanical issues. It will help you out to save your shipments. Let’s explore some tips for the maintenance of refrigerated van conversions, which helps in the overall functioning of your vehicle.
1. Cleaning Regularly
Once you have completed the delivery, the first step is to clean the trailer. The goods that you carry in your trailer are naturally sensitive. Therefore cross-contamination is possible in the upcoming loads due to leftover organic material. If not cleaned properly, the damage will be hundreds and thousands of dollars.
To avoid this, start the cleaning activity by completely emptying the trailer. Though an all-purpose cleaning agent is enough, a more acute disinfectant will be more effective depending upon the fleet interior resistance power and the product shipped.
Start by wiping and washing the door seals, walls, ceiling, and floor. The cleaning has to be thorough as the surfaces can have harmful bacteria and mold.
Airing and Use of Scrapers
Scrapers are necessary for removing tough stains from your truck. An ideal option would be to use plastic scrapers. Give some time to dry up once the cleaning is over. Otherwise, the dampness will let the mold multiply and harm the products.
2. Cool the Trailer Consistently
It is an obvious tip and a necessary one; to keep the temperature cool in the refrigerated trailer when transporting the shipment. The uneven chilling does not only harm the perishable items and food. But the damage inside your trailer compromises the complete interior.
You will find cleaning easier multiple times if the shipment is leak-free and fresh. If the trips of spoiled goods are limited, it will result in the fleet’s long life.
3. Checking Before and After Every Trip
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) demands that the driver necessarily carry out an investigation of the truck pre- and post-shipment.
Before leaving, the driver should check the different facets of the fleet for issues, which includes
- Temperature Calibration
- Level of Fluid
- Wall Damage
- Tire Pressure
- Door Seal Security
- Function of Headlight
- Adequate airflow (On Loading)
- Health of Engine
If he gets clearance from all, a driver is safe to start the trip with contentment. Post cleaning the trailer needs a follow-up investigation to search for any damage in the latest shipment completed. It will help identify the issue in the early stage for quick rectification.
Training Drivers to do Checks
Overall, it is an intense procedure where the driver comes across complex reefer technology. To perform skillfully, they require adequate know-how. A side-by-side learning opportunity for the driver is necessary to conduct the inspection process before and after the trip.
There is a requirement to adhere to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) norms, making the driver aware of the sanitation specification product-wise.
4. Hiring a Professional
Your driver can gain the acquired skills post-training. But he may still lack to conduct a detailed preventive inspection. The reason for it is limited technical knowledge, and it is not their core job role. It is highly advisable that you get the refrigerated vehicle inspection done by an expert.
A professional is more aware of your refrigeration components like evaporator, compressor, connecting hoses, air chute, condenser, and more. They possess the required skill to remove any parts to inspect for contamination. A mechanic with comprehensive knowledge of refrigerated trucks needs hiring to conduct a consistent inspection.
Maintenance of Refrigerated Vehicles is Important
The tips mentioned above are necessary, but you will also have to follow traditional checks and repairs for your fleet. The cooling system strains the engine more than a car and non-refrigerated trailers, so regular oil change is necessary. The tires of your truck need regular rotation and replacement because you ship heavy loads. It will help in avoiding a blowout and will save time for the shipment.
The fleet needs servicing at regular intervals. Therefore, every vehicle’s battery, hoses, timing belt, spark plugs, and other parts need to be in the best shape. If your truck fails due to non-maintenance, keeping your shipment refrigerated becomes difficult without any assistance.