How to Choose the Right Refrigerated Vehicle

Side view of a Ford Transit Connect being outfitted as a refrigerated vehicle

Every single day, temperature-sensitive goods are transported around the country via refrigerated vehicles. Commonly called reefers, these specialty trucks and vans are designed to haul goods that need to remain cold in transit safely.

Numerous businesses benefit from the use of refrigerated vans including grocery stores, food service companies, florists, and more. For this reason, refrigerated vehicles can be custom built to meet any business’ specific needs.

Whether you are operating a small vehicle fleet and transporting goods around town, or you need to purchase dozens of refrigerated vans to haul items across the country, choosing the right vehicle is key to the success of your operations.

Today, we’ll take a look at how you can choose the right refrigerated vehicle for your needs, ensuring that your purchase will be a valuable investment for years to come.

#1: Start by Picking the Right Customization Team

Regardless of the vehicle type you use as the baseline for your build, the first step in ensuring that you make the right pick is by choosing a quality customization team. The team that helps you upfit your refrigerated vehicle will play a large role in the quality of the vehicle’s design.

As you shop around for a custom vehicle team, look for the following attributes:

  • Experience: Before choosing a customization team, ask to see their previous work. Make sure that you work with a company that has built numerous custom refrigerated vans before.
  • Quality Service: Nothing is worse than working on a custom build with a team that is hard to communicate with or doesn’t put their customer first. Make sure that you opt for a customization team that will hear your needs and won’t rest until you’re satisfied.
  • Expertise: Choosing a team that specializes in refrigerated vehicles will ensure that you have access to the best equipment and quality chassis. Look for a company that has been working in the industry for years and can back that up with its partnerships with leading manufacturers.

#2: Make Sure to Clearly Outline the Vehicle’s Intended Use

Driving away with the right custom refrigerated vehicle will ultimately come down how well you communicate your team’s needs.

Take the time to outline the intended use of the vehicle, ensuring that you and the custom builder are on the same page.

A few key items to include during this conversation are the following:

  • What type of cargo you will be transporting
  • What temperature range you need the vehicle to maintain
  • Whether or not you want to implement the use of an alternative fuel, such as electricity, to operate the vehicle
  • The amount of cargo you need to transport at any given time
  • Any additional equipment necessary for your team’s operations

#3: Carefully Consider the Chassis Manufacturer

With an idea of your layout and design needs, it is time to explore the options for the vehicle chassis.

There are numerous chassis that can be used for a refrigerated van, but two of the most popular choices are a Mercedes Benz or a Ford Transit. Make sure to talk through the options with your custom builder, focusing on the durability of the chassis, the fuel efficiency of the vehicle, and the size.

#4: Ensure Compliance with the FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Food Safety Modernization Act was put into place by Congress to reduce the amount of foodborne illnesses that occur in the U.S.

This act protects foods from farm to table by ensuring that they are kept safe from contamination during transportation.

When choosing a refrigerated vehicle, it is imperative that your van is compliant with all FDA regulations. This way, food, beverages, and other goods are protected on the road and all cross-contact and allergy contamination is prevented. Additionally, it will keep your business from facing any subsequent fines or issues related to being out of compliance.

#5: Don’t Forget the Extras

Finally, when choosing a refrigerated vehicle, don’t forget to think through all the extras. A custom build should be designed to your exact specifications.

Common additions to a refrigerated vehicle include the following:

  • Back up cameras
  • Additional seating
  • Built-in shelving
  • Multiple entrance options
  • Energy-efficient cooling systems
  • Hybrid fuel options

Talk to Summit Bodyworks about a Custom Refrigerated Van

If you are looking for the right refrigerated vehicle to add to your fleet, talk to our team at Summit Bodyworks today. We have years of experience building custom refrigerated vans, and we will be happy to provide you with a consultation for your build.

Interested in seeing our work in action? Take a look at the following custom refrigerated van builds we recently completed:

  • City of Westminster Public Schools: Crafted for a local public school system, this refrigerated van was upfitted on a Ford Transit with the Iso Temp Kit by Gruau and Cantilever Lift by Tommy Gate. The end result is a versatile vehicle that is easy to drive and offers optimal cooling power.
  • Mercedes Benz Metris: Designed with a Zanotti zerO Transport Refrigeration System and Gruau IsoTemp Interior, this custom build offers efficient cooling on the go. With a Mercedes Benz chassis, this van is built to last.
  • Ford Transit Connect: Equipped with the Iso Temp Kit by Gruau, this small van makes it easy and convenient to transport goods. The Ford Transit chassis offers superior fuel efficiency and long-term reliability.

Not only can we assist you in building the ideal custom refrigerated van for your needs, but we can also help you with your ongoing maintenance needs. Our service center will keep your fleet running in top shape.

Ready to get started? Reach out to the team today.