How Does a Refrigerated Truck Work

If you transport temperature-sensitive goods, you need a space that keeps them within a safe degree range. Others may recommend a refrigerated truck, but maybe you don’t quite understand how it works or see the need.

Sometimes, delving into how something such as a refrigerated truck works illustrates its true utility and reliability. For those wondering how does a refrigerated truck work, this brief walkthrough will help. It’s important to note that because this cooling system is a closed loop, there is no discernable start or end point, so we’ll start at the front of the truck and work backward.


The compressor is the front-most cooling feature. Attached to the engine and powered by the truck’s belt system, the compressor acts on the system’s refrigerant gas, compressing it close together and sending it on to the condenser.


Situated on the reefer trailer—typically facing the vehicle—the condenser receives concentrated refrigerant gas and converts it into a liquid. This occurs as the refrigerant passes through small, convoluted tubes that expose the refrigerant gas to the outside air. The high surface area ratio of these small tubes allows for max cooling, resulting in a cool, liquified refrigerant.


The refrigerant then travels to the condenser located within the reefer trailer itself. This is the point at which heat that would circulate around your product and compromise it exits, drawn in by the cool refrigerant. As the refrigerant heats up, it becomes gaseous again and eventually travels back to the compressor to restart the process.


This cooling technology would not matter if your truck didn’t have sufficient insulation. The entire trailer usually has a uniform layer of polyurethane foam that provides a barrier between your temperature-regulated interior and the heat and moisture outside.

To learn more about how refrigerated trucks work or to explore purchasing one, talk to one of the leading refrigerated truck manufacturers, Emerald Transportation Solutions. Besides trucks, we also have a wide array of refrigerated vans that’ll fit a smaller business’s cooling needs.