Refrigerated Van Hire – Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question about Cool Running Rental, our fleet or how our leasing process works?

Read on for a definitive list of questions and answers to help you get up to speed.

Do refrigerated vans have an overnight standby function?

Those looking to keep their goods stored overnight can make use of an electric standby add-on. This can also be a useful feature to have if schedules change unexpectedly and a delivery is hit by a delay.

Electric standby refrigeration utilises an external power source to maintain the temperature inside the storage unit, or to pre-cool the storage unit prior to loading the goods for transportation. This can reduce the energy used by the vehicle to generate the desired temperature, and is an environmentally friendly method of doing so.

How thick is the insulation, and what is it made of?

Insulation thickness ranges, as explained above. The most common insulation thickness type is 50mm but other refrigerated vans, that are designed to maintain colder temperatures, can boast insulation as thick as 100mm. The insulation is made from an extremely high-density polymer foam. There are millions of microscopic air bubbles inside the material making it an effective insulation solution.

Tell us more about Cool Running Rental

Cool Running Rental was born in 2006. We specialise in refrigerated van leasing, serving the UK nationwide with temperature-controlled vehicles available for rental, hire and leasing. Along with our parent company, Rentruck, we make up the J.R.Ashworth and Sons Ltd. Group of companies, and are strategically located next to the M62 corridor in Rochdale, north of Manchester.

Should I lease, hire or purchase a refrigerated van?

People often aren’t even aware of being able to hire/lease/rent temperature-controlled vehicles, but it’s become a popular way of life for many businesses. Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking into this for your business:


How much are you able to spend? If you’re looking to test out having a refrigerated van for the first time, and see how it impacts your business, then hiring can be a great first step. Alternatively if you have the capital and the motive to do so, they there are Vans for Sale that may interest you.

Length of time needed

How long do you need a refrigerated van for? If you are looking for a short term rental solution then this is an option for you. If you’re planning on using a refrigerated van on a more regular basis then you may wish to lease over a longer duration of time, giving you better value for money. Find out more about our leasing options here.


If you purchase a vehicle with specific specifications, and your operation outgrows them, then you will be left with the task of selling the van on for a cut price. This makes leasing or van hire a viable option if you work in a fast paced sector.

Are there different types of refrigerated vehicles, and how do I know which one to choose?

There are a wide variety of refrigerated vehicles for heavy goods purposes but we are specialists in refrigerated van hire. There are four different types of refrigerated van:

  • Insulation-only van
  • Chiller conversion van
  • Semi-freezer conversion van
  • Full-freezer conversion van

‘Conversion types’ are, essentially, regular vans converted into refrigerated vans to serve a new purpose. Here’s a bit more about each type.

Insulation-only van

Insulation-only vans are commonly used by businesses transporting non-perishable goods. This gives more leeway, as insulation-only vans are just that – a lining of 50mm thick insulation. The lack of refrigeration makes this type of refrigerated van useless for transporting perishable goods such as food or specific medicines.

Chiller conversion van

Chiller conversion vans are fitted with the same 50mm thick insulation lining on top of a chill refrigerator, helping them to achieve temperatures as low as 0°C through to 8°C. This makes them the most popular choice amongst a wide variety of business types.

Semi-freezer conversion van

If you’re looking to transport frozen goods then the standard chiller conversion van won’t cut the mustard, you need a vehicle with the ability to reach lower temperatures. Semi-freezer conversion vans are fitted with thicker, 75mm insulation in the cargo area. This allows them to maintain a constant temperature as low as 15°C.

Full-freezer conversion van

Finally, full-freezer conversion vans combine the 75mm insulation typical of a semi-freezer van with a reverse cycle or hot gas defrost mechanism. These vehicles are also built with reinforced side and rear doors for greater temperature retention at depths of up to 20°C.

How can I look after my refrigerated van when I am leasing it long-term?

We offer plenty of tips to maintain a refrigerated van in our blog post on the subject, but in short, here are a few pointers to consider:

  • Conduct routine tune-ups
  • Schedule regular expert inspections
  • Pre-trip checks before each outing
  • Regularly deep clean the storage area
  • Don’t leave check ups to the last minute

Can refrigerated vans tow a trailer?

In the majority of cases, yes. Most refrigerated vans are fitted with a tow bar to assist you in towing additional goods. Just ask when you’re enquiring to make sure.

Are your vans fully serviced?

Plenty of our customers prefer the option of being able to hire, rent or lease their temperature-controlled vehicles because they don’t want to deal with the maintenance hassle. The upkeep of of any vehicle can be costly, particularly one with an intricate function. With our van rental service, you have peace of mind knowing that our vehicles are all late models that have been fully serviced and valeted beforehand. Renting for short or long periods at a time means that you won’t have the burden of scheduling regular expert inspections or have to exhaust your budget on repairs if a problem occurs.

How can I learn more, and how can I get in touch?

Learn more about us and our fleet of refrigerated vehicles by heading to this page, where there will be links to our contact details.

How do refrigerated vans work?

A refrigerated van is a vehicle designed to carry perishable goods at specific temperatures. They are often equipped with a mechanical refrigeration system that operates from a power source external from the vehicle engine, or one that makes use of carbon dioxide as a cooling agent. Every refrigeration system is fitted with three key components:


This part of the refrigeration unit condenses hot gas into a liquid refrigerant.


This part of the refrigeration unit evaporates the liquid refrigerant once it has served its purpose, allowing the cycle to continue.


This part of the refrigeration unit is the heart of the system, it pushes the refrigerant from the evaporator to the compressor. Eeach element of the refrigeration unit works together to remove heat from inside the vehicle so that the produce being transported can be held at the required temperature. Learn more about how refrigerated vans work by reading our blog post here.

What temperatures can be attained, and how will I know what the temperature is in mine?

As mentioned above, there are a wide range vehicle types for the range of purposes within the cold supply industry. Here are rough temperature ranges for each of the four van types:

  • Insulation-only vans have a lining of 55m thick insulation, keeping storage areas ‘cooler’ during summer months. Undefined temperature range.
  • Chiller conversion vans pair 55m thick insulation with a chill refrigerator, meaning temperatures as low as 0°C through to -8°C can be attained.
  • Semi-freezer conversion vans up the insulation to 75mm, meaning temperatures as low as -15°C can be attained.
  • Full-freezer conversion vans pair 75mm thick insulation with a reverse ccle or hot gas defrost mechanism. With reinforced side and rear doors, temperatures as low as -20°C can be attained.

There are three classes:

Class A: Refrigerated vans equipped with a cooling system that allows the user to set a storage temperature between +12°C and 0°C inclusive.

Class B: Refrigerated vans equipped with a cooling system that allows the user to set a storage temperature between +12°C and -10°C inclusive.

Class C: Refrigerated vans equipped with a cooling system that allows the user to set a storage temperature between +12°C and -20°C inclusive.

All refrigerated vehicles are fitted with a TranScan Reader, or similar, which used display the temperature of the storage unit.

What types of refrigerated vans are there?

There are a wide variety of refrigerated vehicles designed for the transportation of perishable goods. There are four different types of refrigerated van:

  • Insulation-only van
  • Chiller conversion van
  • Semi-freezer conversion van
  • Full-freezer conversion van

You can learn more about these by reading our blog here, but in essence, different vans are designed to generate different storage temperatures; there are also different shapes, sizes and functions and you can browse our fleet here.

Do any of your vans have dual-compartment facilities?

Dual-zone automatic climate control is when two separate sections of the refrigerated van can maintain different preferred temperatures. This can be especially important when users have a range of perishable goods. Certain vehicles within our fleet do have dual-compartment facilities, and a member of our team would be happy to discuss this with you to find the right van for the job.

Will I be insured, and am I covered if I break down?

Here at Cool Running Rental we are proud of the service that we offer to our customers. Our team aren’t just hear to process your enquiry, they will be on hand to talk you through our comprehensive insurance policies and breakdown assistance costs. When you hire with Cool Running Rental you can be sure that you are in safe hands, with access to a 24hr helpline.

What types of businesses use them?

A wide variety of business types use refrigerated vans, and they do so for a wide variety of reasons. Here are some of the common industries we work with.

Ice cream vendors

Ice cream needs deep-freezing capabilities and as such, full freezer conversion vans are commonly used to transport stock around.


To keep flowers fresh during transportation they should be strictly chilled between 5°C and 7°C. When dealing with a product that has a short life-span as it is, these things matter immensely.


As you can imagine, the transportation of medicine and pharmaceutical products is incredibly important and the conditions need to be right or the cost could be great. Backup power systems are required by law for all vehicles transporting medicine.

Meat, fish, dairy and poultry

The optimum temperature differs between food products but there are strict guidelines for each, lest the good perish and become unfit for purchase or consumption. You can learn more about this here.

How do I look after my refrigerated van?

Routine tune ups, regular MOT inspection and frequent deep cleans are just some of the ways you can keep your refrigerated van working perfectly.

Learn more in our blog post: Top tips for maintaining your refrigerated van

Should I purchase or hire a refrigerated van?

It entirely depends on how much use you will get out of the vehicle. Hiring a refrigerated van gives small businesses the flexibility to use the features as and when they are needed, as opposed to investing into a vehicle that finds itself sat in the car park for the majority of the time.

Hiring a refrigerated van will give you the following perks:

  • Flexible contracts, pick up & collection times
  • A range of small, medium and large vans
  • A variety of different temperature specifications depending on your requirements
  • All vehicles are late model, fully valeted & serviced
  • All vehicles come with breakdown cover
  • Engineers at the end of the phone 24/7, 365 days a year should you encounter a problem during your rental period