Top 5 12-volt Fridge Tips and Tricks

12-volt fridge tips and tricks

12-volt fridges are becoming more and more sophisticated but there are still a few tips and tricks to getting the most out of them.

Proudly brought to you by Oricom: The rise and rise of the touring 4×4 market has seen a fast-tracking of 12-volt fridge technology. Now we’ve got ones that sip electricity rather than place a huge drain on resources, can be powered by a battery pack when away from the vehicle, and have ice makers. Some fridges can even be synced to your smartphone. But there are still a couple of fundamental tricks to getting the most out of your 12-volt fridge when you’re on the road.

Keep it clean

Make sure your fridge is cleaned thoroughly after and before any trip otherwise the thing can start to pong; vinegar and lemon juice mixed in some water is a good cleaning solution that’ll help kill any bugs and sources of potential smell.. Same goes for eskies and the like. When storing your fridge make sure you leave the lid ajar but you’ll want to use something soft to do this so as not to leave a depression in the seals. And, while cleaning and storing your fridge take the time to check the seals are all still in good nick.

Pack and cool it down at home

Okay, it’s a no-brainer to pack your fridge before leaving home on a trip, but by plugging it in at home and cooling the fridge down you can make sure it’s working properly, and give the fridge a head start. This will help ensure your food doesn’t spoil in the time it takes your vehicle to cool the thing down, and mean that your fridge is cooled down to your set temperature before leaving. And when packing think about things like thermal mass, for instance, if you’re chilling drinks inside the fridge it can be a good idea to pack these on the bottom but still easily accessible as once cooled they’ll help to keep surrounding items cool.

Use the baskets, okay

Might be tempting to remove the baskets from your fridge to pack in more stuff but they’re there for a reason. The baskets allow cool, dry air to flow around the fridge and keep your food cool. This will reduce the risk of developing over-cooled zones…no-one likes frozen tomatoes and spoiled salad leaves.

Don’t keep opening the lid

While cold air will fall to the bottom by constantly opening your fridge, cold air is still escaping, meaning that your fridge is having to work harder to keep things cool. This increases the draw on your batteries. So, try and pack things in zones so that you know exactly where the thing is you want before you get to the fridge; this will ensure the lid is open for the least amount of time possible. And always open the fridge lid slowly to reduce the risk of cold air being sucked out of the fridge via the pressure differential on the inside and outside of the fridge.

Keep your fridge in the shade and let it breathe

Like the difference between you standing in the sun or under a tree, your fridge will stay much cooler if it’s kept shaded. And make sure you’ve got plenty of ventilation around your fridge/compressor so that the heat it generates can escape. Be careful that nothing can move and block your fridge’s compressor when you’re driving; ensure there’s space around it at all times that can’t be fouled.

Might seem like simple tips but no matter how flash your fridge is, following these few simple tips and tricks will ensure you get the most out of your 12-volt fridge.

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Isaac Bober has been writing about cars and 4x4s for more than 20 years, has worked on some of the country's biggest motoring magazines (remember what they were?), and launched Practical Motoring. Now he's back, back again... to share dad jokes and much more.