How To Keep RV Fridge Cold While Driving?

Driving your RV can be a fantastic way to see the country. You have everything at hand and all the comforts of home.

However, there are many new to RVing, and they often come up against the same old questions every RVer faces when they are setting off for the first time.

Is RV refrigerator operation while driving possible? It is a valid question and requires answering. RV refrigerators come in various types and can thus be used in different ways.


In our guide, you can learn all about using propane while driving, or is it something you should do? (Learn How to Clean an RV Awning)

By the end, you’ll understand how traveling on the road for hours doesn’t mean the food you have in your refrigerator will spoil.

temperature gauge

How Do I Cool My RV Fridge?

Making sure your fridge is cool enough, to begin with, can be key to stopping your food spoiling. You have a few ways to do this before heading off on your trip, or you have stayed in one location with your refrigerator turned off. (Learn How Do RV Refrigerators Work)

Put Cold Stuff Inside

Suppose you’re in a hurry to cool your fridge; you can place bags of ice inside your RV fridge. Once you turn it on, this, coupled with the fridge fan, can help drop the temperatures faster.

  • Make sure your ice is in watertight containers, or you’ll end up with a wet RV. Plastic bottles of water make the ideal containers when placed on the shelf.
  • Don’t use ice cubes, as these can puddle in the bottom of your fridge as they thaw.

Before Heading Off

RV fridges cool down much slower than your home fridge, yet heat up faster. As you open the fridge door and pack the fridge, you’ll lose cold air from inside. Make sure items are already cold. When stuff is cold, it helps your fridge reach the temperature.

Using a fridge is to keep perishable food at 40 degrees or below. To make sure your food won’t spoil, you can use these alternatives. (Read Full Time RV Living Tips)

  • Don’t Run Your Fridge: Your RV fridge only drops 4 degrees Fahrenheit for every eight hours it remains turned off.
  • Set your fridge to the coldest setting the night before: If you want to keep your RV fridge cold for the following day’s trip, set it to the coldest setting overnight.
  • Make sure you have no empty space as this can increase the temperature. You can maintain a cooler temperature when your fridge is packed full.
  • Keep the fridge door closed as much as possible. You can use a cooler for drinks and food for the day; thus, you don’t need to open the door that often, so your fridge runs warm.

Can You Run RV Fridge While Driving?

You may wonder if you can use your RV fridge while driving. You can run your RV fridge while driving, yet there are a few things you need to consider.

Most of this is the concern of running RV fridge on propane while driving; however, some fridges are dual power, and you can set your RV fridge to use battery power until you get to camp.

RV Fridge Running While Drive Considerations

You will find most fridges inside an RV are 2-way refrigerators. However, they work best when using propane. You can also find you may have a three-way refrigerator, and if this is the case, you can use 12v DC while driving.

The most common ways to run RV fridges are using propane and using a generator.

Propane is the most common; however, it comes with the most hazards when running your fridge with it. You can use a generator, yet you have less power. (Read Non Refrigerated Meals for Camping)

Propane-Running Fridges

Using propane while driving has a few pros and cons. You can find many individuals have propane running while driving their RV, so it is down to choice.


  • Propane will keep your fridge cold all the time
  • Propane keeps water inside your water heater hot.
  • Propane runs your RV heating system, which is key when traveling in a cold region


  • Appliances can move while driving, such as if you take a sharp turn.
  • It only takes a spark to ignite the propane gas; thus, you can’t use propane while in a gas station filling your RV tank.
  • The most significant hazard with running propane while driving is fire.

Use Generator to Power RV Refrigerator

Using a generator as your power source is an option to keep your RV fridge cool while driving. Generators vary in wattage, so you need to check when purchasing a generator.

A generator can be used for the heating, cooling, and air conditioning system of your RV. A generator, however, takes up space, and depending on RV size, you may not fit a generator inside. Run your generator outside when possible as there can be fumes.

Will RV Fridge Run-Off Battery?

You may wonder whether your RV refrigerator will run off your battery. RV refrigerators, in most cases, are not designed to run on battery for extended periods.

An RV refrigerator will run off a battery if your fridge is designed to do so or uses propane.

An absorption fridge can run for around 3-hours on batteries, yet when using propane as well, it can last for weeks. A residential RV fridge has the capability to last around 12 hours when run on batteries.

The battery you have is as important as your RV fridge. Some RVs run a single 12-v battery, while you can find others running four 6-volt batteries.

Suppose you have a 12v DC battery at a rating of 100Ah. The battery will deliver 5 amps per hour for 20 hours.

If you use a 240-watt inverter, divide the watts by the volts, and you can calculate the number of amps required per hour. (Read RV Air Conditioner Capacitor Troubleshoot)

Here, you’ll find 240W/12V DC is 20A. Since there is four times the demand, your battery would last a quarter of the time or 5 hours compared to 20 to keep your fridge cool.

3-Way Fridges

A three-way fridge is like a 2-way RV fridge yet can run off an extra power source. You will find three-way absorption refrigerators, which can run on propane and AC power.

However, the benefit being they can also run-on DC power, which removes the need for a power inverter to keep your fridge running while driving.

What Do You Do With An RV fridge When Not In Use?

When you are home, or you are not going to use your fridge for a while, there are certain things you must do.

The first is to turn off the RV refrigerator and also make sure any propane tank valves are closed at the tank.

On the physical side, you need to leave the freezer door and the refrigerator door to the regular compartment open. (Read RV Propane Tank)

If you keep them closed, moisture will condense, and you will find these molds over time. The air can stop this condensation and prevent your fridge interior from going moldy.

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