Close this search box.

How To Make an RV Refrigerator Colder

Fridges are among the most important RV appliances. You’ll need one to keep food and drinks cold on the road, especially if you want to avoid stopping for meals. Eating on the road can be expensive too.

Fridges also need maintenance to work as well as designed. Otherwise, a fridge might not reach the coldness needed to properly preserve food.

A refrigerator can be made colder through a variety of methods. The built in method involves a switch in the fridge. If you’ve tried that, there are other methods including moving food around and doing more maintenance. Let’s dive into more detail about how to make your fridge colder.

Using the fridge itself to make the RV refrigerator colder

Most refrigerators are actually adjustable. Here is a step by step guide to making many fridges cooler.

  1. Open the fridge door.
  2. You might see the switch right away. It’s often towards the back of the top of the fridge. The switch is often round or horizontal.
  3. If you don’t see it, move some food around, especially around the top so you can see the back and walls better.
  4. If the fridge has a switch, it often has a few settings. The settings can range from “Cool, Cold, and Coldest.” It might also have specific temperatures listed. If the fridge isn’t on the coldest setting, you could just rotate the dial or switch until it gets to a better setting.
  5. Adjustments might take a day or so for the fridge to keep up. Wait a while and check the temperature again later.

This is by far the easiest and assumes that the fridge has a temperature setting. 

Make some space to make your RV fridge colder

Fridges do have a capacity. If your fridge is consistently packed, items won’t get cool as quickly. Why? Because the fridge only has so many vents, and they can be covered up or less efficient at getting cold air to all your items.

If there isn’t much space between the food items in your fridge, separate them a bit. This allows cold air to move more freely and gets more air moving from the vents.

Check your vents

Some RV refrigerators work in a unique way that pushes heat out rather than bringing cold are in. These are usually powered by propane and are called 3-way refrigerators. They don’t require electricity and are best for off the grid camping.

Check the vents on the top of these fridges to ensure that warm air is coming out. The vent might be clogged by something, keeping the warm air where it doesn’t belong – in your fridge.

This is one of the easiest and most obvious methods – and we kind of hope this is the reason. Obstructions in the vents are usually pretty obvious.

Give your fridge some shade

Most of the time, the windows on your RV are closer to your fridge than they would be at home. Consider getting some sort of shade for your fridge to keep warm sunshine from beating on the door of the fridge, which will cause the inside to warm up a bit.

Fridge shades can be purchased and resemble the shade placed in a vehicle window to keep the sun out. They are often extendable too. Consider doing this if you know the main source of a warmed fridge is direct sunlight. 

Clean the compressor coils

This requires a little work, but it’s worth it just for maintenance. Fridges that are powered by electricity usually have a compressor and compressor coils that bring cool air and liquid to chill your food. 

These coils can also get frosty and obstructed, which can make them inefficient.

Cleaning them is a couple of step process

  1. You’ll probably have to move your refrigerator off the wall. Shuffle it out slowly.
  2. There may be a cover on the back of your fridge to expose the coils. Remove this
  3. To make the process faster, you can usually remove most of the frost with your hands. It will likely just be ice.
  4. Put the fridge back in place

A longer term alternative for this is to unplug your refrigerator for at least 24 hours and let all the frost and built up ice melt.

Check the seal

A fridge can lose some of its cool if the seal on the fridge is worn or not working properly. You can check for leakage but putting your hand around the edges of fridge. You might be able to feel extra cold spots where the seal itself is leaking.

Most fridges have replaceable seals. You will have to remove the old one and follow the instructions to put a new one on. Ensure that this is the source of your problem before working to replace it.

Level your fridge

While unlikely in an RV, make sure your fridge is level. You would likely notice this issue right away, but an unlevel fridge can make coolant and air flow in ways that it shouldn’t. This can also cause premature wear and tear and inefficient use of electricity.

Some fridges have small legs to keep them slightly off the ground. You might need to adjust these to level your fridge.


Depending on how your fridge is maintained and how warm it gets, your fridge could get cooler. Also, note that sometimes a fridge not getting cold enough might just not be working right and need replacement. If it’s getting relatively cold, the above tips should help you quickly and easily fix the problem. 

Given the price of food, most people prefer keeping their fridge consistently cold enough to preserve it. You might also have leftovers from a special restaurant that you want to ensure you can finish. 

Scroll to Top