How To Fix Your RV Fridge When It Keeps Shutting OffAnthony Day
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If you are like many RV owners, you will likely run into an issue with your camper’s fridge sooner or later, but how do you fix it when it keeps shutting off?
Although your RV’s fridge is not the most essential part of your vehicle, you certainly want it working properly before your next road trip. An RV fridge that keeps turning off by itself is a common issue with these appialnces. However, you need to identify exactly what is causing it so that you know how to fix it.
To fix an RV fridge that shuts off, try keeping the fridge’s power supply stable, the appliance level, amp intake of your vehicle balanced, replace blown-out fuses, clean the condenser coils, replace the defroster timer, or replace the ADC board.
Maintaining your camper can sometimes be a pain but it is an essential aspect of owning an RV. These vehicles require a considerable amount of upkeep and if you want to get as many years out of your RV as possible, you should hop on maintenance issues as soon as they arise. One component of your camper that you will need to troubleshoot from time to time is your fridge. These appliances can experience a variety of different malfunctions - with power issues being notorious, particularly when it comes to the fridge shutting off on its own. With that said, power issues can be caused by a number of different factors. If you want to get your fridge back in working order, you need to carefully evaluate the appliance so that you can determine why the problem is happening in the first place. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how to fix an RV fridge when it keeps shutting off.
After extensively researching RV maintenance forums, I have been able to gather enough information to determine how to fix an RV fridge that keeps shutting off. My research has indicated that multiple factors could be contributing to this problem and some require technical repairs. If you are not comfortable handling repairs for a specific fix, be sure to seek out help from a professional RV service station so that you do not cause additional damage to your camper or appliance.
Supplies You Will Need to Fix Your RV Fridge
Depending on what is causing your RV fridge to keep shutting off, fixing the problem is either very simple or it may require some technical repairs. If you want to take the DIY approach with your RV maintenance, you may need the following supplies to fix your fridge:
- Cleaning supplies
- Needle nose pliers
- Nut driver
- Replacement parts (as needed)
The majority of the supplies needed to fix your RV fridge are standard household items. However, given that various components are connected to your fridge’s power, you may need to run out and buy replacement parts once you identify the source of the issue.
Fixing an RV Fridge that Keeps Shutting Off
If you have never done maintenance work on your RV’s fridge, keeping yourself safe, as well as your appliance and vehicle intact are the most important things that you want to prioritize. Whenever working with electrical components such as your fridge, make sure that the appliance is completely unplugged before you begin your repairs.
In addition, if you run into something that you are not comfortable with, I would highly recommend getting help from a professional RV fridge mechanic, as it can help prevent any unnecessary damage from occuring to your vehicle or appliance. Let’s dive into how to fix an RV fridge that keeps shutting off.
Before you jump into any technical repairs and start taking your fridge apart, I find it is always best to cross the simplest solutions off the list first.
A common issue that results in RV fridges shutting down is that there is a connection issue with the appliance and its power source. Check your fridge's cable and outlet to see how well they are connected. If the connection to the socket is poor, you may need to replace the outlet or try using a different socket.
You should also assess the condition of the cable itself. Keep an eye out for any exposed or frayed wiring, as this can certainly lead to power issues and potentially even an electrical fire. Replacing the cable is going to be the best way to fix your fridge in this situation.
Poor Fridge Position
Your RV’s fridge position is an important aspect of keeping the appliance working properly for the long haul. Although RV fridges are usually designed to be more durable than standard household ones, they do need to be kept in an upright position - especially when parked for more than 15 minutes.
If you are driving in a hilly area with a lot of incline roads, you may notice that your fridge shuts off automatically or that the check light comes on. This is a safety feature that some appliances have to prevent damage.
Leaving your fridge in a constantly inclined position can cause it to experience power issues, among other things. This is due to poor coolant circulation within the appliance, which can potentially permanently damage the fridge. So, keep your fridge level when parked for long periods.
Overloaded Power Supply
You may be overloading your power supply, which can cause electronic devices and appliances to shut themselves down unexpectedly. The amount of power that your camper can handle will vary depending on the size, make, and model of the vehicle, which is why you should always confirm what your RV’s power allowance is.
You should also reflect on whether you are experiencing this issue with your fridge when it is running on the RV’s power or a generator, as this can also affect your appliance's power. To fix this, you need to identify exactly how many watts/amps are being used and how many you can use. Then you just need to unplug certain appliances or devices so that you can keep your fridge on.
If you have been running too many kitchen appliances at once, there is a good chance that you may have blown a fuse. Fixing this issue is very straightforward and virtually all RV owners can troubleshoot a blown fuse.
- Find your RV’s fuse box
- Locate the fuse connected to your kitchen
- Examine the fuse for any discoloration
- Remove the fuse (if blown)
- Install a new fuse into the socket
When working with the electrical components of your RV, make sure that not only the appliance is powered off but that the RV itself is as well. Given that a fuse box is not only connected to your fridge but the entire vehicle, there should be no power moving through the camper at all, as this is a safety hazard.
Dirty Condensor Coils
Your RV fridge’s condenser coils can be linked to any number of issues with the appliance, which includes unexpected shutdowns. While it is quite uncommon for the condenser coils to be faulty, it is not unheard of.
Faulty condenser coils will require you to replace them and install new ones. Condenser coil replacements can be quite technical and you should not attempt to do this unless you are handy with tools and fridge repairs.
With that said, what is much more likely causing the issue with your RV’s fridge is that the condenser coils are simply dirty. When your condenser coils get covered it dirt, grease, and debris they have a harder time maintaining a stable temperature, which results in overheating.
- Remove dust from the coils
- Wipe away grease and dirt
- Use a toothbrush to remove stubborn debris (if necessary)
Depending on the make and model of your RV, your condenser coils will be located either on the back of the unit or underneath the bottom access panel.
Replace Deforst Timer
Your RV’s fridge has a defrost timer which could be damaged or faulty. If so, it is likely causing the appliance to shut itself down unexpectedly.
Each RV fridge is different and depending on the type that you have, replacing the deforest timer may be very simple or rather technical. This is the general procedure that you should follow when replacing an RV fridge defrost timer.
- Locate defrost timer (freezer)
- Unscrew defrost timer assembly
- Unplug the defrost timer
- Install new defrost timer
Before you buy a new defrost timer, follow steps 1-3 to remove your current defrost timer from the appliance. Once the timer is removed, you can confirm whether it is broken by using a multitester. This way, you are not accidentally replacing components that are not faulty.
Replace ADC Board
Your fridge has a small circuit board which is called an ADC board. This component of the appliance is connected to the defroster of the fridge and it can become faulty after years of use - or due to electrical anomalies.
Before you go out and buy a new ADC board for your fridge, you should run a test on your current board to see if it's malfunctioning. The most straightforward of doing this is to unplug your fridge and then plug it back in.
If the fridge powers itself on and then shuts down again after several minutes or even several seconds, then the ADC board is probably causing the issue. Follow these steps to replace your ADC board:
- Carefully remove freezer control housing
- Unplug the connections of your ADC board
- Unscrew your ADC board from the housing
- Screw in the new ADC board and connect wires (exactly like the old one)
- Reconnect the freezer control housing
Your ADC board and all of the components connected to it are delicate. You need to understand that this is a fragile part of your fridge and that mishandling it can result in irreversible damage to your appliance.
Re-installation of an ADC board must be done precisely for the procedure to work. If you are not comfortable installing or removing an ADC circuit board, hire a professional to help you with the repairs.