Will A Pinball Machine Fit In A Minivan?


Will A Pinball Machine Fit In A Minivan?

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When you find that classic pinball machine that you have been searching for, the last thing you want is to try and get it into a vehicle, and it doesn’t fit. Minivans are a popular option for moving furniture or large appliances. Pinball machines are bulky items, so we wanted to figure out if a minivan would work.

Will a pinball machine fit in a minivan? The short answer is, yes. But it depends on the model minivan and pinball machine. Let’s breakdown some dimensions of standard pinball machines and minivans.

Dimensions Standard Minivan Standard Pinball Machine
Height 56 – 59 inches 75- 78 inches
Width 45 – 49 inches 27– 30 inches
Length 84 – 85 inches 51- 52 inches

While the dimensions may not match up respectively for each one, you should be able to finagle the machine in a position that will be safe for it, while also fitting inside the cargo area of a minivan. But there are some variables you will want to be aware of.

In most cases you should be able to fit the machine in a minivan by taking the legs off, removing the back, or by laying the machine on its side. You do have to make sure to be incredibly careful when loading it as you don’t want to jostle the components and damaged or break them. 

If you want to see some current pinball machines or other retro arcade machines just click here.

Average Sizes of Pinball Machines

For collectors or enthusiasts of these classic arcade games, it can become a fun scavenger hunt that spans across the country to find the exact machine they have been searching for.

It’s one thing when you purchase from a retailer that ships directly to you. But if you find that exact machine to complete your collection, and it’s been sitting in a garage 100 miles from your home, you need to figure out accommodations.

Making sure you know the exact dimensions of the machine will allow you to plan accordingly for the vehicle you’ll be using to transport it. While those standard dimensions can be helpful, they don’t account for every single pinball machine.

For reference, here are some of the most popular pinball manufacturers and their websites where you will be able to determine the specific measurements for your pinball machine.

Pinball Machine Weight

The other factor to be aware of is the weight of the machine. While it may fit in the back of your minivan, you want to be sure you can get it in there.

On average, a standard pinball machine will weigh 250 – 350 pounds. It will be dependent on the type of materials used for the machine. For example, if it is an electro-mechanical or a solid-state model.

Once you determine you can fit the pinball machine in your minivan, be sure to make the proper accommodations to be able to lift it safely and securely to get it into the cargo area of the van.

Is it Fully Assembled?

Whether you are buying a new or used machine, you will want to find out if the machine is fully assembled. This will make a big difference in how it will be transported. Keep in mind, the process of removing and reattaching the top can be a cumbersome one if you’re not familiar with it and can take anywhere from 15 minutes up to an hour.

Dimensions of Standard Minivans

Once you understand the dimensions, weight, and current state of assembly for the pinball machine, you can measure your minivan to be sure it will fit. If you are planning on renting or borrowing from a friend or family member, you’ll want to do some research ahead of time to be sure it will work.

Most minivans will have the same amount of cargo space as long as all the seats fold down into the floor. Some minivans will have the front row of seats that will only slide or fold forward which will decrease the space. Most models from Chrysler or Dodge will have all the seats fold fully into the floor and you can easily fit a 4×8 sheet of plywood flat on the floor. 

To find the exact dimensions of a specific make and model you can google the specs and Car & Driver has specific interior spaces for every make and model. 

You may be asking yourself, “Why not just rent a Uhaul?”

If you don’t have access to a minivan, it may be more efficient to rent a Uhaul rather than to rent a minivan from a rental car company. But keep a few things in mind.

  • Uhaul charges per mile, whereas most rental car agencies will allow unlimited in their price. So, if you are traveling a long distance, the costs will rack up quite quickly.

  • There will be a lot of extra room in the Uhaul, so be sure to really secure the pinball machine in the back. Those little bumps that seem small to you could end up doing some major damage in the back of a large vehicle like that.

  • Make sure you are comfortable driving the Uhaul. A minivan, while big, may feel more comfortable because it has that feeling of a standard vehicle and normal windows, making it easier to see. Just be sure you or a friend that is helping will feel confident behind the wheel if you choose to rent a larger vehicle.

Cargo Space vs. Entryway

A common mistake when measuring cargo space of any vehicle is to not factor in the dimensions of the opening of the trunk or hatchback. Typically, that space will be slightly smaller than the actual storage space itself. We have probably all fallen victim to that moment when you know the item will fit in the car, but also, you can’t get it through the opening because it is a couple of inches smaller.

If the pinball machine is not fully assembled, this will typically not matter as much. It will be easier to maneuver it around and find an angle to make it work. If it is fully assembled there is still a fair amount of angling and Tetris you can play to make it work. But be very careful with the legs and how you try to make it fit.

How to Safely Transport Your Pinball Machine

If it is going to be a tight fit, you will want to make sure you take every precaution to keep the pinball machine safe and secure. This will include prep before the machine gets put in there, how you approach getting it into the vehicle and securing it afterward.

Here are some easy steps to take to ensure a safe ride for the machine:

  1. Make sure the back of the van is fully cleared out, and there is nothing that can roll around or become loose and smash into the pinball machine during the trip.

  2. Remove seats from the back of the van, or place them down into the floor (if that is how your model is set up).

  3. Put a soft cloth or set of towels down so nothing can scrape or damage the surface of the pinball machine. The softer, the better. You may also want to line the walls of the van with a protective barrier if the width is going to be cutting it close. If your minivan model has seats that fold into the floor there will be metal “hooks” on the floor that the seat will normally be attached to. Be sure and cover those with plenty of padding so you don’t damage the pinball machine.

  4. This is not a one-person job. It may not even be a two-person job, depending on the actual weight and size. Make sure you have people to help that are strong enough to lift such weights safely. Keep in mind that it may not be a quick and easy slide into the back if it is going to be a tight fit.
  5. Have the proper equipment. This can include, but isn’t limited to:
    • Dolly
    • Lifting Straps
    • Lower back brace for lifting support
    • Bungee cords or ratchet straps

  6. Once the pinball machine is in the minivan, check all the corners of it. Make sure none of the corners are poking into the sides of the van and that there isn’t pressure being put on the legs or top of the pinball machine. A little pressure may not seem like a big deal, but if you have to slam on the breaks or take a sharp turn, it can be enough to damage the machine.

  7. If you end up with lots of extra space, you should secure it with bungee cords, straps, or additional padding on each side. This will help limit any sliding or movement during the trip.

Learn More

Want more tips on how to move a pinball machine? The video below is from GRC Pinball and is all about how to move your pinball machine as safely as possible.

Moving a Pinball Machine in a Minivan

You should be good-to-go when trying to fit a pinball machine into a minivan. It is still important to measure everything ahead of time and give yourself a few inches of wiggle room to account for a smaller entryway or having to angle the machine in different ways to get it into the cargo area.

For most makes and models of minivan you will be able to fit the pinball machine into the back without too much difficulty. If your model doesn’t have as large of a cargo area then you might have to remove the legs, take the back off, or lay it sideways. 

However you choose to do it, make sure to drive slowly and carefully while avoiding as many bumps and quick stops or accelerations. 

Matt Robbs

There is nothing quite so enjoyable as bringing back memories from your childhood. We used to spend hours playing pinball in my friends basement and that really got me involved in everything retro!

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