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If you have to move a fridge from one place to another the vehicle that is most often used is a pickup truck. This is because you can easily stand a fridge up in the back of a truck and it also is easier to load and unload without risking damaging the fridge or the vehicle.
However, if you only own a minivan or that is the only vehicle that you are able to borrow you might be wondering if you can use it to move a refrigerator. Will a fridge even fit in a minivan?
Surprisingly a fridge actually will fit in the back of a minivan. You will have to lay down or remove all of the rear seats to get it to fit and will have to lay the fridge down on its back (not recommended) or on its side (the better way) but it will definitely fit.
Fridge sizes do vary a considerable amount but they are typically 65-70 inches tall, 30-36 inches wide, and 32-34 inches deep. The opening on the rear of a minivan is 40 inches tall and 48 inches wide which means that a fridge will fit through the rear door of a minivan when both on its back or on its side.
One downside to moving a fridge in a minivan is you have to actually lay it down flat. Most experts recommend laying it on its side for transport if you are unable to keep it upright since laying it on its back could damage the parts or connections that are typically exposed on the rear of the fridge.
Once a fridge has been laying down during transport it is a good idea to wait to plug it in until it has been sitting upright again for multiple hours. For most people leaving it upright overnight and then plugging it back in once you get up in the morning is the safest idea.
Some fridges are designed to NEVER be transported on their back or sides so be sure and read your owner manual before you put your fridge in a minivan. Just because it fits doesn’t mean that you should lay it down and haul it that way!
A refrigerator will typically weigh 250-450 pounds which a minivan can handle with no problem. However, the metal parts on the floor of your minivan can easily damage the sides of the fridge so make sure to put something like a towel or blanket in those spots to keep from damaging your fridge while it’s in the minivan.
How do you transport a refrigerator in a van?
So now that you know that it’s possible to fit a fridge in a minivan the next thing that’s important to know is the best way to do it.
I always recommend anyone who is planning on putting a fridge or any other heavy appliance or furniture in a van to lay a sheet of plywood on the floor first.
A piece of plywood almost perfectly fills the back of your minivan and will protect the fridge from getting damaged on the metal hooks in the floor for the seats. The plywood will also prefect your van floor from getting gouged or torn up by the corner of the fridge getting stuck on it or any oil or dirt getting on the carpet of the minivan as well.
Once you have the plywood down then you will want to get a large piece of cardboard and have it at the door of your minivan. When you tilt the fridge to put it inside the back of your van you will want the cardboard to slide in with the fridge. This will keep the plywood from scratching up the finish on the side of the fridge as you slide it in.
Once the fridge is inside your van you will then want to put blankets, towels, etc. wedged all around it to try and keep it from shifting while you are driving. Just bunch up the blanket or towels partially under the fridge and then have it stick part way out creating a little bump that the fridge won’t slide over.
You will of course want to make sure to drive slowly and don’t make any sudden stops or sharp turns if at all possible.
Once the fridge is at your destination simply remove the blankets or towels, slide it back out on the cardboard and then remove the plywood from your minivan.
After arriving you will want to leave your fridge unplugged for a few hours or even overnight to give the compressor oil time to settle back into the compressor.
What happens if you don’t let a fridge settle after transporting it on its side?
The last step of moving a fridge in a minivan above was to let your fridge “settle” for a few hours or overnight before plugging it in. This is a common thing when moving a fridge on its side but will anything actually happen if you don’t let the fridge settle properly?
If you don’t let the fridge settle it might be fine, or it also might not. When a fridge is on its side the compressor oil will start to go up the refrigerant lines so if you plug it in without letting that oil settle back into the correct place the compressor doesn’t have enough oil and it could burn up.
This COULD happen but you also might be just fine plugging it in immediately. The first time I moved a fridge I didn’t know that you shouldn’t plug it in right away so I did so… much to the shame of my father who proceeded to tell me all the harm that could have happened.
Thankfully I didn’t burn anything up or destroy the fridge that time, but every time since when I’ve moved a fridge on its side I’ve made sure to let it settle properly.
If you accidentally plugged in a fridge (or someone else did) without letting it settle and that was a few days ago then it’s too late and any damage that would have been done is already done.
However, if you or someone else just plugged it in a few minutes or hours ago then it’s best to unplug it and let it settle overnight before plugging it back in.
Some tips to remember when moving a refrigerator in a minivan
- Do not forget to measure the entryway of your house as well as your minivan. Typically minivans have a 40” tall opening which is plenty of room for most fridges but if you have a fridge that is exceptionally large then you will certainly want to measure before trying to fit it inside.
- Remember to use cardboard, blankets, or virtually anything else to try and protect the finish of your fridge. There is nothing quite as frustrating as putting in a ton of work to move a fridge only to damage it in some way.
- Get more help than you think you will need. With a pickup 2 or 3 people should be enough to load the fridge up but with a minivan you can’t lean the fridge against the bumper without risking damaging it. That means you will want at least 4 people (one on each corner) or even having 5 or 6 people wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Putting a fridge into a minivan is typically harder since you have to work around the roof.
In short, it definitely is possible to move a refrigerator with your minivan. But, you should make sure that you follow the manufacturer instructions correctly when setting it back up right or not transporting it on its back or side (as some models say not to do at all).