How Do They Get Cars Into Malls?

Dustin Hawley | Feb 28, 2021

When you visit a shopping mall, it’s not unusual to see a car or two displayed in a concourse or walking area. These displays are advantageous for both the mall and the car dealer. The mall earns a little bit of extra revenue, and the car dealer gets to display their vehicle in front of the hundreds or thousands of people who pass by every day.

how do they get cars into mall

But if you stop to think about it, mall entrances don’t exactly cater to cars as much as they do people, which begs the question: how do cars get into shopping malls?

While to some it may sound silly, it is actually a question of great interest to many. Let’s discuss how they go about doing this.

So, How Is It Done?

Though it may not be public knowledge, every shopping mall has one or more entrances that are more than large enough for a car. Depending on the design of a particular mall, this door may be located in various places. In some instances, it’s a rear cargo door that is carefully concealed in an out-of-the-way spot near the rear of the main building.

In many cases, the mall’s usual entrances are actually big enough for a car to pass safely. For example, sliding doors may need to accommodate large groups of people, so it would make sense that many of these areas would be large enough to pass through. 

Malls are not designed for explicitly accommodating cars. But vehicles aren’t the only large objects that need to enter the facility. For instance, many malls have tall atriums with electric lighting, fans, and massive HVAC systems that can stand dozens of feet in the air. When this equipment is brought in and these areas need to be accessed, the electrician or HVAC technician will need to have the ability to drive a mobile bucket lift into the store.

In the same vein, stores within the mall will also need to bring in large displays or signs for both their operations and promotions. Industrial kitchen equipment will need to be moved in and out of the food court, large pallet stacks will need to be transported throughout the building, etc. You may not witness any of this activity taking place, as it often occurs after hours, but it happens nonetheless!

And what about mall kiosks? Don’t they obstruct a vehicle from accessing various parts of the building? Alas, these kiosks are not an issue when it comes to driving a car into position. Since mall walkways need to be accessed by other machinery at different times, kiosks are never hardwired in place. When a vehicle needs to pass through, kiosks can simply be rolled to the side for a few minutes and put back into place thereafter.

Special Considerations

There are specific scenarios that may require a more creative solution than merely driving into the mall. In some cases, the mall floors may be too delicate to drive over, or perhaps the building’s HVAC system is not powerful enough to safely clear the exhaust from the facility upon entry. In these situations, the car may be put in neutral and rolled through the mall instead. 

Alternatively, operators can use a special car dolly or a set of vehicle skids to accomplish the task. These tools are designed to be less damaging to the flooring, and the car can be easily pushed to its desired location.

Some malls are located inside multi-level buildings, in which case the vehicle’s curb weight may be a concern. While most steel-framed facilities can handle a car’s weight with no issue, it certainly presents more risk. It is also more laborious to move the vehicle in and out of the building, as a suitable freight elevator will likely be required. Many large commercial buildings will already have one of these on hand for moving pallets of merchandise and other supplies. But not all freight elevators are roomy enough to accommodate a vehicle.


In addition to the cars placed in the mall for display, numerous other vehicles need to drive through the mall for various reasons. Most are maintenance vehicles, which include anything from floor washers to cherry-pickers. There are also tradespeople, plumbers, carpenters, floor installers, sign makers, and many others who need to move equipment through these large buildings. Regardless of the vehicle it’s accommodating, these access points should hopefully shed light on how exactly they get cars into a shopping mall.

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