Automotive

Food delivery driver: Shut the car off or leave it running each time?

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  • Nov 3rd, 2021 10:49 am
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mxthor3 wrote: Are we thinking the 10 seconds of the engine not running while he goes to the door is going to have a detrimental effect on the battery?
No. The biggest drain on the battery is starting the car. If you constantly stop/start the car without giving the battery time to charge through normal driving, then eventually the battery won't have enough juice to start the car. That's why cars with automated start/stop systems have special/larger batteries/starters/alternators/etc so they don't have that issue despite frequent starts and stops.

On an older car (specifically an older/weaker battery) the frequent start/stops can be an issue, but honestly it depends on how many drives they're doing. For a house where you're getting out of the car for 10 seconds to drop a bag I'd leave it running, but if its an apartment where you know you'll be a few minutes then id turn it off. I think a safe rule is if your car is gonna be out of immediate sight it should be off.

The solution is throw a battery pack in the car so you can jump start it if you have issues, or keep the battery topped up at home if all you do is very short drives. Unless they're doing a ton of short drives on a weak battery I dont think they'll have an issue.
Last edited by MrDisco on Aug 10th, 2021 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ecsta wrote:

No. The biggest drain on the battery is starting the car. If you constantly stop/start the car without giving the battery time to charge through normal driving, then eventually the battery won't have enough juice to start the car. That's why cars with automated start/stop systems have special/larger batteries/starters/alternators/etc so they don't have that issue despite frequent starts and stops.

Agreed. My point is, if you're stopping/starting that much without doing enough driving in between it sounds like you could probably do this job on a bike :) If you've got a weak battery or weak alternator all bets are out the window.
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OP

If you are going to be just idling at 3-mins average, leave the car running. It will cost more gas/stress to your vehicle system if you turn off the car every stop.

Leave the keys on the ignition, hook your fob on your belt so you can lock/unlock as you need.
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Where is OP delivering to? Like if its to someone's house with a driveway, I don't see why you cant leave the car on idle for 30 secs while you run in and out. If to a condo or apt complex, then turn off the engine.

And yes, I don't get why delivery drivers leave their engines running in public places unattended. Last weekend I was standing around a fire lane at a plaza (waiting for a friend for lunch), a guy parks his new Audi A5 to pick up deliveries inside the restaurant. I could've just hopped in and drove off without any effort...
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bear20 wrote: a guy parks his new Audi A5 to pick up deliveries inside the restaurant. I could've just hopped in and drove off without any effort...
Would you really want to though. It's not an EV, specifically a Tesla.
[OP]
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MrBungal wrote: Since you are not a contractor (like skip or doordash) but actually an employee, can't you also claim the CRA mileage at 0.59$/km?
Yup, I can claim $0.59/km when I do my taxes next year. I'm guessing I get that money right back.
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BDSL wrote: *. OP, according to https://carcosts.caa.ca/, your total ownership cost is low...around $0.35 per km. Changing to a newer vehicle of any kind will yield a higher operation.

Question to ask yourself. If someone stole your vehicle while it is running, how much is your deductible (assuming you have comprehensive coverage)? Is your employer going to pay you since you haven't delivered all the food? It is hard to tell the life of starter/alternator. I have seen it failed at 100k km. I have seen it failed at 300k km. I have seen some that hasn't failed even at +400k km.
My deductible is $500. But if my car were to ever get stolen because I purposely left it running, I for sure would not get any reimbursement.
Last edited by MrDisco on Aug 10th, 2021 1:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"It took eight years for DDP Yoga to become an overnight sensation" - Diamond Dallas Page
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: Yup, I can claim $0.59/km when I do my taxes next year. I'm guessing I get that money right back.
You don't actually get that money back, it's a tax deduction. As a Doordash/Skip/Uber driver, you can't do your taxes like that without risking getting audited. Have to keep a mileage log, calculate expenses and then determine percentage business use.
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CanadianLurker wrote: If it was me I'd shut it off every time:
-- Idling like that wastes gas and spews emissions needlessly
-- Safer to turn off as a running vehicle is an invitation to theft, even in a small town as bored teenagers are everywhere
-- Many vehicles now come with automatic start/stop and they'll cycle off at stop lights, so it does make sense

If you don't already have one get an inexpensive battery charger/maintainer and use it when necessary overnight if the battery isn't fully recovering from the short trips. Plus, at the very least come winter, make sure you have a set of booster cables in the trunk just in case, or get a battery booster power pack so you can boost the battery to get it started solo and charge it up when you get home. Watch for sales at your local Canadian Tire.
Okay I will shut it off each time even though it makes me a bit nervous putting up to 200+ starts on the car each week and it will go up in the winter since it's much busier in the winter.

I do have a battery charger/maintainer on the car, I will plug it in once a week on my day off when at home.

I always thought that all the short on and offs on the car would over the night keep the battery charged since the battery will be fully charged at the start of each shift to begin with since my commute to and from the diner is a 15 minute trip up the highway doing 110km/h.
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mxthor3 wrote: Agreed. My point is, if you're stopping/starting that much without doing enough driving in between it sounds like you could probably do this job on a bike :) If you've got a weak battery or weak alternator all bets are out the window.
My alternator was replaced 2 years ago and my battery is about 1.5 years old, Kirkland brand with the higher CCA. Also as a couple others have already suggested, I have a jumper USB power pack as well. I will definitely have to keep this thing always plugged in the car come winter.
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bear20 wrote: Where is OP delivering to? Like if its to someone's house with a driveway, I don't see why you cant leave the car on idle for 30 secs while you run in and out. If to a condo or apt complex, then turn off the engine.

And yes, I don't get why delivery drivers leave their engines running in public places unattended. Last weekend I was standing around a fire lane at a plaza (waiting for a friend for lunch), a guy parks his new Audi A5 to pick up deliveries inside the restaurant. I could've just hopped in and drove off without any effort...
90% of the time it's to houses or townhouse complexes where I am able to park right in front of their front door. I don't park on driveways because it's quicker to pull up on the curb and drive off. The other 10% of the time will be to condo suites where I have to look for the visitor spot to park in, then run in, buzz them and up the elevator to bring it up to them. The latter, I no doubt always shut it off since it can take up to 7-8 mins depending how quick they answer my buzz and how many floors they are on.

For the houses where I can pull right up to their front door, I obviously try to make it quick as I can but because our transaction machine doesn't have tap, the customer having to manually put in their card and then enter their PIN, then have to wait for it to go through is what takes the longest. Then if they want a copy of the receipt, it's another 10 seconds for it to print. I spend anywhere from 90 seconds - 180 seconds at the front door, depending how long it takes for them to get to the door - and this is with me hustling my ass. I can't do it any quicker than 90 seconds (even if they are right at the door or outside) because our machine doesn't have tap. If it did, it would cut the time in half.

The other day I was doing a delivery and a girl in a Pizza 73 work shirt pulled up at the same time in a very new (probably 2020) Rav 4 and she just parks right in the middle of the road, puts her blinkers on and leaves the car running while running up to the door AND leaves her driver door OPEN! I bet it was a company car but still...
Last edited by DiamondDallasPage on Aug 10th, 2021 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It took eight years for DDP Yoga to become an overnight sensation" - Diamond Dallas Page
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: My deductible is $500. But if my car were to ever get stolen because I purposely left it running, I for sure would not get any reimbursement.
Then the answer is clear.

If your vehicle is stolen, you are potentially lose $500-$7000.
If you starter/alternator/battery goes, it will cost you $300-500.
If you sell your vehicle and get a cheaper EV as advised by some people here, you will have to spend a net of +$10k. However, it will start to generate money for you and you can join the VIP EV club.
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: The other day I was doing a delivery and a girl in a Pizza 73 work shirt pulled up at the same time in a very new (probably 2020) Rav 4 and she just parks right in the middle of the road, puts her blinkers on and leaves the car running while running up to the door AND leaves her driver door OPEN! I bet it was a company car but still...
People do weird things until an incident/accident happens...then they wake up.
I have seen people leaving their valuables (purse / laptop / tablet) in the vehicle in the grocery parking lot.
Sure enough, when I come back out in 1hr, the window is smashed...
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hierophant wrote: It's a no brainer. Shut off the car...you know the thing called climate change? Shocking you have to even consider it let alone ask.

But since so many don't care about our environment another reason why you should is insurance, if it gets stolen.
Did you know engine start emits the most emissions by far? Now, once the car is up to temp it won't be as bad, but they've done studies that show one hot start up is worth like 1-2min of engine idling, one cold startup is worth like 20min of idling.
They're even looking at electrically heating catalytic converters on cars with auto start/stop due to high emissions when restarting.

So OP, I would recommend leaving running if you're staying close to the car and will be less than a minute (like at a house) and stopping it when delivering to an apartment or something.
terry0703 wrote: This is one of the reasons I would definitely like to see 'micro' EVs offered for local delivery-based businesses.
While people may laugh at their lack of size, features, performance, etc, they are perfect substitute for delivery vehicles within the neighbourhood.
Make them run up to 60km/hr - delivery, come back and charge. repeat.
I read that Quebec used to have Renault Twizy available for rent at $99/month, which is extremely affordable for any businesses.

Sorry OP, didn't want to go off topic - back to your question, I'd suggest to shut it off everytime. Running it idle will do pretty much same level of impact on your car, and it definitely doesn't help sustainability.
My relative had a SmartCar EV. I think it was like $99/month. Short range but great if worked for you.
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There are even greener options than a BEV with the added bonus of fitness.
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engineered wrote: Did you know engine start emits the most emissions by far? Now, once the car is up to temp it won't be as bad, but they've done studies that show one hot start up is worth like 1-2min of engine idling, one cold startup is worth like 20min of idling.
They're even looking at electrically heating catalytic converters on cars with auto start/stop due to high emissions when restarting.

So OP, I would recommend leaving running if you're staying close to the car and will be less than a minute (like at a house) and stopping it when delivering to an apartment or something.
What you're saying is generally correct, I'm not sure that the numbers are. I've always seen most analysis just on fuel savings alone and it always comes out that there are 10-15% fuel savings on vehicles equipped with automatic start/stop systems. From there it stands to reason that reduced fuel consumption comes with the added benefit of lower emissions.

But your comments got me thinking and looking around a bit and I found this study:

This study looked at the problem and concluded otherwise. It was initiated to consider the cost/benefit of idling in a drive-thru lane vs shutting off and returning for a re-start shortly afterwards. Here are some points on re-starts with a caveat

• Emissions from restarting were larger, but at least an order of magnitude lower than those from starting a cold engine.
• The catalyst cooled down slowly, so that restarts after times equivalent to a short transaction at a bank or restaurant are unlikely to allow the temperature to drop below light-off and incur large cold-start emissions.

Research Limitations
Data presented here are based on one vehicle at one temperature, with a small number of runs. Therefore, although several conclusions are suggested by this work, generalizations are unwarranted without additional work to confirm the extent to which the results apply

Conclusions
• Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel (Figure 3) and emits more CO2 than engine restarting.
• Idling fuel usage varies from 0.2 to 0.5 gal/h for passenger vehicles across a range of sizes, and increased with idling speed.
• The vehicle warms up faster when driving than it does when idling.
• NOx and THC emissions from restarting are larger, but at least an order of magnitude lower than those from starting a cold engine (Table 2).
• For short stops, it makes sense to turn the vehicle off in order to minimize fuel use and CO2 emissions. At least for the conditions evaluated in this work, the penalty in terms of criteria pollutant emissions is very small compared to 1cold-start emissions.

https://afdc.energy.gov/files/u/publica ... reener.pdf
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: Okay I will shut it off each time even though it makes me a bit nervous putting up to 200+ starts on the car each week and it will go up in the winter since it's much busier in the winter.

I do have a battery charger/maintainer on the car, I will plug it in once a week on my day off when at home.

I always thought that all the short on and offs on the car would over the night keep the battery charged since the battery will be fully charged at the start of each shift to begin with since my commute to and from the diner is a 15 minute trip up the highway doing 110km/h.
Yes, doing 15 minutes on highway before/after shift will help to replenish the battery but since you already have the equipment it won't hurt to keep an eye on battery health and use the maintainer as needed.

And the worry about the extra starter use is understandable, but isn't something I'd worry about on a modern vehicle like yours. Things are better designed & built compared to the 80's/90's when having starter issues was a more common problem. There are plenty of cabbies out there without automatic stop/start systems who are manually turning off to avoid idling dozens of times per shift x 2 or 3 shifts per day on the vehicle. And not just to reduce costs and save gas but they're operating in areas where it is required under by-laws to avoid idling.
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engineered wrote: Did you know engine start emits the most emissions by far? Now, once the car is up to temp it won't be as bad, but they've done studies that show one hot start up is worth like 1-2min of engine idling, one cold startup is worth like 20min of idling.
They're even looking at electrically heating catalytic converters on cars with auto start/stop due to high emissions when restarting.

So OP, I would recommend leaving running if you're staying close to the car and will be less than a minute (like at a house) and stopping it when delivering to an apartment or something.
The engine goes to closed loop pretty quickly so i wonder how much emissions would be saved. On a hot engine it probably happens in far less than a minute as it happens in a cold engine in a minute or two in most cases. However i imagine there are spikes in the graph that make it look good to smooth out.

My relative had a SmartCar EV. I think it was like $99/month. Short range but great if worked for you.
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On my last car, I had a Compustar 2 way remote starter with turbo timer.

The ideal of Turbo timer was to let the car/turbo cool down for a minute or 2 before the engine shut off (you can program how many minutes you want), the car can be locked while the engine is still running.

What I also do is if I just leave the car for less than 2 minutes, like pick up mails or foods or drop off something real quick, I let the car run in turbo timer, leave the car with the key fob on me, lock the door.
Aslong you come back before that 1 minute (or whatever time you programed), put the key back in, it will disable that turbo timer and you can continue driving to your next destination.

It is good so you don't have to shut down the engine every time and you can leave the engine runs and able to lock the door. If you don't come back to the car within 1-2 minutes, the engine just shut off.

i know a 2010 Accord is not turbo charged, but I assume Compustar can get this programmed on any car.
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Also, @MP3_SKY , great idea.
Last edited by MrDisco on Aug 10th, 2021 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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