Why do some people let their vehicle motors idle?

Specifically, commercial type vehicles. This might just be confirmation bias, but here goes:
I had a windshield replaced a while back. Guy took about 45 minutes. He let his delivery van idle the whole time.

Yesterday I had a new refrigerator delivered. One of the guys that would have been working the truck hadn’t shown up, so the delivery guy did the whole job by himself. He was here 75 minutes. Delivery truck idled the whole time.

Now, in both cases, they were not wasting time. They were doing their job the whole time, so I have no issue that that. I just don’t get the point of letting your vehicle idle needlessly–to me, anyway.

Maybe it’s just a local thing. But I have to assume that it’s not that rare elsewhere.

(And this is not an area known for bitter temps where you have to keep your motor running or it won’t start up.)

My local bus station has signs telling the drivers to turn off their engines, which they do. In the town there is a street where buses park for 15-20 minutes … here they leave their engines running. The fumes waft into the shops, including a cafe and through the entrance of a large shopping mall … which creates an odour throughout the mall. This has been going on for years … most people’s sense of smell is such that they don’t realise that they are being exposed to toxic gases that have an effect on their health.

shrug maybe they wanted to keep the A/C running?

Were they diesels? maybe it’s one of those things they do because they think they’re supposed to. Older medium/heavy truck engines had no cold-start aids (such as glow plugs) and were an absolute bitch to start when cold. and by “cold” I mean 50-60F or lower. modern diesels need none of that nonsense.

I love when people go out to get ice cream cones, and then sit in their idling car with the AC going.

Nothing like enjoying the weather on a beautiful summer day! I’m in Vermont, so it’s like, what, 75 degrees out?

Maybe they had an ac invertor that was charging batteries for cordless tools? Just a guess.

As River Hippie noted, there is a chance they are using a power inverter to charge or operate equipment in the truck. My work Explorer has an 1100 watt inverter inside that is on constantly. It will kill the truck battery in less than 3 hours if I don’t pay attention.

Therefore the truck runs pretty much the entire day I am at work, or it is plugged into an outlet charging to keep the battery full.

I have a neighbor that does this all the time… He’ll go out in his PJs in the morning, start his truck and leave it idling for anywhere between 20 - 45 minutes. He has 3 trucks, all of them loud and he does this with everyone of them.

Or he’ll crank one up and then go smoke 3 or 4 cigarettes on the front porch for 30 minutes… Or he’ll drive up in the evening and sit in his truck talking on his cell phone with the truck running for 20 minutes. He does this crap daily. He is also NOT the kind of person I can have a reasonable discussion with about how annoying this is.

He’ll probably stop doing this when one of them is stolen out of his driveway.

There are periodically stories about people who left an unlocked car running “because I was only going to go back inside for a minute” and guess what? Someone jumped in and drove it away.


In MA, it is illegal to idle a car engine for more than 5 minutes.

I always wondered why ambulances stopping outside our hospital left their engines running for long periods, when no one was in the vehicle. Then I found out that this is a common practice due to all of the electrical equipment that the engine needs to run to keep charged up, plus the meds carried onboard may not be viable outside a certain temperature range. Makes sense.

On the other hand, I see school buses idling frequently, including ones with no passengers stopped in the parking lot of a nature preserve a mile from my house (I’m guessing the drivers like to stop off for a smoke before picking up the kiddies). This apparently is an environmental issue.

Because the truck drivers are not the ones paying for the gas.

In both cases they may have needed the engine running to power things. Autoglass guys often have an oven for their adhesives and the appliance delivery truck uses a lift gate.

During the winter in freezing temperatures my business vehicles spend a lot of time idling to keep the inside warm. Some of my equipment can be damaged if it freezes and some things are difficult to work with cold. Also it could be it’s -15 out and I just want a warm cab to step into to dry off and warm up in.


Because 95% of Big Tuff Truck Drivers need to prove how cool it is to hear their Big Tuff Truck rattle away and there’s huge peer pressure among Big Tuff Truck Drivers not to buck that tradition and suffer major penal shrinkage. Who knows when it’ll suddenly drop 50+ degrees and their Big Tuff Engine won’t start. :rolleyes:

And some do work in cold weather.

I don’t own or drive a truck and I still think that was the stupidest post I read in the last month.

Yeah, when it’s 20 below, I doubt this law is followed much.

I know the law exists, I’ve never known an instance of it being enforced. I guess if you’re in Boston they might pay attention.

by “loud,” do you mean they’re diesels? if so, he’s doubly stupid because diesels warm up extremely slowly. and extremely slowly if just idling. In fact, some did tricks like my 2000 Ram with the Cummins turbodiesel did; if left to idle cold after about a minute it would go to high idle then switch to running on only 3 of the 6 cylinders in order to try to generate some heat.

I just plugged in the goddamn engine block heater.

Almost as stupid as needing a 150+HP motorcycle and for pretty much the same reasons.

post a list of everything you own, and I’m sure we’ll come up with reasons most of them are stupid.

Yes, I have one of those and enjoy riding it very much. I’ve posted enough about it here that it is something less than a secret. Your previous post was still remarkably stupid. Attempts to link possession of vehicles or guns to penis size are tediously so.