Noise from car engine idling for hours

Hey, first time asking for advice, so be gentle haha

So, we're in Victoria and we have this guy on our street who sits in his car on the road in front of his house for hours at a time with the engine running. The engine is quiet, but the electric fan is very noisy emitting a loud whine and cuts in and out every few minutes. We're 3 houses away and can hear it inside our house. He will often do this from 3pm until late, sometimes 1am and then again from 7am and different times during the day.

Sure, it's a relatively small issue considering what we're going through with COVID-19, but the noise is very annoying (have to use ear plugs at night) and continues most of the day (I'm working in my office in my front room) and there's the completely unnecessary air pollution.

It's beyond me why anyone would sit in their car with the engine running for >12 hours a day. He just sits there and sometimes talks on the phone.

So, after 5 months of this my partner and I approached the guy, told him it was disturbing and polluting, but he became rather irate and told us to mind our own own business and continued since then.

So I was looking to see if any laws are being broken regarding running the car engine continuously and who to report it to?

He may also be contravening stage 4 lock down in Victoria, although obviously not going to spread COVID-19 sitting in his car, it might be a way to stop this,at least after the 8pm curfew if nothing else.

Edit… He lives in the house he parks in front of, possibly with family or friends.

Comments

  • +3

    So when you approached him you didn't ask why? He could be living in the car for all you know and running it for warmth.

    Suggest you call police on their non emergency number (131 444) to ask if it's illegal or a welfare check.

    • +6

      Yeah, that's when he said to mind our business. I should add he lives in the house he parks in front of

      • +10

        With an attitude like that maybe the missus kicked out.

        You can still give the police a call and say you're concerned.

    • +1

      approached him

      People have been killed over less than that. OP will end up on 60 Minutes special about neighbours from hell.

  • +16

    Do other cars pull up alongside him for a chat throughout the evenings?

    • +9

      also, anyone wearing red heels?

    • +20

      Well I did start with hello 👍

  • +19

    It probably wasn't the best idea to approach him the way you did.

    A better way would have been to ask him if he was OK, and you are concerned about how much time he's spending out there.

    He might not have decent cooling/heating in his house, so sits in the car where he can run the AC/heater.

    He might have a rubbish home life, and sitting outside is the best thing for him/his family.

    • +4

      To add to this, he may also have a mental disorder. I know a friend who has a brother who does this, although he does not turn the car on. Just be open to those possibilities. Not saying it is right what he is doing, but approach with caution and open mind.

    • +3

      Yeah, understand…..thanks for that….I don't like confrontations so it's hard to chose the right words, but I wasn't aggressive and tried not to appear angry

    • Possible regarding home life, although it's a fairly affluent neighbourhood and he has a decent sized house, possibly 3-4 bedroom with heating and aircon and the household is generally quiet unlike the bogans further up the street. He just meanders out in his thongs and sits in the car. Of course, we don't know what goes on inside, even if there's nothing obvious.

      • +1

        One word: dutchie

    • He might just work night shifts. And maybe the sound doesn't bother him. Sure a $40 replacement part put in by a $100 an hour mechanic and delivering his car in the day when he usually sleeps is an option. But if the noise doesn't bother him then why would he do all that.

  • uber eats driver?

  • Does he ever actually drive anywhere?

    • +23

      Occasionally disappears for a short time, maybe to get fuel to keep the engine running lol

      • +1

        Ok, so he maybe still has a licence… I was going to suggest reporting it as a suspicious vehicle, if the cops found him sitting in a running vehicle with a cancelled/suspended licence he'd get done for it but if he's fully licenced he's in the clear. They might still decide to have a look through the car if he seems dodgy though.

  • +36

    You sure he wasn't just waiting for a mate?

  • just do a noise complaint… you have tried to talk to him and it seems there are other people being affected.

  • I reckon he's either avoiding a shitty homelife by sitting in his car until everyone goes to bed or he's a drug dealer. Or both.

  • +11

    I'm impressed you were able to take it for 5 months.

  • +8

    During the day I don't think he is doing anything more than being inconsiderate, however during the night there are rules defined by EPA Victoria:

    https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/environmental-infor...

    There are prescribed times when idling an engine is not allowed unless it is for the purposes of moving the vehicle. That being said I have no idea how this would be enforced.

    • Super interesting that basically all noise outside the house have to stop before the curfew time. Makes complete sense, but interesting the kind of policy implications things like lockdowns and curfews have.

      • +5

        Those regulations are unrelated to our current situation. They've been in place for many years.

    • VicPol can be contacted to make enquiries but can’t actually enforce these rules. OP should call the local police station when it’s occurring to make a noise complaint.

  • +5

    Lol that’s rough, people are fools. Feel for you op.

  • +2

    Load up Uber etc apps and see if the guy appears on there. Long shot, but you never know.

    Otherwise file a report at your local police station about a guy behaving suspiciously. Give all the details and hopefully the police will care enough to visit him, check ID, etc. He can be rude to you but that won't work with them. Might be enough to make him move on. Of course there's always the possibility that police will assume he's a 'gig' worker waiting for his next job so won't do anything, but likewise he could be a dumb drug dealer who gets calls every now and then to deliver packages.

    • +1

      and call him up as an Uber to drive you around the block so you don't have the idling engine problem and he has a fare every few minutes?

      everybody wins!

  • I feel for the both of you. Like clearly he's wanting to avoid being inside his house for whatever reason and it's hard when there's no where else we're allowed to be so he could be going through some kind of anxiety.

    Sucks that it impacts you as well. I think you might find it easier if you go into the conversation telling him about how it impacts you but be nice about it. I think because of the curfew now in Vic he cannot be outside after 8PM, so maybe remind him of that. Don't threaten to call the police but just remind him and say you wouldn't want him to get fined.

  • +1

    If he's there after 8:00 pm he's most likely breaking curfew so ring 131444 if he's in his car for more than an hour he's breaking stage 4 restrictions

  • Sounds like he's got a screw loose.

  • Someone didn't correctly explain the rules of curb-crawling to him…

  • Oh wow you did well to last that long. My wife gets annoyed when our neighbour warms his motorbike up for 5 minutes or more. I explained it’s good to warm up any engine although I agree not for that long and especially at 7am or earlier.

    I don’t think the police will be able to help you but local council is probably your best option.

    • +2

      I used to roll my bike down the street to near a block of shops (no residents and down hill) when I’d leave at 5am until my numpty neighbour complained to me in general how noisy my bike was during the day and that this was a “peaceful street before i arrived”. Guess what courtesy i stopped doing?

  • +1

    Banana up the tail pipe?

    • +3

      Nah, he ain't falling for no banana in no tailpipe.

      • perhaps some sort of cylindrical fruit in his exhaust might work then?

  • +6

    Call EPA, if I remember right you are only allowed to have engine running after 10pm to return home or start your car and go. No unnecessary idling.. I had a boy racer on my street doing the same for way too long. I made the noise complaint and they even made him go and get the vehicle checked for excess noise.

    And yes folks that was after asking politely for months on end and constantly being woken up all hours of the day and night.. Local council will do nothing for you. You need to go above them.

    • -9

      Please can you tell us all how to be the perfect neighbors. You sound like a joy to live near.

      • First step is to be patient for months. Next step is to make a noise complaint.

        Also, in general. Don't make noise between 12am and 8am.

  • Just ring the police and tell them a suspicious car is parked each day with the engine running and let them pay him a visit.

      • +3

        What allegation?

        • -2

          A false allegation of a "suspicious" car.

          Police will found there is nothing suspicious. Unusual and perhaps against regulations but not suspicious. Car owner will report back to the police that the complainer (the OP) came and harassed him about being there.

          So the cops will asses there was nothing suspicious or illegal, just a cheap vendetta, a fabrication, from the complainer.

          Here comes the charges …

          • +1

            @LFO: You don't know what you're talking about.
            An allegation is a statement that someone has done something illegal.
            Looking suspicious is not illegal, therefore stating someone looks suspicious is not an allegation. It's an observation and the police can choose to act on it at their discretion, usually based on the details provided and/or their knowledge of the people/area involved.

  • +7

    Probably owns a Nintendo switch and bought the witcher

  • +5

    Which car brand/ model yr is this. Petrol or diesel?
    Can you confirm the exact distance from the car to where u sit in ur home office and number of sound barriers in between.
    Seems odd. Distance 3 houses, decent neighborhood, hope fully double glazed windows, nice lot sizes, seems u r atleast 50 meters from the car and still hear noise it doesn't add up!
    Whats happens noise wise when a car just passes exactly in front of ur house?

    • +1

      Please don't be logical or reasonable.

      It doesn't help.
      We supposed to hate the noisy bugger.

      /s

      • I didn't suggest to hate anyone. Of course I can hear cars passing by.

        So how about I park in front of your house and play music in my car until 1am every day? Not loud, but the same volume as a passing car, so you can hear it in your lounge and bedroom. On and off, 12 hours a day, until 1am….are you happy?

        • -2

          Playing music versus running a car in idle.
          Sorry but no comparison.

        • Sure just park 3 houses away. Other 6 neighbours who are closer to the car will sort it out.
          So the bedroom, office and lounge are all on the front of the house?

    • high speed radiator/AC fans can be quite loud, especially if controller is broken and running at failsafe 100%
      eg. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqOSHzrto5Q&ab_channel=Vauxh...

  • +23

    So pull up in your car behind him and honk every 5 minutes or when he goes to talk on the phone.

    Then tell him to mind his own business when he asks you to stop.

    • +7

      Modern problems require modern solutions…

  • almost like it's some strange psychological experiment….

  • +2

    Option B:

    Instead of asking to stop, start a friendly chat asking why.

    At least you'll get a reason, probably a very valid reason, as in why and perhaps you'll be more tolerant.

    Remember THERE IS a valid reason.
    Not for you, but indeed there is one very valid reason for your neighbor to do it.

  • +3

    Thanks for all your suggestions, I think I'll just give the police non-emergency line a call, see if they can check everything is ok at least . He's out there now, 10.50pm, way past curfew.

    How can I close the thread?

    Cheers

    • +5

      Why would you do that?
      How come there's no update to this car-sitting episode?

    • +7

      God forbid you've created a masterpiece. Don't close the thread and leave me hanging like a Good Girls episode. I need to know what happens.

  • +2

    Repair his car for him secretly.

    • Repair what? It's normal for electric thermo fans to run when idling, they compensate for no natural airflow.

      • Surely the car isn’t designed to make such a horrible noise when idling.

        • While not designed to ‘make a horrible noise’ it is designed to make air flow through the radiator when the car isn’t moving, idling. Unfortunately moving a large quantity of air involves a fan which makes noise. Some are worse than others.

          • @Euphemistic: If it didn't originally make such a noise when idling and flowing air and doing whatever, then it might be a defective vehicle.

            • @AustriaBargain: Dozens of different models make this noise. It’s normal.

              • @Euphemistic: So it made this same noise when it was brand new and when all the replaceable parts had zero hours on them?

  • Ask him to Google car idling and glazed bores.

  • +12

    I would park my car directly in front of his, facing his, so both of us are in our drivers seats, just staring at each other, all day. Try this for a few days.

  • +4

    I know this might sound like a cop out, but times are really tough at the moment, for a lot of people - particularly for mental health.

    People who have never had to deal with loss of income/unusually high mortgage or rent stress/physical confinement are being hit with all three at once… 5 months ago sounds about when covid hit us here in Aus?

    Everybody deals with mental stress and health differently. As much as we may not understand as an outsider and can rationally say "that's weird or annoying", it's probably better for him to do this than try to bottle it all up and put on a 24/7 brave face for his family.

    And from the flip side, if you were out and about, living life normally - would you even notice, let alone care?

  • +1

    With the VIC curfew past 8pm could you call the police??

  • +5

    I'll just provide a different view on this. Ultimately you don't know the guy's situation, he might be in an abusive household where his only escape is sitting in his car. If I had to sit in my car in the current Melbourne weather, I would almost have to keep the engine on just to keep the heating going.

    Is it a bit strange? Yes, sure, but just given what's going on right now, there are far worse things that he could be doing. There's no point being petty. At the end of the day, he's not hurting anybody. Try get some perspective when there are people doing far worse things on the daily.

    So I was looking to see if any laws are being broken regarding running the car engine continuously and who to report it to?

    It's not illegal to sit in a car and have the engine running.

    He may also be contravening stage 4 lock down in Victoria, although obviously not going to spread COVID-19 sitting in his car, it might be a way to stop this,at least after the 8pm curfew if nothing else.

    Don't be a dick - even by your admission he's not spreading COVID-19 sitting in his car, so why make his life harder.

    • Not being a dick… We're all suffering in our own ways, although this started before COVID-19.

      We all have to live together, by being considerate to others… If I'm a dick to other people and disturbing their right to a peaceful life, then I expect someone to come down hard on me.

      So… You don't know my suffering or situation … As I say above…. how about I park in front of your house and play music in my car until 1am every day? Not loud, but the same volume as a passing car, so you can hear it in your lounge and bedroom. On and off, 12 hours a day, until 1am….are you happy? Do you assume my situation is bad and therefore accept it?

      If someone breaks into your home and steals from you because they're suffering financially from COVID-19 restrictions, do you just ignore? I think you hypocritically think other should excuse such behaviour until it happens to you, only then is it not ok.

      • +4

        If someone breaks into your home and steals from you because they're suffering financially from COVID-19 restrictions, do you just ignore? I think you hypocritically think other should excuse such behaviour until it happens to you, only then is it not ok.

        This is a stupid argument. He's not breaking into your house and stealing from you.

        We all have to live together, by being considerate to others… If I'm a dick to other people and disturbing their right to a peaceful life, then I expect someone to come down hard on me.

        Being considerate goes both ways.

        So… You don't know my suffering or situation … As I say above…. how about I park in front of your house and play music in my car until 1am every day? Not loud, but the same volume as a passing car, so you can hear it in your lounge and bedroom. On and off, 12 hours a day, until 1am….are you happy? Do you assume my situation is bad and therefore accept it?

        I honestly wouldn't give a flying fcuk. I used to live on a main road where cars were driving past at all hours of the day and night. I've also lived in countries where it's absolutely normal for people to be riding around on motorbikes and scooters beeping the horn at everyone and everything. I've also lived near train tracks where freight trains thunder through during the night. When I was in uni, I lived in share houses where my housemates would watch TV into the early hours of the morning.

        On top of that, again, he's not sitting in front of your house playing music. He is sitting three houses away running his car. I honestly simply cannot believe that you can hear a running car three houses away from inside your house.

        By your own admission:

        Sure, it's a relatively small issue ,,,

        Which I'm just reaffirming. Not sure what you want to be done about it.

      • "If someone breaks into your home and steals from you"

        Terrible argument. Noise pollution Vs break and enter, hahaha. Yeah totally the same thing.

  • -1

    In all honesty, he's probably sitting out there shooting heroin. Maybe at some point there was an argument that ended "I don't want that shit in my house any more" so he sits in the car to get high, and stays there all afternoon/night on the nod. It would explain why nobody from his house ever bothers to check on why he's sitting out front for hours on end with the engine running day after day - they know what's going on and don't want any part of it.

    Get the cops to check on him because one day he'll pass out and never wake up.

    • In all honesty…

      In all honesty, he's probably sitting out there talking over the phone topics that he doesn't want his household to hear.

      Perhaps swearing to bogan employees so they have their jobs done on time.

      Perhaps trying to secure a job as he is very desperate.

      Perhaps talking to a suicidal relative.

      Perhaps betting on dogs.

      Perhaps talking to a relative that others hate.

      Perhaps.

      But for sure he is doing what he is doing for a real valid reason.
      For him.
      The house owner, the car owner, the one that pays for fuel, rego and insurance.

      A convivial lifestyle is not that hard.

      • you forgot perhaps fapping
        and browsing ozbargain
        .

        • Simultaneously?…

        • fapping

          Needed to Google check that one. No familiar with that.
          Anyhow, not 12 hours a day as stated … for 5 months …

      • +1

        12 hours a day for 5 months+ is a long time to be doing these things

        • -1

          What is wrong with work from his phone? Organizing his coworkers.

          Some people do work long hours.
          Not everyone just sits and watches TV
          Need to accept that bit.

          12 hours a day for 5 months+

          Have you being watching him for 12 hours a day for 5 months+
          That is almost stalking!!!!

        • Exactly. Pretty "habitual".

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