Last Updated on 2023-09-08

How Bad Is DoorDash For Your Car, Really?

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Phil Grossman

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

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Ryan Shaw

5 years of experience as a DoorDash Dasher

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Michael Vaness

6 years of experience working across DoorDash, Instacart, and Spark

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Scott Jones

7 years of experience working across DoorDash, Lyft, Amazon Flex, and Instacart

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, or insurance advice. The content contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments or other changes. Any reader should consult with a legal, tax, or insurance professional to obtain advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

A car is a depreciating asset — a new car loses around 10% of its value the moment you buy it and drive it off the dealer’s lot and loses another 15-20% each year. The more you drive your car, the more miles it racks up, and the more its value decreases. 

Unfortunately, driving for DoorDash means adding miles to your odometer, and that means your car will lose value, accumulate wear and tear, and you’ll run the risk of accidents and repairs. 

There’s no way around that reality — if you’re going to be a Dasher, you should be aware that taking your car out on the road so often won’t be good for it. But cars are meant to be driven, so whether or not you consider that increased use bad depends on your own personal risk tolerances. 

Luckily, there are several ways to dash while minimizing these risks — or in some cases, completely eliminate them. 

Understanding the risks: how driving for DoorDash affects your car

Every time you get out on the road, whether it’s for a drive to the grocery store or a cross country road trip, you assume some amount of risk: you could get into an accident, perhaps your drive train will suddenly fail, or maybe your car will suddenly burst into flames due to an unknown manufacturer defect. 

All of these are possibilities, but some are clearly more likely than others, and we prepare accordingly. We take precautions like wearing a seatbelt, driving sober, and getting regular inspections to reduce the risk of accidents and costly repairs, but we don’t plan in advance for the possibility of spontaneous combustion. 

All that’s to say that risk is inherent in driving, but we still drive if we feel the benefits outweigh the risks. To decide whether DoorDash is worth it for you, the first thing you need to do is make sure you understand the risks, their likelihood, and their severity. 

Wear and tear

It’s a bit inaccurate to call wear and tear a risk because it’s more of a certainty: if you drive a car, it will accumulate wear and tear. The degree of wear and tear, however, is somewhat up to chance — you could drive a car for 100,000 miles and have minimal damage, or you could get a big scratch on the passenger side door on your first day of ownership. 

Wear and tear is damage that comes from normal, day-to-day use of your car. According to the AAA, you can expect the cost of wear and tear and routine maintenance to come to about $0.10 per mile over a 5-year period — and speaking of the AAA, getting a membership can really help you out when you find yourself in a pinch while dashing.

Since the cost of wear and tear increases with every mile you drive, if you drive for DoorDash, you’ll be driving more miles than usual, and your wear and tear cost will increase accordingly. For every 10,000 miles you drive, you should expect about $1,000 in costs arising from wear and tear.

How many miles DoorDash will put on your car is up to you — you can work as much (subject to local availability) or as little as you want (that’s one of the benefits of being self-employed). But if you work an 8-hour day, let’s say you drive between 50 and 100 miles during that time. If you Dash 260 days each year, you would put between 13,000 and 26,000 miles on your car, or between $1,300 and $2,600 in wear and tear.

Scott Jones, who has been dashing for three years, says “I have heard many smart Redditer, who are full-time Doordash drivers, say they are putting 10% away per month for the inevitable car expense. Meaning, a car wreck, the transmission goes out, or eventually, put towards buying a new one. This is smart thinking.”


Depreciation occurs whether you drive your car or not. Age in itself lowers the value of the car (at least until you reach a certain threshold and the car becomes a classic, but we’ll assume you’re not planning on dashing in a Model T). 

According to the AAA, you can estimate that depreciation will give you around a $3,600 loss in value every year over a five-year period. But remember, that number has nothing to do with Dashing so long as you’re using the car you normally drive. The depreciation only matters if you’re considering buying a new car for Dashing only. 


Accidents are the least likely risk, but they also have the most severe consequences. You can mitigate the risk of having a serious accident by taking a defensive driving course, not driving when tired or under the influence, and through many other strategies, but sometimes accidents are entirely out of your control. 

Michael Vaness, who has been dashing for one year, tells us about a time when “just this morning, I was doing a dash and a driver was weaving in and out of traffic, not using a blinker and I had to swerve left of center to avoid hitting him. It's a good idea to stay aware of other drivers while driving.”

It’s also possible to mitigate the risk of serious accidents by avoiding highway driving, but there’s a tradeoff: you’ll be increasing your risk of minor accidents by driving on local roads. 

The risk of serious accidents can be measured per mile, and it varies depending on where you are in the world. In the United States, there are 1.5 deaths per 100 million miles driven. That means that for every mile you drive, your risk of getting into a fatal accident is 0.0000015% — pretty small. If you drive full-time for DoorDash and drive 13,000-26,000 miles per year, your risk of getting in a fatal accident each year would be between 0.0195% and 0.039%.

If you’re Dashing in Canada or Australia, your risk is significantly lower, at only 0.74 and 0.73 deaths per 100 million miles, respectively.

Clearly, the amount you drive and where you drive has a pretty substantial impact on the risk of getting into an accident. Thankfully, the absolute risk is still pretty low, but the outcome is very serious. 

The risk of minor accidents is higher than the numbers here, but the outcome is less severe. When it comes to minor accidents and fender benders, the biggest risk is usually financial — repairs can be expensive. But if you have a good car insurance policy, you can reduce those risks. 

How to make dashing as safe and cost-effective as possible

There’s no way to bring the risk of an accident down to zero or make wear and tear go away. But you can employ strategies to reduce these risks and the costs associated with them. 

Choose the right car (or other vehicle) for the job

Wear and tear to your car is the one risk you can entirely get rid of if you DoorDash without a car: just dash with a bike, scooter, or motorcycle instead. Each of these vehicles will still have wear and tear, but it won’t be to your car, and the costs will be less. 

DoorDash has almost no car requirements, so you have a lot of flexibility if you do choose to dash with a car. You can always choose to drive a less expensive car: wear and tear will be more expensive on a brand new luxury car than it will be on a 2008 Subaru Forester. 

However, there’s a tradeoff: dashing on a bike is significantly more dangerous in the United States (but it is safer than driving in some countries, so check out the statistics for your country). Dashing on a motorcycle is always more dangerous than driving. 

Plus, older cars tend to have fewer safety features and less robust engineering, meaning that although dashing in a beat-up Toyota Camry from 2006 might save you money in terms of wear and tear and depreciation, it will be a lot more dangerous than driving a brand-new car (especially if you drive a car known for its safety features, like a Volvo or Subaru). 

Some people consider getting a rental car for DoorDash so that they don’t impact their own car. Usually, this doesn’t make much sense financially, but it may under some circumstances. 

Get a good car insurance policy

DoorDash requires you to meet your state’s minimum car insurance requirements to become a Dasher. But those minimums don’t usually give you comprehensive coverage against accidents, disasters, injuries, and other unforeseen events. 

Choosing a car insurance policy that will cover you if you get into an accident can put your mind at ease and save you money in the long run. 

Keep in mind that car insurance companies do not like covering delivery drivers. Scott says that it’s become common knowledge among the DoorDash community on Reddit that GEICO will cancel your plan if they find out you’re dashing — and other insurers are starting to do the same. 

Drive safe

Even if you can’t control other cars on the road, you can control yours, and that can go a long way. If you want to give yourself the best shot at avoiding an accident, you can take a defensive driving course, take driving lessons to improve your skills, avoid driving under dangerous conditions (for example, during storms, during rush hour, or on roads known to be dangerous), and drive sober. Getting a good night’s sleep is also important — the risk of driving on only 4-5 hours of sleep is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%.  

Ryan Shaw, who has been dashing for three years, also recommends getting a phone mount to reduce distracted driving. “Invest in a phone mount if possible and within your budget. With your phone being a critical part of the job, it's much safer in a mount where you still have a peripheral view of the road, rather than in your hand where you have to take your eyes completely off the road to look at it.”


Q: Can you write off car repairs for DoorDash?

A: It depends. You’ll have to choose between deducting standard mileage expenses (the dollar per mile rate that the IRS sets every year) or your actual expenses. 

If you choose to write off your actual expenses, you can write off your car repairs, but usually not the whole amount. If you’re using your personal vehicle (the same one you drive to go to the store or to pick your kids up at school), then you can only deduct the percentage that is related to your work. So, if 50% of your car usage is for DoorDash, you can only deduct 50% of the repair bill. If you have a car that you only use for dashing, then you can deduct 100% of the bill. 

Q: Does DoorDash help with car repairs?

A: DoorDash doesn’t directly pay for car repairs, but Dashers can get car maintenance discounts through CarAdvise after signing up for DasherDirect (subject to approval).

Get started Dashing

Ready to start earning on your own schedule? Sign up now to become a Dasher — it takes just 5 minutes, and you can start earning within days (subject to Dasher approval and local availability). 

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