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How to legally warm up your car when it is cold outside

Eau Claire (WQOW) – When the temperatures drop, many of us take the time to warm up the car before heading out, but police say some people might be breaking the law.

Year-round in the city of Eau Claire, it’s against city ordinance to leave your keys unattended in a vehicle.

The rule applies to public property such as streets, alleyways and even parking lots of grocery stores and gas stations.

Eau Claire police officer Josh Miller said the ordinance speaks specifically to keys, so if you can remotely start your car with the doors locked, you’re legal.

The rule doesn’t apply to private property like your driveway, but Miller said you’re still taking a risk.

“The purpose of the ordinance is to discourage motor vehicle theft,” Miller said. If people are leaving their keys in a vehicle, especially in the wintertime when people know that keys are going to be left in a vehicle for warming up, it’s easier for a thief to obviously come by and take your car.”

Miller said if your car is stolen while it warms up, you could face a fine of $213 for leaving the keys unattended.

Katrina Lim

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