Like many people of a certain age, I was taught to warm up your car engine on a cold morning before driving off. Come to find out, doing so is a crime and could result in a citation.

Wait, whaa?!

Okay, I'm being a bit over dramatic when I state that it's a crime. Yes, it's illegal, but it's only against the law if you start your car and leave it unattended. According to the Texas Transportation Code:

An operator may not leave a vehicle unattended without: (1) stopping the engine; (2) locking the ignition; (3) removing the key from the ignition; (4) setting the parking brake effectively; and (5) if standing on a grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.

And although the El Paso Police Department’s Auto Theft Task Force recently put out a press release warning that leaving your vehicle idling while you run back inside may result in it getting jacked, and that "you may...receive a citation” it's not like they'll be cruising neighborhoods looking for idling, unattended vehicles.

They have way more important things to do. Hey, those donuts aren't going to eat themselves.(Ha! I keed, I keed.)


The law, by the way, does not apply to you if your vehicle has a remote start up system and you are in possession of the key FOB.

And as for the to-warm-up-or-not-warm-up debate, unless you’re rolling in a late model Chevy, mechanics say there's no need to in this modern era of fuel injection and on-board computers. That old timey thinking that you should let your car idle in the cold is only true for carbureted engines.

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