NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With bitter cold temperatures, we’re all guilty of going out in the morning and warming up the car before we head on our way, either to defrost the windshield or just to make the car’s bitter cold interior more comfortable.
However, leaving your car running for any length of time unattended could open up the risk for thieves to break into your vehicle, stealing your belongings or even the entire vehicle itself.
Now, you’re probably thinking this is common sense. However, you’d be surprised by how many people continue to open themselves to the risk.
From the time period of Sunday, Nov. 22 to Saturday, Nov. 28, Metro Police reported 43 of 52 vehicles stolen in Nashville-Davidson County were easy targets because the keys were left inside or made available to thieves. That means 80% of stolen vehicles that week were taken with keys.
MNPD also stated that during that same time frame, 15 guns were stolen from the vehicles with four of those vehicles left unlocked. So far, nearly 700 guns have been stolen this year from vehicles in the county.
And not only are you exposing yourself to thieves by leaving your car running unattended, it’s also illegal in some areas including Nashville-Davidson County. Vehicle owners could be held liable for their vehicles stolen and could face fines.
If your car has remote start, you may be exempt from idling laws depending on where you live because it is nearly impossible for thieves to drive away without your car keys. However, experts suggest that warming up your car by idling is ineffective and harmful for the environment.
Since your car is made up of moving parts, idling is a slower process to warm up and it’s more effective to just drive off slowly. Idling also burns fuel faster, which can cost you money. By not idling, you can help improve air quality.
So, what can you do to warm things up and get where you’re going quickly?
According to AutoZone, it shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds for your car to be ready to drive thanks to modern fuel injector systems. Newer cars are more effective at this. For older cars, a fuel additive may be added to your gas tank for better results.
Start by driving slowly for about five to ten minutes, whether around the block or down the street to get the engine, wheels, brakes, and other moving parts of your car warmed up. During this time, you can also defrost your windshield faster and warm up your car’s interior faster.
You should make sure your windshield is free of ice, snow, or other particles before driving. If your windshield is fogged up, AutoZone recommends keeping the inside of your windshield clean and clear of moisture. You can do this by wiping your windshield with a lint-free microfiber cloth.
If your windows are still foggy, wait one minute for the defroster to heat up before driving off. Also consider investing in tools to aid in the process such as an ice scraper, windshield de-icing liquid, or a snow brush.
By allowing some extra time in your daily routine on especially cold mornings, you can ensure that you don’t make a costly mistake and make yourself a target for criminals.
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