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Guidelines To Warm Up Your Car Legally In Cold Weather

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- On cold mornings like this, your car may need a few minutes to warm up before you take off.

But be careful how you warm up your car. There are rules on how it should be done legally depending on where you live.  In many cities, it's against the law to leave your car unattended with the keys inside.

In both Minneapolis and St. Paul, you could get a ticket for leaving your car idling with the keys in it. And in St. Paul, if a cop finds you doing this, that officer can take your keys to the police station.

To play by the rules and have a warm car, more and more drivers are having remote car starters installed. That way you can stay in your warm house the whole time your car is warming up. It is legal to leave your car idling with a remote starter because there are no keys in the ignition, and the car can't move without the keys.

At Dealer Automotive in Hopkins, they're so busy with installations you have to wait a week to get in. Owner Steve Rush says remote starters don't void any car warranties if they are put in properly.

"It's a common misconception being in the business, we try to calm them a little bit," Rush said. "It most definitely should be done by a professional. My guys in the shop here having been doing it in upwards for 20 years. It's very involved."

If you try to lock your running car, be careful not to break the Minneapolis idling law which is set at three minutes. Those remotes start at $300.

The higher end models -- the ones you start from your phone -- can be closer to $700.

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