Did you know warming up your car on a cold central New York morning is not only illegal, but experts say it can actually do more harm than good, suggesting only warming it for 30 seconds. 30 seconds?! In central New York, on a morning when it's 20 below. I don't think so!

If you leave your car running to warm up with keys in the ignition, even in your own driveway, it's against section 1210 of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law, if it's left unlocked.

The law states, "No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the vehicle, and effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway, provided, however, the provision for removing the key from the vehicle shall not require the removal of keys hidden from sight about the vehicle for convenience or emergency."

In addition to helping prevent air pollution, it also cuts down on vehicle thefts, which have been occurring lately in Utica. The Utica Police Department has taken dozens of stolen vehicle reports from owners who left their car running unattended, with either the key fob in the car or keys in the ignition.

Leaving your car running could also cause damage. Popular Mechanics says warming up your car “does not prolong the life of your engine; in fact, it decreases it by stripping oil away from the engine’s cylinders and pistons.”

The US Department of Energy suggests warming up your vehicle for no more than 30 seconds. "The engine will warm up faster being driven, which will allow the heat to turn on sooner, decrease your fuel costs, and reduce emissions."

30 seconds?! These suggestions have to be for someone living in the south right? It takes longer than than to clear off all the snow and ice from cars in the Northeast. And who the heck is driving in 20 below weather after only warming up a car for 30 seconds? No one is central New York that's for sure. Not even someone who has a garage, unless of course it's heated.

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