Q: I don’t have a remote starter installed in my car. Is it illegal to leave it running while I go inside my house as it warms up and defrosts the windows?


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A: There is no state law that prohibits it, but most cities have local ordinances against it. In Duluth, it is a violation of City Ordinance 33-91 to leave your vehicle unattended with the keys in it. Check your local city ordinances in reference to this rule.

Leaving your car running unattended is also an invitation for thieves. Just the other day, there was an attempt to locate a stolen vehicle that occurred in the city of Duluth where the owner left the vehicle running unattended. This happens far too often.

There are many vehicle thefts where the vehicle was unattended with the keys inside, doors unlocked, and engine running. This makes it very easy for auto thieves to steal your vehicle. Get into the habit of locking your vehicle each time you are going to leave it and take the keys with you.

By following the below tips, you can reduce your chances of having your vehicle and/or your property inside it stolen.

  • Never leave your car running unattended.
  • Never leave your keys in the vehicle.
  • Always lock your vehicle.
  • Look at purchasing a remote car starter as most of them have built-in security features while your vehicle is running to prevent the vehicle from being driven.
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight. Place valuable items in the trunk if you can’t take them with you.


Send your questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota to trooper@duluthnews.com or Sgt. Neil Dickenson – Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811 . You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NE or reach him at neil.dickenson@state.mn.us.