How to Legally Warm Up Your Car in Minnesota
It never crossed my mind that it might be illegal to warm up my car during cold weather in Minnesota -- and in St. Cloud it's not (with one little exception), but in some parts of the state it is against the law. Who knew?! Here are a few guidelines:
There's no Minnesota state law that restricts the idling of vehicles in order to let them warm up, but some Minnesota cities do have laws on the books.
In St. Cloud there is no law restricting idling and warming up your vehicle, but the police advise against it for another reason. Leaving a vehicle unattended with keys in it is an invitation to criminals. (OK, there is one little law that says on West Saint Germain between 8th and 10th Avenue you can’t idle a car for more than five minutes.)
In Minneapolis you can get a ticket for warming up an attended, unlocked car with the keys in it. And if you're smart enough to get a second set of keys (so you can lock one set inside while the car warms up), Minneapolis law still says that that it cannot idle for more than three minutes.
It's much the same in St. Paul, where you can also be ticketed for warming up an attended, unlocked car with the keys in it. In fact, police officers in St. Paul can take your keys back to the station if they catch you doing it. (Hope they leave a note.)
A remote starter is a great way to go because you can start your car to let it warm up, but the keys are not in it -- which satisfies just about everyone's laws. (Unless you let it go too long in Minneapolis or on West Saint Germain.)