Notice anything different this morning? It's quite a bit colder here in the Capital Region than it has been recently. Before walking the dog I started the car and let it run. I wanted it to be nice and warm when I was ready to head to work. Little did I know I was breaking the law.

It is illegal to warm up your vehicle in New York State.

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The routine of warming up my car, especially in the Winter months has been going on since I got my drivers license. How could it be illegal to warm up your vehicle in New York or anywhere? It's your car, it's not against the law to start your vehicle, so why would it be illegal to let it run?

According to, there are several states that have laws against an individual warming up their car. This action could cause you to be ticketed in Ohio, Michigan, Washington, D.C. California. For us New Yorkers it's a little more complicated.

Photo by Juha Lakaniemi on Unsplash
Photo by Juha Lakaniemi on Unsplash

Under section 1210 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, 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.

If you happen to be sitting in the vehicle you won't get a ticket. In New York City you can leave a vehicle idling for no more than 3 minutes before the possibility of a ticket. The fine ranges from $350 - $2000. Will you continue to warm up your car, truck or SUV?

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