Leaving Car To Warm Up Is Illegal In Kentucky, It's Bait For Thieves, Too | The Schafer Law Office

Leaving Car To Warm Up Is Illegal In Kentucky, It’s Bait For Thieves, Too

Did you know that it’s illegal to leave your car unattended as it’s warming up in Kentucky? KRS 189.430 states “No person operating or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition and removing the key.”​ This may seem harmless, but it turns out you can get fined or worse. In Kentucky, it’s illegal to leave a car unattended and running. This puts you at risk of theft. If you leave your vehicle unattended and running, you could be cited by the police or have your car stolen.

As per the LMPD, if your car gets stolen, there are cases where your vehicle is returned to you. However, there are unfortunate instances where the car can’t be found. Either way, a car is very important to the owner. If they lose it, it is inconvenient not just to owners, but to their family and friends as well.



  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one vehicle is stolen every 45 seconds in the United States.
  • Almost 50% of vehicle theft cases are due to driver error.
  • In 2013 alone, nearly 700,000 vehicles were reported stolen.
  • July and August were found to be the top months for vehicle thefts.
  • In Kentucky, LMPD says that there were 3,201 cases of car theft in 2015 alone. The top months were July through October. Within this period, nearly 1,600 vehicles were reported stolen.

Protecting yourself against car theft
According to experts, warming your car while idling may do more bad than good. Bob Aldrich of the California Energy Commission says that a car warms faster if you just drive it. Letting the car sit for an extended period of time, when it’s not in motion, is also not engine-friendly. This only results in the car engine consuming more gas than necessary, reducing mileage and performing poorly overall. A car engine shouldn’t be left idling longer than a few seconds if possible. Otherwise, it’s better to shut off the ignition altogether.

If you do warm up your car, please don’t leave it unattended. This indirectly welcomes thieves to come over and take advantage of a defenseless vehicle. Also, leaving the engine running while the car is stopped will cost you more than turning it off and restarting it.

Also, if you’re warming up your car, make sure you have your keys and double check that all windows and doors are closed. Never leave valuables inside the car in plain sight, as this will also attract thieves. Anything that can be sold, whether it’s inside or outside of the car, will likely be a target, too. Make sure you hide any valuables or take them with you.

As a Kentucky Car Accident Attorney, I would like to emphasize that warming a car isn’t illegal in Kentucky. Warming a car and leaving it unattended is illegal. Don’t invite thieves to your car but leaving it unattended or leaving valuables in plain sight. Warm your car safely and keep your loved ones and your wallet protected, too.

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