Smoke exhaust pipe car

During this extreme cold snap, police are reminding drivers not to leave their cars running during cold weather.  As tempting as it is, warming your car while you have that last sip of coffee may at best result in a ticket, at worst, the loss of your vehicle. 

By 9 a.m. Wednesday, car thieves had already stolen at least three idling cars across the city, presumably belonging to motorists trying to warm them up before driving to work.  Last year, over 188 puffing cars were stolen.

The cars are referred to as puffing, because on cold mornings the exhaust is readily visible, identifying running vehicles.  If a thief sees your car running, it’s an open invitation.  If a police officer does, it could result in a fine of more than $100.

If your car has a remote starter, puffing is legal because anti-theft technology prevents a thief from driving off without the key.  And the puffing law does not apply to cars parked on private property in some cities. Drivers should call their city to make sure what their ordinance says.

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