EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- This time of the year, we go out, start our vehicle, and get ready to roll.
there is an ordinance in the City of Eau Claire against leaving your car unattended while it's running parked on any street, parking lot, public ground or alley. If your car is stolen under the circumstances, the fine can be hefty – a $213.10 citation, along with losing your ride.
However, there are those who let it run while we go back inside and warm up.
"You're much more comfortable sitting in your house looking at your drinking warm cup of coffee while your car warms up, but it's not really a good idea," Bob Adams of Adams Automotive in Eau Claire, said to WEAU 13 News on Tuesday.
Not only is it a bad idea, Eau Claire is one of several cities in Wisconsin with an ordinance against leaving your car unattended while it's running parked on any street, parking lot, public ground or alley.
If your car is stolen under the circumstances, the fine can be hefty – a $213.10 citation, along with having your car stolen.
"I think the purpose – both here and other places – is to make sure that people don't become easy targets for theft of their vehicles and police resources aren't wasted," City of Eau Claire deputy attorney Douglas Hoffer said to WEAU 13 News on Tuesday.
While the punishment sounds harsh, Officer Kyle Roder with the Eau Claire Police Department said it's a situation which could be easily avoided.
"After a situation becomes serious enough that somebody has allowed their vehicle to become a target of theft, our officers spend a great deal of time investigating that and going through the court process, the fine is justified in that point," he said to WEAU 13 News on Tuesday.
Roder did say the rule is enforced on a case-by-case basis and that there were just two citations issued last year under the ordinance.
Through it all, Adams said the return of cold temps into the Chippewa Valley means extra care must be made to vehicles. He said about 75 percent of his recent business has been tied to the cold weather, with 11 vehicles towed in just today.
He said two big things to watch for when it gets really cold – make sure your batteries are running well and tires are properly inflated.
Adams said most auto manufacturers tell you to let your car run for about 10 minutes before you head out during these winter months. While it may sound rough, the best advice he offers is simple.
"Take that cup of coffee with you in an insulated mug and sit in the car while you're warming up," he said.