It's easy to forget and it's convenient but you might rethink warming up that car this winter in the Tri-Cities.

Warming up your car during the winter is actually against the law in the Tri-Cities and Washington State.

Is It Ilegal To Warm Up Your Car In Washington State?

Don't worry, we are guilty of it but do you realize that even if you have a remote start on your car, it's still illegal.

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I'm sure you are thinking that the law has to do with someone coming along and stealing your car but that isn't the case. The law is in effect because of the environment and vehicle emissions.

Washington D.C. Police Could Fine You $5000 For An Idling Vehicle

Washington isn't the only state that makes it illegal to warm up your car. Washington D.C. police can fine you up to $5000 if they catch you idling your car. Almost all states have some sort of law against the warming up of your car on a cold winter morning.

Here is the official statute and law:

“No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine,” the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.600

"Idling" means the running of an engine which supplies the motive power for a vehicle, when not for the purpose of moving the vehicle with the normal flow of traffic on a street or roadway. Idling does not include running the vehicle's engine while stopped at a traffic signal or waiting for the passage of other vehicles to permit safe entry into the flow of traffic

The good news is that there are exceptions so before pointing a finger and calling the police, here are some of the exemptions to the law:

What Are The Exceptions To The Idling Rule In Washington State

Idling Permitted.

To the extent necessary for the specified purpose, idling is permitted in the
following cases:

a. police, sheriff or other law enforcement vehicles, including meter patrols,
as required for safe and effective performance;

b. fire department vehicles, ambulances and other emergency vehicles when
responding to an emergency or when the use of special equipment requires
that the engines remain in operation;

c. construction or demolition equipment or other machinery when actually
employed at the site of such work, and only to the extent necessary for
efficient operation;

d. trucks, buses, or automobiles equipped with lift gates, winches, or other
devices powered by take-offs from their engines, to the extent necessary to
allow the use of those devices provided; provided, however, that this
the subsection does not authorize idling solely for the purpose of operating
any heating device, radio, power-assisted brakes, steering, seat adjustment
or any luxury device not then required for the safe operation of the vehicle;

e. vehicles participating in parades

f. buses or other mass transit vehicles while operated on a regular schedule.

I'm sure you've seen many vehicles idling but it's all perfectly legal when it falls under certain provisions.

Overall, it is illegal to let your car idle in Washington State so it's something to always be aware of. You can read more about the law here.

Happy Motoring!

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