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Don’t Be a Victim of “Warm-Up Theft”

Warm up theft

The snow and cold weather has hit us early this year here in Toronto. So we thought it would be a good time to talk about the idea of “warm-up theft” and how you can avoid falling prey, while also doing your part to minimize your carbon emissions.

Warm-up theft refers to car theft that occurs when someone has left their car running outside  unattended to warm it up before commencing their drive, making it an easy target for thieves. When the temperatures plummet and it’s bitterly cold, many turn to this tactic to avoid the unpleasantness of clambering into a frigid vehicle. But doing so certainly comes with risks.

As York Regional Police tweeted on November 7, a car owner in Markham had their BMW stolen while it was warming up in the driveway. According to the Toronto Police, every winter season there are several car thefts that occur because of this unmonitored warming up. Don’t let this be you!

So what is the alternative (apart from freezing inside your vehicle while you wait for it to warm)? Jeniffer Sidhu with the Toronto police suggests this:

“If you’re going to start your vehicle and leave it unattended prior to heading out, always get a remote car starter, or have two sets of keys,” she says. “Warm up your vehicle, start it and then have it locked so when you return, you open with another set of keys to prevent warm-up theft.” (source: Yahoo News)

Alternatively, you can ditch the lengthy warm-up altogether. Kristine D’Arbelles, the senior manager of public affairs with CAA National, says that the idea of having all the ice completely melted off before driving is not really necessary, especially with newer cars that definitely warm-up faster when the car is actually being driven as opposed to just idling. She suggests having the car on while you are doing the necessary ice removal, and then driving slower and more cautiously than usual to start your drive. (Source: Yahoo News). Just be sure that you are indeed removing ice that would obstruct vision and that other obstacles that would make driving unsafe, such as fogged up windows, frozen windshield wipers, or snow accumulation, are dealt with before you start out on the road.

The other consideration is fuel waste when allowing a car to idle. Even just running back into your house for a quick second, say to grab something you forgot, wastes more fuel that turning the car off and then back on again. And if you have left your car running while you finish getting ready to go, we all know that what we think will be just a few minutes can turn into much more when we are dashing around and getting distracted by other tasks in the home.

While warming up your car certainly does have its place, especially when dealing with extreme temperatures and conditions that require it for your vehicle to be safe to drive, give your strategy some consideration and keep in mind the possibility of theft.

Resource used for this post: Warming up your car can lead to theft, fuel waste – Yahoo News

Additional resources:

Wondering about the effects of vehicle theft on your insurance cost? Check out this post:  Effects of Vehicle Theft on Your Car Insurance Rates

And if you’re just looking to prevent vehicle theft in general, this post has some good tips: How to Prevent Car Theft

Looking for a quote on car insurance in Ontario? Head over here or reach out to someone from our team.

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