Idling Your Diesel In Utah Could Cost You

January 2014 News Web Exclusive

This time of year, most diesel pickup truck owners living in colder climates have no choice but to let their trucks warm up. But if you live in the state of Utah it could cost you $40 if you don't stay with your truck.

A wave of preventable car thefts in a Utah city has prompted police to step up enforcement of a state law that prohibits unattended, idling vehicles.

Car thefts are on the increase in part because of residents who go out to warm up their vehicles on cold mornings and leave them unattended, Ogden Police Deputy Director John Harvey said.

Warming up your diesel on a cold morning is a must, unless you're the guy who immediately revs up his cold engine and doesn't know that his turbo and engine bearings won't get lubricated properly with cold, thick oil. It's important to let your engine warm up like you warm up in the morning. Let the glow plugs and intake heater do their job. Fire the engine and give it some time for the combustion heat to warm the engine evenly. Hot and cold engine parts expand at different rates, so gaps can form, which could cause leaks or gasket failures. Wait until your engine oil and coolant temperature gauges show you are in the right operating range, but make sure you do all this while still sitting inside your vehicle.

According to the police department, 36 of 82 vehicle thefts over the last 90 days in this Utah city involved vehicles that were left running and unattended. Another 34 thefts involved unlocked vehicles.

State law prohibits drivers from leaving a vehicle unattended without stopping the engine and removing the keys from the ignition.

Officers in Utah have begun to actively enforce this law by devoting more resources to the problem and by issuing $40 citations to violators.

Harvey said the thefts are a drain on police resources that could go to more important matters, and the public can help by not leaving their cars running and unattended.

He said while the department will use new ways to combat the high number of thefts, it has a good record of tracking down stolen cars. Most stolen cars are found abandoned only a few blocks away or close to where another car was stolen.

But some stolen cars are taken to "chop shops" for parts or used to commit more serious crimes, he added.

For diesel owners in Utah, continue to let your trucks warm up during these colder months but be smart in how you do it or it could end up costing you.

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