The Quad Cities experienced pretty warm weather in October and it's been pretty decent to begin November. But this warm fall weather is going to come to a screeching halt beginning this weekend. While it's tempting to warm up your car when it's cold outside, if you live on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities, it could get you in serious trouble.

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When my wife and I moved to the Quad Cities, I had an automatic start system installed in one of our vehicles so she is comfy and warm on her way to work during the winter months.

For those who don't have an automatic starter like us, it's very tempting to go out and start your car with your keys to warm it up. We understand it's the worst getting into a cold car, but if you live in Illinois and don't have a remote start, warming up your car could get you into some serious trouble. For those on the Iowa side, it could get your car stolen.

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Before the cold temps arrive in the Quad Cities, we want to remind you those who live in Illinois that it's illegal to warm up your car using your key and leaving it unattended.

Back in 2017, Illinois lawmakers passed this law making it illegal for people to essentially 'warm up' their cars:

According to the Illinois General Assembly:

(625 ILCS 5/11-1401) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1401)
    Sec. 11-1401. Unattended motor vehicles. Except for a law enforcement officer or an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle performing his or her official duties, no person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any perceptible grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway. An unattended motor vehicle shall not include an unattended locked motor vehicle with the engine running after being started by a remote starter system.

In short, you can't warm up your car or let it idle without someone in the driver's seat unless you are a police officer, an authorized emergency vehicle, or have an automatic start system installed in your vehicle.

Before March 16, 2017, Iowa had a similar law but was amended.

When it comes to getting caught warming up your car in Illinois, there isn't an exact dollar amount for a fine. Some articles we found said upwards of $100, some said $125, and others say $250.

But the most important reminder for everyone in the Quad Cities is that the ultimate fine anyone could face on either side of the Quad Cities when they leave their car unattended is theft.

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In 2020, because of the rising numbers of car thefts throughout the Quad Cities, over 20 law enforcement agencies, including the Illinois State Police, Iowa State Patrol, and the Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, Rock Island, and East Moline Police Departments have started the #LockItDownQC campaign.

According to the official Lock It Down QC website,

The mission of Lock It Down QC is to prevent auto theft in the Quad City Area. Lock It Down QC is a cooperative effort of Iowa and Illinois Quad City Area law enforcement agencies.


On the Lock It Down QC website, officials outline three key actions Quad City citizens can take to prevent car theft including:

  1. Never leave your car running, even if you have your fob.
  2. Always lock your car.
  3. Never leave your keys in your car.

You can find more information and tips about #LockItDownQC here.

Trust me, it doesn't take long for a vehicle to be stolen. Last year in December, we wrote a story about how fast someone's car can be stolen out of their garage. Take a look for yourself below.

Essential Winter Emergency Kit Items

Winter season in the Quad Cities means cold temperatures, heavy snow, and slick roads. Hopefully, you won't ever need to tap into your winter emergency kit, but it's better to have one in your car than to be unprepared. Make sure you have these essential items in your car before winter arrives in the Quad Cities.

10 Things to Stock Up On Now Before Winter Comes

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