A mystery I can't solve



So I got up one morning and went out to my garage, and realized in horror that I left my garage door open all night. After a quick survey, fortunately, nothing was missing. Just by chance, I touched my car’s hood and noticed that it was warm, like it was just driven. I normally back my car into my garage (and a bad habit of leaving the keys in the ignition) and have a mark on my floor indicating when to stop. I double checked where it was parked and it was right on the mark. The car was in the garage overnight with temperatures getting as low as 40 degrees, so it obviously should have cooled down. Others I have told this seemingly tall tale to are convinced that someone too it for joy ride and brought it back. I don’t buy it, but I have no alternate answer.

Any ideas?


It’s entirely possible someone “borrowed” your car for a quick spin to heist the bank, 7-11 or commit a drive-by shooting. That’s what happened to the Camry of my hair stylist. Hers was taken out of the parkade of the building she worked.

Many crimes are committed with “borrowed” or stolen cars.


You leave the keys in the car when you park it in the garage! Yep, bad habit. Do you have teens living in the house? They, or one of their friends may not have been able to resist temptation.

Newer cars have well sealed up motor bays so they retain heat for quite a while. To still be warm after 12 or so hours in 40 degrees seems unlikely. Next time you park the car, check the hood temp after 2, 4, 6 hours etc. and see how long it takes to cool down.

And, take your keys in the house at night. If you have a teen in the house you may need to hide the keys too. When I had teens I had a company car. I sat them down and told them that the company did not allow teen drivers to operate the company car, which was the truth even for licensed teen drivers. If they took the car and got in any trouble with it my job was gone, over, kapput. If you have teens it maybe time for a talk.


As well as leaving your garage door open, I wonder if you also forgot to turn off the engine. Someone may have been a good samaritan and turned the key off or the engine may have stopped on its own. I don’t think anyone who used your car for a heist would meticulously park the car in the same place.

If your garage is attached to the house, it is dangerous to leave the car running because the deadly carbon monoxide fumes can creep into the house. If you have a detached garage, I would bet that someone shut off the engine you left running.


Where I live, if the cops notice your door open they would likely check things out and leave you a note (yea I got one one night.). Maybe as Triedaq suggested, they may have just turned it off.

If someone stole it for joy ride or to steal it, they would not have bothered to risk being caught returning it.


Where I live I have never had the police check on my open garage door, it is not a bad neighborhood, but as far as the engine being warm, that only happens by being run. You sounded surprised you left the door open, so my guess is you did not, got teenagers? my guess is they went out to listen to music, and your car did not get driven, just started for them to hear tunes.


We really need the OP to return and to tell us if there is anyone else (teenagers, roommates) living in the house. Someone used the car–or at least ran the engine–and it is not likely that it was a stranger who then kindly returned the vehicle.

My alternate theory is that the OP left the engine running and that many hours later, a neighbor shut the engine off. The OP should talk with anyone with whom he shares the house, as well as with neighbors.


Was your radio station changed?