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Remote start FAQ

What determines the cost of a remote car starter?

There are two things that determine the cost of a remote car starter. The first is the cost of the unit you are installing. Basic models will include a long range transmitter with one button, while more elaborate models feature smartphone interfaces, alarm systems, and elaborate transmitters.

The second determination of cost will depend on your vehicle. It's no coincidence that expensive vehicles are more costly to work on. Consider the additional electronics and computers present in today's luxury vehicles, and the additional parts needed to contend with complicated factory security systems. Luxury vehicles can take over twice as long to install a remote car starter in.

Vehicles with manual transmissions, diesel engines, and unique ignition systems can also cost more. Call your local shop and tell them your make, model, and year if you are unsure.

Is a remote starter bad for my car?

If you have a reliable remote starter installed by a reputable shop, the answer is no. Any work done to your vehicle can result in adverse effects if done improperly, including oil changes, wheel repair, or even an improper car wash. Good workmanship is the most important part of anything you install in your car.

There is also a common misconception that a remote starter will "ruin your starter" by over-cranking, and that idling ruins your engine. While the effect of idling your vehicle for extended periods of time are in debate, none of it has anything to do with a remote car starter. Starting your car by hand, and letting it idle would produce the same effects, if any.

As for over-cranking, this is just plain false. Today's remote car starters are computerized, and can usually can start a car better than a human being can.

How do you prevent someone from driving away with my car once it is remotely started?

Firstly, your car remains locked once it is remote started. You must still unlock the vehicle with your key, or remote transmitter to disarm your alarm system (if present) or unlock your doors. Secondly, a car with a remote start cannot be driven away without inserting your key! Inserting the key is what's called "key takeover", and allows your car to continue running, as well as unlock the steering wheel.

How does a remote start work?

A remote start works by simulating everything your ignition cylinder does when you turn your key. There are no motors, cranks, chains, or anything required during the installation-only electronics. The wires inside of your steering column transmit electrical signals, and sometimes computer code when your key is turned. A remote starter simply replicates the same sequence of events electronically.

What does a remote start look like? What will I see?

The only visible components of a remote car starter are your transmitter (clicker) and sometimes an antenna. The antenna is a very compact device that goes behind your mirror. Most people do not even notice it.

What if I have a manual transmission?

This can be done, but the vehicle must be left in neutral in order to work. Special parts must be used during this remote start installation, as the unit must be intelligent enough to know 100% that the car is not in gear. Using proven, reliable parts, installed by an authorized dealer are the only safe way to do this.

What if I accidentally remote start my car and leave it running?

By default, all units come preset with a limited run time. This can vary from 10 minutes all the way up to an hour or more. Speak to your installer during your demo, and they can set the time to whatever you like.

How far away does a remote starter work?

The most basic systems on the market today boast over 1000 feet of range, but this can be significantly impacted by a variety of factors, including buildings, weather, foliage, and windows. Any modern remote car starter will reach the car in your driveway, but starting a car from your office or workplace can require more power. High range units, as well as smartphone integrated units can extend your range to virtually any location on the globe, provided there is cell phone reception where your vehicle is parked.

I don't want to carry another remote control. Can you make my factory remote start the car?

Usually yes. Add-on remote car starters can be activated using your factory remote control. Ask a salesperson about your particular car, as this type of installation is heavily dependent on your make and model.

Can remote start be added to a Hybrid car?

In most cases, yes. When remote starting a hybrid car, the vehicle will turn on and climate control will return to whatever state you left it at when you exited the vehicle. If the heater or AC are activated, your engine should start to run within a minute at most. The car will continue to run the engine whenever it needs power.

I was told I need to give up my valet key. Is this necessary?

Even the most basic vehicles today come with computerized key, which contain a secret code used to start the car. This code is an important part of the remote start installation, as your vehicle requests it to engage your ignition system. These days a computerized bypass module is used instead of a key, but in a few cases an actual key is the only option.

What will happen to my vehicle's warranty?

In the United States, a remote car starter will not affect your vehicle's warranty if it was installed by a credible shop. The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act protects consumers in this regard.

Can I install a remote start on my leased car?

Leased cars must be returned in the original condition they left in, so it is advisable to remove your remote car starter before you turn it in. This unit may then be re-installed in your next vehicle, provided you pay for the removal, the reinstallation, and replacement wire harnesses. For high end systems, this is advisable, for for basic units you may be better off buying a new system for your new lease.

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