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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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