It is 7am and a brisk 9° F outside in the middle of winter with the wind blowing angrily about. A warm cup of coffee would only last a few seconds outside during the short trip to your car. Once inside you have to sit and wait for the engine to warm up all the while shivering underneath your many layers of clothing. Spend a minute to thank modern technology because you can now start your vehicle from the comfort of your own home, whether it is 9° F or 109° F. Keep reading to find out if a remote start system is right for you.
How does it work?
A remote start system connects directly to the ignition system of a vehicle; mainly the tachometer, brake, ignition, power, starter and accessory wires. When a start command is received from the remote, the remote starter module activates the vehicles engine. Some vehicles require special immobilizer bypass modules that bypass factory theft devices allowing the engine to start. Read our article on Immobilizers and Immobilizer Bypasses for more information about these theft deterrent devices
How is it made safe?
For most, the idea of their vehicle starting without an occupant inside is a scary thought for countless reasons. Is it going to roll away? Is someone going to break in and steal it while it’s on? If there is an emergency, who will turn it off? For those with manual transmissions, what prevents it from activating when in gear? All of these are normal concerns that many have. Luckily manufactures are a step ahead.
Most remote start systems still require a key in the ignition before the vehicle will shift into gear. Tied to the brake pedal, an engine cut off switch can be wired so if a thief tries to put the vehicle in gear the engine will turn off. Hood pin switches can be installed as well so that if the vehicles hood is up, the car will not start. A neutral safety switch input wire connects to the shifter of most vehicles preventing the vehicle from starting if it is in any gear other than Park (P). Some remote starters even have emergency brake connectors that prevent the vehicle from starting if the emergency brake is not engaged. In the event that you are unable to get to your vehicle, remote start systems have automatic shut down timers that will turn the engine off automatically after a set time limit has expired, usually 5 minutes. The more advanced a remote start unit is, the more safety features it will have.
Why do you need one?
A remote starter unit has many benefits for the user. The primary benefit is the ability to turn your vehicle on from the comfort of your home or office allowing it to heat up or cool down before you get inside. While this is a novelty feature, there is more to it than that. To increase the longevity of your engine, it is always recommended to leave it idling for a few minutes so the engine reaches operational temperatures, especially when it’s cold. Your vehicles fluids need to heat up and circulate, especially the oil in the crank case which lubricates important moving parts. Driving your vehicle immediately after turning it on does not give your engine time to reach equilibrium which could decrease its overall life span. Being able to remotely start your vehicle wastes none of your time and lets your vehicle reach its optimum operational levels before being driven.
What is the installation like?
Installing a remote start system is extremely difficult and technical. We recommend only professional installers install one into your vehicle. Cutting the wrong wires or incorrect soldering can disable your vehicle, fry the electronics or blow fuses. A remote starter unit cuts into some of the most important wiring in your vehicle and is not a do-it-yourself project. Some vehicles require specialty immobilizer bypass units or other components not found in remote start kits that can be equally as difficult to install.
What variations are there?
Remote start systems come in a variety of combinations with many additional options. Remote start systems can be combined with keyless entry and alarm systems for an all-in-one protection and convenience package. There are stand alone remote start systems with one button remotes for easy on/off no hassle remote starting.
What additional features are available?
As you climb the chain of remote start units and the features they have, the higher you go the more features they have. As you progress, remote start systems show up with 2-way paging systems and remotes with LCD screens that confirm vehicle status and commands. Other systems integrate with a vehicles dome and parking lights to provide illumination queues. For those vehicles with turbo chargers, built-in turbo timer functions will keep the engine running for a short duration to let the turbo system cool down. Some two-way paging systems can have a remote range of up to one mile! With the explosion of smart phones, some remote start/car alarm makers have applications that allow you to start your vehicle from you phone and check on the status of it from anywhere you get cell phone reception. For alarm systems, dual stage shock sensors can be added for more precise protection. There are many more features available than what is listed here.
A remote start system is a great way to add a huge amount of convenience, safety and longevity to your vehicle. These devices are often paired with keyless entry and alarm systems for an all-in-one package. Be it winter or summer, a remote start system can get your vehicle prepped and ready for any temperature or weather condition and much more.