If you park your car on the street or in your driveway, then you know the struggle that winter brings. Your car sits out there all night, meaning that when it’s time to drive it the next day, you have to run out there, hoping and praying that the heat kicks on soon.
A remote car starter lets you avoid all of that. With the press of a button, you can turn on your engine, ensuring that when it’s time to drive, your car is warm and comfortable. But how do remote starters work, and how can you add one to your car?
Keep reading to learn all about how and why you should add a remote start to your car before winter rolls around.
What Is a Remote Car Starter?
If you’re unfamiliar with it, a remote car starter is what it sounds like: a wireless and radio-controlled device that allows you to turn on your car’s engine from a distance.
The distance that the device works in will be on the packaging. Simpler models work in a range of hundreds of feet, while more advanced starters can turn on your car as far as a mile away.
In most cases, remote car starters are key fobs that you attach to your car keys. Their primary function is to turn on your car’s ignition, although some models also allow you to do other things, such as open the trunk, warm the seats, or turn on the heat.
If you get a remote starter that doesn’t have special features aside from turning on your car’s ignition, don’t worry. You can turn on the heat when you park your car, which will cause it to turn on when you remote start it.
How Does It Work?
As mentioned, a remote car starter works by using your car’s radio frequency. When you install it, you connect a box to your car’s ignition switch, as well as other startup mechanisms.
When you press the button on the remote starter, it sends a signal to the box in your car. This then turns on the necessary systems, such as the ignition, the heating, and the seat warmers.
It’s important to note that you won’t have to worry about turning off or on someone else’s car when you press the button on your key fob. The radio signal is unique to the car model that you have. Don’t worry about turning off your neighbor’s engine.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Remote Start?
If starting a car from a distance sounds too good to be true, don’t worry. You won’t have to spend an insane amount of money to enjoy the benefits of a remote car starter.
For the most part, remote starters will fall somewhere in the range of $50 to $200. As mentioned, lower-end models might switch on your car’s ignition, while more expensive models will give you more control of your car’s different functions.
It’s important to understand that the price you pay doesn’t include the cost of installation. Often, this can be a couple of hundred dollars more, so make sure to do your research beforehand and factor that into what you expect to pay.
If you’re not interested in snazzy features, or if you have an older model car, you should be fine opting for a simpler (and cheaper) car starter.
How Do You Install It?
If you’re curious about remote start installation, the best advice is to get help from a professional service. Don’t try to do it yourself, regardless of whether or not you’re handy and think that you might be able to do it.
It’s much more difficult to install a remote start on an older model car than a newer one. The majority of newer cars are better equipped for modifications and add-ons (such as remote starters), older cars will are not.
You’ll have a difficult time installing a remote start in a newer car regardless, as modern cars have anti-theft features and alarms. These require you to bypass them during installation, and if you’re not an auto professional, odds are you won’t know how to do that.
What Is a Bypass Module?
Often when shopping for remote starters, many people don’t realize that they also need to look into getting a bypass module.
Most of the anti-theft systems that modern cars have require a physical key to be in your car’s ignition system. As a remote starter doesn’t offer this, you need a bypass module to trick your car into thinking that a key is in the ignition.
If a service isn’t transparent about providing you with a bypass module, make a point to inquire about it. The majority of cars need it, and it’s a good idea to get everything installed at the same time. Otherwise, you’ll end up having to go back for another $150 service.
Although this can seem like a large chunk of additional money that you need to pay, most professional services provide a discounted rate for the bypass module installation when you get it at the same time as your remote starter.
Make Life Easy With a Remote Car Starter
Smart devices exist to make our lives easier, and taking advantage of them is one of the smartest decisions you can make. Installing a remote start in your car takes this to the next level, and will help make your life warmer, more comfortable, and more convenient.
Do you now have a better idea of why installing a remote car starter is such a smart idea? If you do, make sure to check out some of our other blog posts for more guides and tips.