REMOTE STARTER FAQs
There is alot of confusion about REMOTE STARTERS and how they install in vehicles. Hopefully this will help clear things up.
Are all remote starters the same... I mean, they ALL start the vehicle, so...?
Are all cars the same... I mean, they all have 4 tires and get you places? No, of course not, you have a wide range of features and prices, like everything else in this world. Like anything, do your pre-purchase homework and educate yourself.
There are ALOT of remote starter manufacturers out there today and each make a multitude of different models. Some of the key items to look for is: warranty, quality, support, number of keyfobs supplied, range, and THEN features. Referrals and recomendations goes along way!!
Are Remote Starters SPECIFIC to certain vehicles?
No. The actual starter units themselves are universal. How they are installed and "extra" required parts makes them vehicle specific.
What is a BYPASS module and do I need one?
A Bypass Module is an add on part that "bypasses" the vehicle manufacturer's built-in key controlled security. Most vehicles made from the late 1990's on HAVE this factory security feature. As you turn the key in your ignition, the vehicle computer automatically verifies the key is "assigned" to the car and if it is valid, it allows the vehicle to start. A Bypass Module mimics the vehicles key during the remote start process only and basically "tricks" the vehicle in thinking the key is in the ignition.
One of the easiest ways to tell if you have this factory security feature... look at your dashboard. It is usually represented by a dash indicator that often blinks when the vehicle is off and most likely will momentarily turn on solid when you turn your key to the ON position. They always turn off, shortly after you vehicle starts. This indicator could be: A) a round light, B) a "padlock", C) the word THEFT or SECURITY, or something similar. If you still are unsure, your vehicle owners manual or dealer can tell you as well.
Bypass Modules ARE vehicle specific and can vary drastically in price based on what the vehicle needs are, ease of installation, and a few other factors.
I heard a working key can be "hidden" or "buried" under the dash board instead of using a Bypass Module?
In some cases, that is correct. This typically only works for vehicles that use a "transponder" style key. A transponder key basically has a "chip" in it that is read by an antenna ring around the ignition keyhole at the time of start. Burying a key requires taking one of your working keys, installing it in a special box and attaching to the remote start unit and a special antenna transmitter mounted near the keyhole. The box "transmits" the keys chip signal to the keyhole during the remote start process. The box usually costs less than an actual Bypass Module but you do lose the use of a key or you have to get a replacement to use and that can often cost quite a bit more.
What's a digital doorlock system?
Many newer vehicles now have a single wire that goes between all the "auxillary" features on a vehicle such as power locks, truck/hatch release, power windows, etc. They send a digital signal down this wire to "operate" that feature. This replaces many many feet of individual wires going to each. Unfortunately, when they do this, then it makes it harder to connect to those features and operate them with an afermarket device.
If your vehicle has a digital system, one way to simplify this is with another "module" that sends those signals for you. In addition, if your vehicle needs the aforementioned Bypass Module, "combo" units are often available that does both, saving you money.
Can I add a remote start to a vehicle that already has an aftermarket alarm?
Yes and no. You will often have to carry additional keyfobs, one for each function. In addition, in some cases, the "vibration" of a car starting may trigger an aftermarket alarm if it is not previously turned off. Can be cumbersome if not impossible. If you want alarm AND remote start capability... consider purchasing a remote start/alarm "combo" unit that has both built in. These units are designed to work together with a single keyfob.
Can I add a remote start to a MANUAL transmission?
Usually... but you have to be careful. If you often (or may) leave your vehicle in a drive gear (not neutral) when you park... potentially, the remote starter could cause the vehicle to move during start & run. Years ago, most vehicles had a neutral safety switch... a physical switch attached to the shifter that was triggered ONLY when the vehicle was in neutral. This switch could be monitored by the remote starter to stop the it from functioning if NOT in neutral. Unfortunately, most vehicles do NOT have this switch any more. You may find an alternative method on your own for this but that is up to the installer. Manual transmission installations... can be done, but "buyer beware!!"
Can I get a remote starter that works with my existing factory keyfobs so I don't have to change or carry another one?
Yes, some remote start manufacturer's make these style units that often require button combinations to "fire" the start function. But, keep in mind, you are limited to the "range" of the factory keyfob... often substantially shorter than most aftermarket remote starter keyfobs.