Remote Starter 101: How to Choose the Right One for Your Car
You'd really appreciate driving a car with keyless ignition in these situations: when the rain's about to fall and you have no umbrella, when your wife's about to give birth and you can't find the key, or when the zombies are here and you're running for your life. Okay, the last scenario might be impossible, but you'd really never know when a remote starter might come in handy. So in case your car does not have one yet or it has a busted one, here is a guide to help you shop for a replacement:
Tip no. 1: Find out if your vehicle key has a chip before getting a new remote starter.
Vehicles manufactured after the year 2000 are likely to have computer chips in the key. In case your vehicle has one, you would have to consult your car dealer regarding the type of remote starter that will fit your ride's year, make, and model. Apart from this, you may also have to replicate your key, which can be expensive.
If you don't have a computer chip in your key, you can install any type of remote starter.
Tip no. 2: Find out which type of transmitter works for you and your lifestyle.
- Original transmitter
If you own an automobile sold by Nissan, General Motors, Dodge, Chrysler, Ford, Jeep, or any of the luxury vehicle brands Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi-this is the practical choice. These vehicles usually come with default transmitters, so you won't have to bring an extra transmitter just to start your vehicle remotely.
However, default vehicle transmitters have limited range; they will only work at a distance of 50 to 100 feet and the signal can easily be affected by obstacles in the way. If you've got a spacious house and there's an emergency, you might not be able to start your car right away.
- Transmitter from a single button remote starter and 3-button remote car starter
If you live a fast-paced lifestyle or you simply want to be able to impress your date by starting your vehicle from a thousand feet, you can opt for a single button or 3-button remote starter.
Single button type uses only one transmitter with one button while 3-button type is the convenient choice because it already has a button designated for starting the auto and "lock" and "unlock" buttons.
Investing on these starters is perfect for Toyota, Hyundai, and other vehicles that do not have default transmitters.
Tip no. 3: Choose a high-quality remote starter.
Make sure it has the following features:
- Engine speed sensing
This feature allows the starter to sense if the vehicle has failed to start and provides protection against over-revving the vehicle.
High-quality companies usually offer remote starter and remote control warranties. If a product doesn't come with a warranty, you might want to think twice about getting that specific part.
How to Install a Car's Remote Starter
Tired of fumbling for your car keys? A remote car starter just might be the thing you need. This component allows drivers to power up the auto with just a press of a button. It does not only provide convenience, but it also adds a bit of modern style and functionality to your vehicle. Installing remote starters can be a little tricky; so if you are not an experienced DIYer, you might want to consult a car technician and let him do the upgrade for you.
Difficulty level: Difficult
Things that you'll need:
- Wire cutters
- Solder and soldering iron
- Digital multi-meter
- Screwdriver set
- Wrench set
- Wire strippers
- Remote starter kit
- Shrink wrap
- Electrical tape
- Heat gun
Step 1: Disconnect the battery cables. Remove the panels or coverings in the area where you will install the main module. Enlarge existing holes if necessary and make sure that all the controls are accessible.
Step 2: Remove the seat where the control module will be installed. Take out interfering connections, e.g. power wire, starter wire, ignition wire, power locks, temperature controls, radio, and alarm system.
Step 3: Install the control module. Get the soldering iron and connect the wires. Use the electrical tape to keep them secure. If you need to connect more than one wire, use a relay. Start with the power wire then connect the ignition wire, starter wire, accessory wire, parking light wire, brake wire, etc.
Step 4: Test all connections before installing the main power fuse. Use tie wraps or screws to keep the wires away from moving components.
Safety tips and warnings:
- Check your owner's manual to make sure that you connect your wires properly.
- Make sure you know where to put the main module; it must be in a secure area that won't require wire extension. You can place above the glove compartment, behind the center console, or above the dashboard fuse box.
- Keep wires away from sharp objects.