Remote Car Starter Buyer’s Buyers Guide 2017 - We've tested them all!

Auto technology has become more driver friendly over the past decade especially in when talking about the use of remote car starters, which is a device that was once only for luxury and security vehicles. What was once a reserved for only high-end vehicles are now becoming more and more accessible for everyone.

How a remote car starter works

  1. When the remote is pressed, a signal is sent to the car causing the lights to flash once.
  2. The remote control then activates the ignition to start the engine.
  3. After the engine is started, the remote can be used to adjust the temperature inside of the car and to switch the defroster to on.
  4. Now all you have to do is finish getting ready inside the comfort of your home or office, unlock the car door, place the key in the ignition, and get on the road.

Keep in mind, just by starting your car, doesn’t mean the car can be used without you and the engine key in the car itself. This means other people can’t get in and drive off with your car while you’re warming it up.

Why You Should get a Remote Car Starter

People install remote car starters for various reasons, with safety and convenience being the most common. Concerning safety, your remote starter does more than have your car ready to drive; it also allows you to trigger your car’s alarm from several yards away if necessary. Concerning convenience, a remote starter comes in ultra-handy on icy mornings and hot days when it’s painful to wait for your vehicle’s temperature to adjust.

The most common reasons (or combination of reasons include)

  • Warming up your car in the winter
  • Cooling down your car in the summer
  • Convenience
  • Enhances comfort
  • Safety

One of the most price effective aftermarket upgrades you can make to your car is to install a remote starter. To get what you want, you need to first, ensure your starter works within a reasonable distance from the vehicle. On average, a remote starter can operate from a distance of around 400 feet, which can be increased by purchasing an alternative control module. Secondly, don’t forget to inquire about sales and discounts including remote starting systems from the remote starting system’s vendor.

Remote Car Starters Make Driving More Comfortable and Convenient

Do you live or have ever driven somewhere that see extremely cold temperatures?  Most people know that it is important to get your car engine started and warmed up for a while before you start driving your car – it is often recommended you do this for 5 to 10 minutes. Instead of having to bare the cold as well while you wait for your car to warm up, by using a remote car starter, you can get this process started while you stay in the comfort of your warm house or office.

This can also work the other way, during the summer heat, when it’s too hot outside, and you need to cool down your car, the seats and the steering wheel before you burn yourself touching them. If you hate the steamy, intense heat of your vehicle on hot August days, a remote start can help you get your car cooled down before you even get in. So stop sweating–call your car audio shop today for information about sales and installation.

Remote car starters enable you to turn on your engine from anywhere within range. This means you don’t have to be in your vehicle to turn it on! Stay inside where it’s warm and let your engine heat up (and get the heaters blasting) before you even set foot outside. You can start your car from your home, office, the mall, just about anywhere. And with various ranges on the market, you can customize your remote starter to suit your needs. Many standard units have ranges of up to 1,000 feet, but some car starters can be activated by cell phone from anywhere in the world!

Remote Car Starters and Alarms Keeping you Safe

If it’s night time outside, you’re in an unfamiliar place, or overall just want protection for your car, a remote car starter, and car alarm are important to have. It is always a good idea to know much more about the different alarm systems and various options.

Maybe you want to get the car started so you can just step in and drive off quickly. Perhaps you want to know if someone is trying to unlock your car while you’re away from it, or just make sure you can activate a loud alarm if you feel like you’re in danger, or your car is being broken into. Or it could be that you’ve lost your car in the muti-level parking lot and don’t want to spend ages walking around in a circle trying to find it.

Whatever the reason, there are specially designed safety features that are available for your remote car starter.

Keyless Entry– Allows you to unlock car doors while at a distance. So you don’t have to stop and use the key.

Trunk Release– Opening up just the trunk, again from a distance. So you won’t have to set down your purse or briefcase while you use your hands and a key.

Car Locator– When you press the button, it gives off an alarm sound for you to follow. Perfect for concerts, malls, or any parking structure.

Alarm Noisemaker- The simplest types of alarms make a loud noise and are known as deterrents. The main purpose of these alarms is to make a loud noise and to alert the passerby or the owner during the break in. These get activated if any impact occurs on the vehicle, or there is an attempt to open the door. This draws attention to yourself and the car, so people around know you need help.

Immobilizer– Set to recognize your key or remote, an immobilizer will not let your car start unless it recognizes the matching device that overrides this. This means thieves can’t start your engine, even if they manage to break in.

Two-Way Pager- This type of alarm not only sends the signals from your remote to the car (like opening the trunk) but also can send you information about your vehicle. These alarms will alert you when any unusual activity is happening around your car, like someone trying to break into it. Some of these can send signals to your remote even if your car is a mile away, for your peace of mind.

Automatic Window Roll-Up– This features rolls up your windows once you’ve turned the car off. Usually, this isn’t so much for yourself, but in case you’re in a hurry or have passengers in the back seat that might not have remembered to do so. Mostly this applies to kids, or if you roll down the window for your four-legged friends and forget to roll it back up once they’re leaping out of the car when you stop.

Smart owner detection– Smart owner detection is the feature in which the doors of the vehicle automatically unlock themselves when the owner approaches towards the vehicle. It also disables the alarms, eliminating the need to push any button. Making getting in your car quicker without having to pause and fumble with the lock.

Remember, these systems can be costly and hence before purchasing such devices, the question should be asked whether you need all of the features or not. You can choose the ones that are important to you, and opt out of the features that you don’t need.

Will a Car Starter Work for my Car?

Remote starters are available for both automatic and manual transmissions, and there are models that are compatible with just about any kind of car. So no matter what vehicle you drive, there should be a car starter that’s perfect for your needs.

However, do keep in mind not all car starters will work for every car. The thing which should be considered first is that which type of car alarm system should be used in your vehicle. If you have a model of the car which was manufactured in the year 1995, it would not be able to withstand with the sophisticated features of modern security systems. For example, if a car starter could roll down the windows of your car, this feature still wouldn’t work for cars that have the manual handles that open and close the windows. You want to make sure you’re not spending more money for features you won’t be able to use.

If you’re confused about what can and can’t be hooked up to your car system, take advice from an experienced auto mechanic about which system would be more compatible with your vehicle when looking around for installation quotes.

And, contrary to popular belief, aftermarket car starters do not void your vehicle’s warranty. Under federal law (Magnuson/Moss Warranty Repair Act) your warranty will still be valid after a car starter is installed.

How Much Does a Car Remote Starter Cost?

It is no secret there are a ton of choices when it comes to car starters out there. Usually, they all have the basic features, and some kind of security alarm system which is controlled by a remote.

At a quick look, the more buttons the remote has, the more likely the price will be higher. This is because each button probably corresponds to an additional feature that will need to be programmed and connected.

The remote car starter has many different kinds of models that come in a different range of prices. The price mostly varies on the options that you want.

Some feature that affect pricing:

  • Automatic door lock
  • Anti-theft security system
  • Delayed start
  • Valet mode
  • Multi-tone activation
  • 1 way or 2 way remote starter
  • LCD screen remote
  • Keyless entry
  • Range of remote
  • Longer warranty
  • Built in security system
  • Smart phone enabled
  • Temperature control
  • Multi vehicle functionality
  • Car locator
  • Heated seats
  • Automatic defogger


The basic most affordable starters usually are in the $125-$175 price range. Beyond that, you have some starters that are in the $200 range. These starters usually have a range of 800-1000 feet and come with either one or two transmitters. But if you want that your remote car starter has all the features, then this range to $550. Most of the additional cost is because the technician who is doing the installation will have to connect more systems for you for the different features. Usually, around $30 per installation, you can see how the price can add up if you’re getting a top-notch starter.

Keep in Mind

Make sure you do some research before buying your remote car starter. It is best either to look over the reviews of other users or look on some trusted websites for information.

One of the biggest false advertisements usually has to do with the range of your remotes. While some products say they have a max range of 6000ft, it doesn’t mean this will always be the case. Usually, you have to have perfect weather conditions, optimal batteries and everything else to line up for this to work. Most remotes usually range between the 400ft to 4000ft distance, which has proven to be more accurate.

Remember that once you wire your vehicle up for remote ignition, it is important to keep your remote’s code hidden. Think of it like your bank card. Some people have gotten very sophisticated and when they find out your remote’s code, are able to control your car’s functioning’s, including locking you out while you’re trying to get inside.

Though the possibility of this is unlikely, it is still possible. Some systems feature code-hopping countermeasures, allowing your system to change codes frequently to prevent thieves from finding the same one–giving an astronomically impossible combination of codes to be deciphered. Again with this added feature, expect the price to be higher.

Lastly, try not to use your remote starter on vehicles that are parked in covered areas. When you start your car, it emits carbon monoxide fumes, which can be very dangerous if there is no proper ventilation.

Installation

When purchasing a remote car starter, be sure to consider an installation price tag. The price of the installation alone is going to vary depending on what kind of car you’re going to drive, as well as what you’re going done to it.

If you have experience with a car, you may be able also to do it yourself and save quite a bit of money. Keep in mind that the process can be rather hard, and it could do more damage than good. So be really sure you can do it before starting. Each starter reviewed on our page should have a little section about how easy it is to install. Hopefully that will help.

Selecting an Installation Place

The first thing to remember is just because the place is quoting you a lower price, doesn’t mean it will be your best option. While selecting a shop to have a remote starter put in, make sure to ask a lot of questions.

  • How long have they been doing business?
  • What amount of experience do their specialists have?
  • Do they have modern PC projects to help with the install?
  • How would they handle guarantee issues?

You get the thought. The better shops will be happy to answer your questions with reassuring information while questionable places might get annoyed or try to convince you these are not important matters.

They may cost somewhat more in advance, but that additional cost will save you tons of repair issues later and give you peace of mind.

Overall

A remote car starter is highly useful for a whole wide range of scenarios. Whether it is for comfort for safety, there is a full variety of options and features available so you can get as many, or as few options, as you want.

If you do want features, keep in mind that for each additional feature, there will be an extra cost. But, when you look at the overall picture, and you divide the cost of your car starter by the number of times you’ll use it, it comes out to be pennies a day.

Even when you have all the information you need about car starters, it is hard to say which type of system is best for you. The best alarm system is one which provides maximum security at the best affordable price. The best car starter will combine both the security measures and the added convenience you’re looking for.  Take a look at our reviews and top picks to get an idea of what are some of the best models out there for every budget and need.