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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Remote Car Starters
 

Remote Starters are in theory a very simple concept. They are probably one of the greatest inventions for cars ever made. How nice is this...on a freezing cold morning upon awakening you look outside to see your next door neighbor with his hat and gloves on, face bright red and not looking very happy scraping the snow and ice off his windshield and the rest of his car. You, with your sleepy hair do on and coffee in hand reach over to your keys and hit the start button on the remote control. You hear the short chirp of your car horn and the roar of your engine starting. You then go shower, eat breakfast feed the kids and minutes later you’re out the door. As you walk by and wave to your neighbor who is now trying to defrost his keyhole in his driver door so he can somehow make it to work on time--you hit the unlock button on your trusty remote control and enter your warm car, put the key in the ignition and off you go. That’s it! Oops, I forgot to mention you may have to turn on your wipers to wipe away the water that used to be ice and snow minutes earlier. What a beautiful thing a car starter is; they work great in the summer with the air conditioning!

There are many different types and name brands of car starters out there. Just like everything else we shop for, you basically get what you pay for. Lets say you run down to your local parts or superstore and you pick up brand "X" car starter for $49.95 on sale. Then, hubby nose Joe mechanic offers to install it for you for just $50.00 and a six pack of beer. You made out great right? For less than $100.00 you have a car starter installed!!!!

Well, for one...most likely because you bought brand "X" car starter from a superstore it will have no range on the remote control which means you will have to go outside and walk up to your car and aim the remote at the window to start it. Second, because you had Joe mechanic install this fine device when you hit the button to start the car you see smoke barreling out from under your dashboard area instead of seeing smoke coming out of your exhaust. Trust me when I tell you this... I see this all the time; I’ve been in the mobile electronics business for over 10 years and I have seen it all. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon thing.

The car starters sold by true mobile electronics dealers are usually not sold to the public over-the-counter. The reason for this is because these companies expect that their dealers have trained installers installing their products. With trained people installing their product, most likely the defective return rate will be at aminimum. Now, is it fair for the manufacturer if Joe mechanic trying to hook up this car starter does something wrong causing the unit to burn out? Then he returns it because he says the unit is bad out of the box and gets another unit and burns that one out too and so on and so on until he figures out that the reason they are burning out is because he hooked up the power door locks backwards. Again, not an uncommon thing in the 12-volt industry.

When shopping for a car starter I would suggest going with something with an extra long range of at least 1000 feet or more and has an antenna that can be mounted to the windshield. Even though your car may be parked only outside your house in the morning their will be times when you will need the extra long range. For example, when att work, at the supermarket or anyplace where you and your car go. Also, try to look for one that has a lifetime warranty. The unit that mounts under the dash that actually starts the car, if installed properly and is a good brand name, very rarely goes bad. However, the remotes hanging on your keys do go bad from time to time. If they are treated correctly they should last a lifetime but think about it, who actually treats their keys with respect? I also want to mention that if you have to buy a new remote control they usually cost between $30.00 to $75.00 each, depending on the company. A lifetime warranty is well worth it in the long run. I would also suggest going with a unit that has the option to add remote keyless entry and trunk release options. These are features that are very useful and even if you don’t have them installed right away, in the future you may want them. Finally, just remember that the remote starter can be switched from one car to another at anytime. You will save money by not buying a new unit and will just pay for the labor and whatever parts may be needed to install it into the new car. So just because you may drive a 1987 Yugo right now doesn’t mean you may not own a 2002 Lexus a year from now. I'm sure you wont want to put a cheap remote start into a Lexus now would you?

Now we get to the most commonly asked question of all. How much???? Installing a car starter now a days is not an easy task at all. The cars out now as you probably no are very high tech indeed. Most of the new cars have at least 2 computers on board along with air bags and most importantly security devices. I will try to explain as simple and as easy to understand as possible. Well, back around 1995 auto insurance company’s started complaining about how many cars were getting stolen and how easy they were to steal. I will also have to agree with them, breaking into a car and basically using a screwdriver jammed into the ignition to start a car was just way to easy. So the big named car manufacturers were pretty much forced into doing something about this and here’s what they did. I would say almost every car made from 1997 and up has some type of key security device incorporated into it. The way these systems work are very simple to understand but very complex to work on and almost imposable to steal the car. Your cars ignition key has a chip inside of it that is coded to the cars ignition switch, when the two meet the car will start, simple as that. The problem is when adding a remote starter to your car, your keys are in your house or on yourself, not in the ignition. Now luckily for both you and me the alarm and remote start company’s make bypasses for these types of systems that will only bypass the stock security only before remote starting the car. The problem is you will need extra parts and labor in order to have one installed which of course means more money. MOST GM vehicles use a system called the pass lock system. It is little different then the system I just told you about and very complex to understand, but you still have a bypass module to use on these vehicles but no extra key is required to install the starter unless your car has pass lock 3 which is somewhat rare but they are out there. FORD uses a coded key also, but the bypasses we use you won’t need an extra key made, BUT you will have to bring all of the ignition keys down when the installation is done so the module can be programmed correctly. For most of the other manufacturers Honda, Mitsubishi, Dodge… you will need to either give up one of your extra keys or get one made up at the dealer. For these cars the key will be installed inside the module along with the remote starter and you will never see the key again until you remove the starter and put it into your new car. Sound confusing? It is, I will be posting a section on here so you can check to see which system you have or just ask when you call. Also be VERY careful on who you are dealing with when it comes to these bypasses. Like I said earlier, I have seen it all and I've seen and fixed jobs where people have taped or glued keys under the dash without using the modules causing the factory security system to be bypassed ALL the time, making the system useless. Just imagine the insurance adjusters face when he goes to look at a car that was stolen and sees a key taped up under a dash. Don’t forget that these cars are almost impossible to steal and the insurance company’s are not stupid and will find anyway to deny your claim. So when shopping for a car starter if it sounds to good to be true it probably is.

When you call up for a price on a remote starter it will depend on many of different factors. Make sure you are exact when it comes to year, make and model of the vehicle so that you get an accurate quote on the job. Also, if you know the vehicle has a factory or aftermarket security system you will also want to mention this. Basically the price will depend on what kind of car that you drive and the add on features that you want installed.

A basic car with no factory security or no add on options you can get away with as little as $149.00 installed. On the newer vehicles with factory security your up around the $250.00 range and with add on options such as keyless entry you could be up around the $350.00 range. Like I said though it all depends on the vehicle and the options you want so please call or e-mail us if you have any questions at all.

One more thing, vehicles that are very expensive such as BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, Jaguar, Saab... you all know the cars I'm talking about, are built very well and take a long time to work on. So if you call up with a 2003 BMW M5 and want a $179.00 remote starter installed its most likely not going to happen. Most mid-priced cars take between 2 to 4 hours to install a car starter in. On these cars it will most likely take a full day to install it correctly, which means it will probably be up in the $500 price range. Hey you know what they say, if you can afford to drive a $80,000 vehicle, you can afford to get it worked on.

Again if you have any questions please e-mail us or call us at 203-619-3653.

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