Remote Car Starter Myths

Remote car starters are probably one of the least understood products that a 12 volt retailer sells.  There seems to be a lot of bad information floating around.  I wanted to take a few minutes and dispell some of the myths about remote car starters:

1. Remote Car Starters Will Void My New Car Warranty

Nothing could be further from the truth!  The Magnuson Moss Act forbids a vehicle manufacturer from doing this.  We’ve covered this a million times so click on the link above to learn more.

2. Remote Car Starters are Bad For My Car

I have never found any information to support this.  In fact, many top mechanics would agree that allowing the car to warm up for several minutes before running can extend the life of your motor.

3.  Remote Car Starters Waste Gas

Actually, as a tie in with number 2 above, warming up your car can actually improve your gas mileage.  When you hop in you car on a very cold day and just take off, your engine is working overtime and consuming more gas.  Warming it up and thinning the oil for a few minutes can improve your mileage.  And isn’t it easier to press a button to warm it up instead of going out in the frigid cold.

4. I Have a Manual Transmission.  I Cannot Get A Car Starter

In the past, I would have agreed.  Today’s Remote Car Starter technology has come a long way.  Our starters employ a very sophisticated, yet easy to use, method to prevent the vehicle from starting while in gear.   If you have a manual transmission vehicle, you can enjoy the same comfort and convenience as those with automatics.  To learn more, read this post about remote car starters in manual transmission vehicles.

5.  I Don’t Need a long Range Remote.  I Park My Car in My Driveway

The fact that you park in your driveway at home is all well and good, but what about when you are at the mall….or the movies… or a restaraunt…. You might need to park 100 yards away or more.  Don’t you want to take advantage of your remote starter all the time?  Of course you do.

6.  I Have Keyless Entry Already.  I Don’t Need That Added To My Starter Installation.

Well… You probably do.  Your factory remote has probably less than 100 feet of range.  All of our remote starters have at least 800 feet of range.  So if you are already in line at the movies and can’t remember if you locked your doors, don’t worry.  Just press the lock button on your remote starter remote and you can rest assured that your car is locked.  Not to mention all of the other convenience features that you can add to your starter installation.

7.  My Key Has a “Chip” in it so I Cannot Get A Remote Car Starter

Almost every vehicle key made anymore has a “chip” in it.  That chip is designed to prevent your car from being hotwired.  A remote starter essentially “hot wires” your car in a very controlled way.  So in order to make a starter work, we need to fool your car into believing that the key is in the ignition.  Our starter manufacturer offers hundreds of solutions for almost every vehicle on the road.  In most cases, it is a matter of installing an additional “bypass module.”  This module replicates the actions of that chip, thus allowing the car to start.  Pretty simple. huh?

8.  My Cousin’s Best Friend’s Uncle Can Install a Remote Starter For Me

DON’T DO IT!!!!  Today’s vehicles are very sophisticated and integrating a remote car starter to them is a very complicated procedure.  We have gone through countless hours of training and have access to world class technical support if we need it.  Can “Uncle Louie” make that claim.  Probably not.  While he might be an excellent mechanic, remote starters are a whole different animal.  You wouldn’t bring your car to us for body work, would you? Of course not.  You would take it to an expert.  When it comes to remote car starters, Mobile Edge is the expert.

9.  I Don’t Need A Remote Starter.  I Park in My Garage

Oh yeah?.. Do you park in a garage at work?  Or your local eatery?  Or what about the “garage” at the movie theater?  Does your best friend let you park in his/her garage when you visit?  You will get more use out of your remote car starter away from home than at home.

10.  I Can Only Use My Car Starter For A Few Months A Year?

Why? You will quickly find that your remote starter is just as useful in the dog days of summer as it is on a frigid Winter day.  Your remote car starter will cool off your vehicle on hot summer days also.  Just remember to leave the AC on when you get out of your car. Your Automatic Car Starter will do the rest!

Summary:

A lot of myths circulate about remote car starters.  The main reason for this is that there are a lot of shade tree mechanics and poor quality products out there.  Mobile Edge has been doing this for over 15 years and we sell and install only the very best starters made.  Stop in and let us show you how affordable a remote car starter can be.

 

For detailed information on purchasing a remote car starter, please consider The Ultimate Remote Car Starter Buying Guide.  It is filled with over 25 pages of great advice to ensure that your buying experience is a great one!

About Mitchell Schaffer

Founder of Mobile Edge.... Technology geek.... Author.... Ethical Businessperson... Avid landscaper.... Master of 2 Basset Hounds, 1 Beagle and 2 cats.... Big picture kind of guy....

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Comments

  1. Great post, never thought of a few of those. Going to look for a remote starter now.

  2. Can I remove the remote car starter to put it in another vehicle?

  3. I had a remote starter on my Dodge Intrepid. Loved it, but I also went through 3 starters. I have heard some people that know more about cars than I do (which isn’t hard) say that remote starters are hard on a car’s starter. Is there anything to that? I want to put a remote starter on our new car but I don’t want to be shelling out for new starters every other year.

    • Lee…. With a quality remote starter, starting a car is no different than starting it with the key. Some, low end remote starters (or ones that are installed incorrectly) will crank the engine longer than necessary and this can cause a wear on your starter. My recommendation to you is to find the best shop in your area and have them install one for you. We sell Compustar and have never had any problems with them.

  4. We have a 1999 Dodge Ram pickup. It is a diesel. Is it ok to install an automatic starter in a diesel pickup?

    • Absolutely! Just because you have a diesel doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy all of the benefits of a remote car starter! Find a reputable, local shop and i would bet that they can do the job right for you.

  5. I am considering having a remote starter installed by my dealership in my 2007 Nissan Maxima. I have been doing some reading regarding remote starters in Maximas and have repeatedly read that once the car has been started by the remote starter, you must actually turn the car off completely and restart it to drive. My car has a “Smart Key” so you don’t have to put a key in the ignition to start it. Is this how remote starters work in these cars or is this the result of a faulty installation?

    • Karen – There are a few different ways to do your car but, The safest way to do your car is that the remote start shuts down when you open the door and then you restart the car as normal when you get in it. There is a way to do it that the car stays running and does not need to be restarted but if you do not do it the right way it will cause warning lights on your dash to light up and need to be reset by the dealer. So we have found the previous mentioned method to work best.

  6. Won’t the bypass unit make the immobiliser useless? My car insurance requires an immobiliser.

    • Nathan – Great Question! The bypass only does it’s thing when the vehicle is being remote started. At all other times, the immobilizer is fully functional. Essentially, the bypass fools the car into believing that the key is present, but it only does this when the remote starter gives the command to start. So I would not imagine that any insurance company would see this as an issue.

  7. I have a remote starter installed in my 2009 Nissan Frontier. In order to install it they had to take my spare key and place it in the immobilizer bypass unit. Now the dealer wants $100 for a new key…is it possible just to have a key cut that will work since there is already another key next to the ignition>

    • Ken – That is another great question. Assuming that the immobilizer bypass was installed properly, it is only coming into play when the remote starter is starting the car. All other times it is out of the loop. When you are using a key, that key needs to be a programmed key. So you will need to get a programmed key from your dealer. Sorry , I know they are not cheap!

  8. Hey mitch, this might sound like a ridiculous question but im a little confused, lets say i remotely start my car, opening my door to go inside will shut the engine off? if thats the case, I then restart my engine like I would normally through key ignition? Could I avoid having to restart my engine?

  9. i just bought a used 2000 nissan altima with is equipped witha remote car starter. I dont kno what i am pose to do after i get in the car, once it has already been remote started. Do i put the key in the ignition like i would normally do to drive?

    • Typically, after the car is remote started, you get in the car, put the key in the ignition and turn it to the “ON” position. You would then press the brake pedal which will disengage the remote car starter. You then simply drive away as if you had started it with the key.

  10. If I have a manual doors can I still have remote start.

  11. hey i have a 00 ford explore and i found that my car will not start almost like its dead. i have a remote start and i know the battier working. could the remote start cause power problems if not installed right
    . it was in car before i got it

    • If it was not installed properly, any number of things could happen. Unfortunately, I cannot diagnose or recommend a solution in this case without seeing the vehicle. I would take it to a local professional installer.

  12. I have a 2007 dodge ram1500 4×4 I bought new. I got a viper remote start for Xmas and was wondering if it will void my life time power train warranty. Thanks in advance

  13. Hi Mitch:

    Just a plug for remote car starters. I never had one until a few years ago. But now, I can’t live without it. Before I got my remote starter I used to just jump in the car and drive off, frosted windows and all. Now I still jump in and drive off, but my windows are clear and my vehicle is warm inside. I also use my remote starter in the summer months. With leather upholstery and the car in the hot summer sun all day, it is nice to get into the vehicle with it cooled down somewhat.
    But what I don’t understand is why more vehicle manufacturers don’t offer remote start as an option with their vehicles. Like AC, once you have lived with remote start, you will want it for your driving lifetime.

    • Harvey… Thanks for the great testimonial for remote starters! I may use part of this in a future post! Everything you say is spot on! Remote starters can actually save a LOT of wear and tear on your motor simply for the reasons you point out. As for vehicle manufacturers installing them from factory…. For the sake of shops like mine, lets hope it stays that way for a few more years!

  14. I have a Camry with the Smart Key and I’ve heard that I may have to get a copy made and programmed. I hope that is not the case because I really want a remote starter and to get an extra key fob, its $500!

    • Actually a GREAT question! I’m guessing that you have a 2011 or 2012 Camry… If that is the case then this myth is BUSTED! There are several companies that make add on modules that will make this a non-issue!

  15. I have a bulldog deluxe 200B that the remote died on. Tech support at bulldog sold me a replacement remote that will not program and scnch up with my starter. Bulldog is not helping and i really need to know if there is an aftermarket place that sells universal transmitters or a place that can help me since bulldog’s customer is LOUSY. please help…i can’t live in the middle of a PA winter without my remote starter!!!

    • I wish that I would be able to help you… There isn’t a universal remote available and this is not the first time that I have been told about the quality of Bulldog’s customer service. I’m afraid that i do not have a solution for you.

  16. Hi – I was wondering if remote starters would void my insurance policy if the car was stolen while it was “starting up?” I have also heard some states will ticket you if the car is unattended and running. What states do this?
    Thanks!

    • I certainly cannot speak for your insurance company, but I have never heard of any company denying a claim because of a remote starter. If installed properly, you still need to put the key in and tap the break before driving away. As for the states ticketing you, I haven’t heard of this either.

  17. if i remove a remote starter from a grand am can i install it in a ford focus?

    • You should be able to. You might need a different bypass and it is advisable that you purchase a new harness kit for the unit when having it installed. This way the wiring is able to be cut to the lengths needed in the newer vehicle.

  18. I have a 2011 Lexus ES 350, the starter is not available from Lexus on is model. Can I get it installed after market? It won’t void the warranty will it? It’s a keyless entry.

  19. i have a 2009 honda accord while the car is running the remote is disable, can this be bypass so that the remote will unlock the door while the car is started with the remote starter, and also while the car is started with the remote starter is it running from power from the battery or the alternator.

    • This is a function of the factory keyless entry system. Many vehicles’ factory keyless entry systems shut down when the vehicle is started… There is not an easy “wiring” solution for this. What you want to do is to upgrade to a remote starter that has keyless entry functionality built into it. The remote starter interfaces with the vehicle in a way that it can lock and unlock regardless of the engine being running or not. What we do in many of these situations is to add the Compustar EZGO add on device. It is an RFID tag that goes on your keychain… When you are close to the vehicle it unlocks it regardless if the motor is running or not.

  20. Darianwilliams60 says:

    I have a 98 corolla a just recently bought a dei viper 2 way remote car starter and a universal by pass but people around me keep telling me it nt a good idea to out it on because they think that it will kill the battery or mess up the altenator

    • I cannot speak for the quality of that brand as I do not sell it.  I can tell you that a quality remote starter that is installed by a professional (or at least professionally installed!) should not create any of those issues.

  21. 1999 mustang says:

    the chipped key for my 1999 ford mustang broke and i lost my chip but still got my key. instead of getting a new chip can i just get remote start installed.

  22. Blessu1638 says:

    I had a remote starter installed last year by an A+ rated dealer, recently my battery died and my Honda dealer is trying to tell me that it was the remote start that caused the battery to die.  They put in a new main fuse and that blew up on them.  So they had my remote start uninstalled by the dealer who put it in and then said after that the car ran perfectly.  Hogwash I say.  They had to have it working to get it down to the dealer who installed it.  I thank you for your article and I am going to contact the Federal Trade Commission.  My honda dealer is also using the excuse of using out of market parts, it was not covered under my warrany.  Again thank you for this article.

  23. how do that remote started will know that the engine is already running to stop start it again and again,you know sometimes especially with diesel engines you need to start it repeatedly if it really cold outside,sorry for spelling Im hungarian element.

  24. Will my insurance company cover something in case of an incident with the remote starter say it was to catch fire or something would they cover it also will a remote starter effect my battery and or my car stereo system?

    • There is no way that i can speak intelligently about what your insurance would or would not pay. A quality installation facility should have insurance to cover their workmanship. If it could be shown that the incident was caused by and installation related issue, I would guess that the shop’s insurance would come into play.

      Also, a remote car starter should not negatively impact your audio system or vehicle battery in any way.

  25. I have a 2012 Volvo xc60. Today I had a remote start installed and the removed from the dealership. They just started offering this. The reason I had them remove it was because when you unlocked the doors with the fob, the car shut off requiring an additional start up. This seemed stupid to me. I want to remote start, open the door, drive away. They told me due to the push button technology that shutting down when the doors open was a safety feature. I find this ludicrous. Your expert opinion please?

    • This can sometimes be the case. Without researching your vehicle, I would not know if there was a way around it or not. It you would like to stop in with your vehicle, we can look it over and see if we could provide a solution that would not require the vehicle to be shut off during the takeover procedure.

  26. When I use my auto start it starts the car, and then I go out to the car, and push the break the car goes off, I start it with the key. Yes the engine is warm, but I just started my car twice, so I didn’t I just waste twice as much gas as if I had just gone out and started it with the key?

  27. I have an 06 Saturn Ion and on cold days my cars passlock system locks me out from starting my car its like the car thinks im stealing it. Well I have been thinking about getting a remote control starter for a couple of weeks but im not sure if this will help or hurt?

    • My educated guess is that it will not help or hurt…. It will continue to fail in cold weather even when remote starting. It is possible that the vehicle will be less sensitive to the Passlock Bypass than it is to the key, in which case, it may start more reliably… I would not buy the remote starter solely in hopes of improving your pre-existing issue.

  28. Wow, you have had so many people ask you such great questions and I wish there was one about mine and then I wouldn’t have to bother you, but I am thinking of getting a AVITAL 5303L Security/Remote starter, but I have a 2006 salvaged title Acura MDX and I never know what can go wrong… Is this a good idea to get a starter put on or should I just leave it like it is?

    • Mercedes, I can’t think of any reason why it would be a bad idea. If you are comfortable with the vehicle and it is something you believe that you will keep for a while then I would say go for it!

  29. britney says:

    Now what if I lost one of my remotes and the other one broke, my car has a chip so I was told I can’t get. New key or remote endless I go to dealer and they want 350 for replacement

    • If you are speaking about your aftermarket remote car starter remote, then you should be able to replace it. Inquire with the folks who installed it. As for the factory fob, that would be something that you would need to address at the dealer.

  30. My boyfriend has a 2009 Nissan with a push button starter, can he get a remote control starter for the frigid winters days

  31. SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ENTER THE VEHICLE AFTER A REMOTE START? DOES IT SHUT OFF…IS THIS NORMAL…? I’VE HEARD YOU STILL NEED THE KEY IN THE EGNITION TO SHIFT AND WHAT NOT. PLEASE EXPLAIN

    • The normal procedure is to get in, put the key into the ignition and turn it to the “On” position. This allows the switch to supply power to the vehicle’s circuits in addition to the starter. You then press the brake. That disengages the remote car starter but because the key is in and on, the car continues to run and you can drive away.

    • It is important to note that this procedure is different for some vehicles particularly Push to Start equipped vehicles.

  32. I had a remote starter installed by the dealership, but this only entails my vehicle to start up. All other functions of the vehicle are disabled until the key is actually in the ignition. I can not run my heater or A/C, have the radio on, or seat warmers. When I quesitoned the dealership about this, they responded by saying that it was a security feature. Is there anyway of having this tweeked or having this ” Security Feature ” turned off so I can have my heater running by using the remote starter, instead of using the remote starter and still running outside to put the key in just to turn the heater on?
    Thanks

    • Shannon,

      What you are describing does not make sense to me. I cannot think of a scenario where a remote starter would not also include the ability to turn on the heater. It sort of defeats the purpose. I would press the dealership on this and ask for a specific reason why this is a “Safety Feature”… That said, since I was not able to see the specific install, I cannot comment with 100% certainty. I would never endorse disabling any legitimate safety feature on a vehicle. The key word here is legitimate. What is the year make and model of your vehicle? And what is the brand of the remote starter that is installed. Perhaps with some more info, I can offer you a little more insight.

  33. Ralph Craft says:

    I recently purchased a 2014 Ford Focus. It has keyless entry, and trunk release on the key, but no remote start. I wanted to add a single button starter to start the car. Ford has a feature called MyKey, that allows you to limit certain things on the car, IE speed, radio volume, etc, for those who may have a teen driver. I probably wont use this feature, but the next person who owns my vehicle might want it.
    Problem is, Ford says a aftermarket starter isn’t compatible with this MyKey feature. You can add a after market starter, but it wont work with this feature.
    Frustrating, because many of the aftermarket units, have longer ranges, and actually have longer warranties. The shop I bought my last starter from, for my daughter, wasn’t aware of this. Any Thoughts ?Thank You!

    • Ralph, The short answer to your question is that it is possible if done by a skilled installer. I posted this question to a forum of shop owners and installers that I belong to. Interestingly, the shop that you must have been to belongs to this forum… The person you spoke with recognized your situation and indicated that you should stop back and speak to him about this. It’s a small world!

  34. I have a 1998 jeep wrangler with manual transmission would installing a remote starter create any complications? Were can i buy a starter that you recomend?

  35. 2002 infiniti q45 had remote start installed and was told i have to remote start the car then get in vehicle hit the brake which will ofcourse shut my car off then restart it with the key, because once it starts using the remote start the ignition is locked and i cannot put the key in and turn it before stepping on the brake.. is there a way around this i dont wannna start my vehicle twice everytime i use it. a starter only has x amount of life now im using it twice as much.. i was told there is no way around this which i cant see possible is this true? please advise thanks in advance

  36. Hi,

    I like all your advices regarding the remote starter. I have a question for you if it is possible!
    I own a 2013 volvo XC60 3.2 AWD (not T6) and i have upgraded to the remote starte option. The thing is that it only works if I see the car and if it is only for less than 100 feet away.
    Is it possible to extend the range!

    Thanks,

    Ben

    • If I am reading your question correctly, this is a factory installed option. That being the case, most factory remote starters are not know for having a long range. I am not aware of any range extenders for Volvo vehicles. Sorry I could not help.

  37. Had a remote installed proffesionally a few years back , today it started on its own in the garage is it possable it could be the battery in the truck???/or is it the unit..thanks

    • Ron, I cannot give you much information other than a few observations from my 20+ years in this business. Please understand my “bluntness: as there is no PC way to say this!

      1. In EVERY instance of a client reporting that “it started on it’s own,” it has always been traced back to user error. ie. accidentally pressing the button while the keys are in your pocket, etc.

      2. If it is a good quality unit that was installed properly, you have a better chance of winning the lottery than your car starting on it’s own… For real!

      3. I cannot see how it could be the battery.. A low battery can cause all sort of issues however so if you suspect that your battery is weak, take it to a local auto parts store and have it tested (usually they bring the test device right out to your car)…

      Interested to see what the outcome is so please check back in and let us know when it is resolved!

      Good luck

  38. I just got a remote starter installed in my wifes car now the heater dosnt get as hot as it used too now the front defroster only gets hot when you put the pedal down and when I stop at a light it gets cold.What can cause this?

    • What you are describing is odd. I wonder if they didn’t accidentally disconnect a duct under the dash? Or perhaps they re-routed a control cable improperly… I would definitely go back to whoever installed it and have them check it out.

  39. Jason Burkhart says:

    We have a 2012 dodge caravan and the win module went bad(shutting the car off while driving). The dealer fixed the problem under warranty but told my wife that she shouldn’t use her remote starter anymore and if she did use it and the problem happened again, they wouldn’t cover it again($800). She’s afraid to use it and runs out to start her car all the time. Just curious if there is any proof of this. Doesn’t seem right to me,but I’m not a car guy. Thanks

    • Without having specific details of your installation and what exactly the dealer needed to fix, I cannot offer any rock solid advice. However if your dealer is going to make a claim like this, I would make sure that they specify in writing exactly what the remote starter did that caused the issue. If they are not willing to do this, I would question it’s validity.

      We have installed countless remote car starters in Dodge Caravans, including 2012’s… If they are quality units and installed properly, they would not do anything that would cause damage to any vehicle systems.

  40. I was wondering if there was a possibility that a remote car starter could/would be damaged somehow if you had to get your car boosted due to a dead battery? Thanks!

  41. Can you still use your factory remotes with your car starter remote?

  42. I was told that my factory install remote starter on my 2007 honda is fried. That was before they discovered I needed a new battery and a new starter. They unplugged my remote . Do u think they could be wrong and it’s not fried and that it is do to the other problems that it had. Thanks for thoughts

    • I cannot speak specifically about a factory installed remote starter as I do not work with them. I can tell you that voltage issues caused by a faulty charging system or battery can cause all sorts of issues. It IS possible that a low voltage issue could cause an electronic device to fail. I know that isn’t a conclusive answer, but it’s all I’ve got! Best of luck!

  43. hey mitch,
    Awesome advice for long time! know anything about viper? their app sucks. also, it’s such a pain in the rear to get it to recognize my car is in neutral sometimes. I do the exact same thing 50 times and it works 25 times of those 50. super irritating. any reason this would happen?? sometimes restarting app works …sometimes restarting procedure (neutral, ebrake, foot off brake)…..I emailed them too. super upset though that my module can’t use a button, it’s the iphone app only, no remote. :/

  44. JOAN DRAKE says:

    The Toyota saleswoman said that if I keep my Prius key with my Camry hybrid key, they will mess each other up and no longer work. Is this true???

  45. we just bought a used car and we believe the wiring for the remote start is screwed up because the heat only works periodically and randomly turns off and cannot be turned back on even by re starting the car. what should I do?

  46. I just bought a 04 Acura RSX; is it to old to be fitted with a remote starter? :(

  47. I have 2014 Subaru STI and got a remote start installed. Not sure if it was instant or soon after my seat warmers do no work, booth driver and passenger. Dealership is automatically saying it is the remote start and I took it to the installer to have another look (he assured me this is not possible, but was willing to take another look). The install seemed right, nothing wrong. Even the lights on the seat warmers come on. Is it possible the remote start can disable the seat warmers? or is the dealership just blowing smoke up my ass cause they are too lazy to look into it?

    • Greg, I cannot answer you question with any certainty. I tend to agree with your installer, but without working on it, I cannot say for sure. I would ask the dealership to correct the issue and if it turns out to be the fault of the remote starter, tell them to put in writing specifically what it was that caused the issue. If they are not willing to do that, I would ask that they cover it under warranty.

  48. Al Togno says:

    Hello Mitch,
    I just bought a 2014 Nissan Maxima and had the dealership install a remote start. When used the car shuts off when I open the door. They claim it’s a “saftey feature” but I don’t like it. Is there any way to deactivate this feature so the car continues to run after I get in?

  49. how to programe the Virtual Tach of remote control starter of Ford 2012 Escape

  50. Patrick Wilmes says:

    Hello: I just bought a 2014 Dodge Dart on March 29th, it did not come with a remote start, but the dealership gave me the option to have them install it. I went ahead and did that. Well I left the lot today and 5-10 minutes later, my cel (check engine light) came on. So I can’t use the remote feature until Dodge looks at it. Do you think it’s anything bad, or is something simple. Also I wanted to ask, is it bad for me to use my remote start to start my car and then a few seconds later use it to turn it off? Any advice on what to do would be great, thanks.

    Patrick