Remote start is a highly convenient option, especially when you consider the number of vehicles that have heated seating, along with general comfort options.
People who live in hot environments also appreciate the ability to set the car’s interior environment long before they climb inside.
According to Consumer Technology Association, remote start (or some similar feature, such as smartphone app controls) is available in roughly 90% of all vehicles sold today. If you’re in the market for a new car, odds are good your choice will have a remote start.
Table of Contents
Remote Start in Most Vehicles
If you happen to love manual transmission vehicles, you’re the exception to the rule. For the most part, manual transmission vehicles lack remote start. However, manual vehicles are becoming more and more difficult to find as the years go by.
Even if you happen to be a part of the 10%, manufacturer options allow you to install a remote start feature in your vehicle. Also, even if you’re rocking a 2005 Ford Mustang, you can install a remote start feature in that as well.
The remote start feature is simple enough, in terms of technology, that it doesn’t require much to install the feature. In general, cars built prior to 2005 will need a third-party, aftermarket remote-start system.
Cars newer than that will generally have the option available directly from the manufacturer of the vehicle. Back to the manual transmissions, it’s not as easy to find remote-start, aftermarket options, however, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
The current market just doesn’t place an emphasis on remote start availability for manual transmissions. For obvious reasons, there just isn’t any money in it.
When the vast majority of traffic out there consists of automatic transmissions, you’ll find a barren wasteland when looking for aftermarket, smart options for manual transmission vehicles.
Finding Remote Start for Your Vehicle
If you own an older vehicle or just happen to be one of the few newer car owners that didn’t get the remote-start feature, you still have options. This includes manual transmission folks as well.
Though it may be more challenging to find for the latter group, it’s still worth looking for.
The biggest reason that manual transmission vehicles lack the feature is the nature of the vehicle. If you gave out manual transmission vehicles to 100,000 people, you would find that within a year, 60% to 80% would develop the habit of leaving their car in first gear while it’s parked.
Obviously, that would be problematic. In fact, some aftermarket shops won’t install remote-start on a stick shift. Of course, that makes it even more difficult to find remote-start options for a manual vehicle. For everyone else, there are a lot of options on the market.
- Viper 4105V Remote Start System
- EasyGuard EC003N-k Remote Engine Start System
- Excalibur AL18703DB
- Viper 5706V
- Start-X Remote Start Kit
- Compustar CS7900-AS
- Prestige APS997Z
- CrimeStopper RS4-G5
- MPC Remote Start Kit
Now, if you browse through a couple of the options listed above, you’ll find that some of them are far more than just a remote-start system. Many of these third-market options include an alarm system or anti-theft mechanisms.
Some of them include key fobs with digital screens and others will connect to your smartphone via an associated app. In cases where an app is used, you’ll have both a key fob and the app option for unlocking and remote starting your vehicle.
Can You Install a Remote-Start System Yourself?
The good thing about DIY automotive jobs is the internet. You can jump online and find any installation manual for just about any product. If you are set on installing it yourself, you can certainly do so.
However, it’s best to at least have a working knowledge of electrical wiring in automotive systems. Before you make a decision and form over the money, you can pull up the product manual and the installation instructions and get a pretty good idea of what you’re in for.
If you go over the instructions and think you can handle it just fine, go for it. For the most part, however, those who purchase aftermarket or manufacturer remote-start systems take their vehicle in and get it professionally installed. It’s also important to keep in mind there are two types of remote-start systems.
These are the simplest and most affordable remote-start systems for aftermarket installation. They’re not cheap because the product is cheap; it’s cheap because there’s not much to it. A one-way system sends a signal to your vehicle via the keyfob and that’s it.
There is no return from the vehicle. You press the button and the vehicle cranks up. One-way systems often have a shorter range than two-way systems but you should be able to start your car from inside your home without any issues.
These are the kinds of systems that feature more intricate key fobs and smartphone apps. You send a signal to the car and the car sends one back. When you press the button, the vehicle cranks up and sends a return signal—usually containing data on the vehicle or even something as simple as letting you know that it started successfully.
If you install a premium, two-way remote start, you’ll probably get a lot more, depending on the product. A ‘lot more’ might entail start-up data, the current status of the vehicle, whether or not there is a ‘check engine’ issue going on, etc.
Some will even send you feedback on the internal temperature of the vehicle, which is a pretty nice feature to have in the middle of the winter or summer.
Remote Start Range
This is one of the questions that pops up the most when it comes to aftermarket, remote-start considerations. Most people just want to know if they can start their vehicle from their beds or from the front of a store when their car is all the way in the back of the parking lot.
For the most part, manufacturers strive to develop key fobs that have a range between 700’ and 800’. That’s more than two football fields so it’s a pretty good distance. However, as with most consumer electronics signals, there are materials that minimize and weaken the signal.
Generally speaking, it’s more difficult to remotely start a vehicle through multiple brick or concrete walls. Wood, glass, metal, sheetrock, ceramic, brick, concrete, and mortar are all materials that affect the signal to one degree or another.
In a home, you might find it harder to remotely start the vehicle when you are in a section of your home that’s the farthest from the vehicle. You may also find difficulty remote starting from deep within a grocery store or some other retail chain.
Most aftermarket and manufacturer-provided key fobs are pretty strong. Older key fobs are more likely to struggle through several walls than newer key fobs with improved technology and a stronger signal.
Final Thoughts on Starting Your Car Remotely
Whether remote-start is built into your vehicle (most new vehicles will feature some sort of remote-start capabilities) or installed with an aftermarket device, you can start your car remotely. Even if you buy a used car that’s as old as 2010 or 2015, there’s a good chance it has a remote start.
If you drive a manual or are on the lookout for a manual shift, it’s less clear. A lot of third-party auto installation businesses won’t install them because of liability issues. If you own a manual shift, remote-start is feasible but a bit more of a pain to find and install.
Whether you want to do it yourself or are looking to get a remote-start device installed, remote-start is a highly convenient, creature comfort. With some of the premium device options out there, remote start is just a small part of the overall package.