Bad Experiences with Remote Starters

Once an exceptionally rare feature on cars and trucks – remote starters have become more and more common. For some, adding this feature onto the purchase of a new vehicle makes sense, although building it into the monthly payment does not. Remote starters are very popular in the secondary market – and much more practical. While not inexpensive, remote starters are well worth the money – especially in climates that experience harsh weather. Behind heated seats, having a remote starter in the winter is a true luxury!

While there’s no shortage of installation options, which includes everything between the big box superstores and the mom-n-pop places, it’s important that your remote starter is 1) the best quality you can afford and B) installed correctly – the first time! There are plenty of horror stories from shoddy installations and chintzy starter systems:

Poor quality
Not all remote starters are created equally. With price points between $200 and $400 for materials and labor (depending on the vehicle), remote starter systems offer just as many feature differences. Make sure you know exactly what’s most important to you and don’t take shortcuts to get that feature.

Shoddy installation
Pay for the expertise. It’s just not worth cutting corners here – because in the long run, you may find yourself getting a remote starter installed twice. We’ve seen some real beauties over the years:

Do your homework
Before you start shopping for a remote starter system, do a little legwork. Consumer reports provide a solid starting point for your research. Especially if you have a new car, make sure you understand your warranty – the last thing you want to do it install a remote starter that voids any of the manufacturer’s warranty. In the broadest of terms, consider the following to look for when shopping for a remote starter:

Budget: It goes without saying to NOT go with the cheapest remote starter – you’re just asking for problems. And get more than one installation quote – typically an installation should take no more than 2 hours.

Transmitter Range: What is the range of the transmitter? Do you live in an apartment or home? Is your garage attached or detached? What kind of head-start do you need to start your vehicle? These are all part of the equation.

1-way or 2-way system: The difference between the two is significant. With a 1-way system, your car will start remotely with the push of a button provided you’re within range. The advantage of a 1-way system is that its cost is less. With a 2-way remote starter, the transmitter talks to the car and the car talks to the transmitter. When you press the remote start – the car starts and will let you know that your car has started by signaling back to the transmitter. For this feature, users can expect to pay a little more.

Features: Does the system include a trunk opener? An alarm/panic feature? Does it open all the doors? The windows? If you have a newer car with keyless entry, is it compatible? Figure out what you need the most and go from there.

All in the family: DO NOT buy a remote starter at “Place A” and have it installed at “Place B”. Just don’t. You’re welcome.

Remote starters can be magical. Don’t forget to do your research not only for the right unit, but the right installation. Whether during a scorching summer day or blinding snowstorm, you’ll be glad you did the work!

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