< See all articles

5 things you should know before buying a remote starter

When it’s cold, windy AND snowy, do you really want to go out to warm up the car? Of course not! This is where the remote starter becomes your best friend. Even if your car, SUV or truck doesn’t come standard with this feature, you can still install it. Here’s how.

How do remote starters work?

There are three main types of remote starters:

  • One-way remote starter

In this case, the signal only goes one way: from the remote control to a unit installed in the engine. The simplest models only start the engine remotely, but others can also open the trunk, lock or unlock the doors or activate an alarm.

  • Two-way remote starter

A two-way signal confirms that the remote start has worked. The system also receives information from the vehicle such as the interior temperature, whether the doors are closed and locked, and the health of the battery.

  • Smart remote starter

These models allow you to use your smartphone as a remote control to operate the unit. You use an app to remotely start your vehicle or lock and unlock the doors from any location, as long as you have access to a cellular network. Some models also allow you to locate your vehicle in a large parking lot or set a speed limit.

Are remote starters safe?

Yes. As soon as a door is opened, the engine stops. A thief can’t just run away with your car running. However, if your remote starter has the ability to unlock the doors, there are devices that can pick up and hack into the signal, similar to automatic garage doors.

You don’t have to go outside to warm up your vehicle and defog the windows – just push a button and you’re ready to go. The heat also helps loosen the snow and ice so you can remove snow from the body and scrape the windshield more easily. If it’s very cold, warming up the engine before you drive allows the oil to lubricate it which is good for the engine.

How to choose the right remote starter

The greater the range of your remote starter, the greater the distance between the remote and your vehicle can be. This usually doesn’t matter at home, but it’s handy in a large mall parking lot.

A one-way remote starter can operate up to 900 meters and two-way models have a range of 250 to over 900 meters, depending on the product. Be aware that the signal range may be reduced by walls, doors, windows, and metal surfaces (such as an elevator or appliances).

Finally, a smart starter can connect to your vehicle from any distance – as long as you have access to the cellular network.

How much do remote starters cost?

According to Protégez-vous magazine, you can expect to pay between $120 and $260 for a one-way remote-starter1. A two-way model will cost between $300 and $500, depending on its range and features. Finally, a smart remote starter costs between $300 and $400, and is subject to a subscription fee after the second year of service.

Installation costs are already included in the prices listed above.

Can I install a remote starter myself?

That depends. Do you have a soldering iron, a digital multimeter and advanced electronics knowledge? If the answer is no, then it’s probably not a good idea for you to install it yourself.

To avoid damaging your vehicle’s computer systems or injuring yourself, leave the job to our specially trained technicians instead. Find your Docteur du Pare-Brise location right here.

[1] https://www.protegez-vous.ca/automobile/demarreurs-a-distance