Remote starters are a very popular item for our store. Most people, like myself, appreciate being able to start their car during extreme temperatures and have their vehicle comfortable when they get in. Some people have had it installed from the factory on their vehicle and think nothing of it as a feature until they buy a vehicle that does not have it. Then they start the hunt and often are surprised at their cost and lengthy install. We often explain in detail many things about the remote start. Some are individual to the vehicle and some are common to all vehicles. I’m going to list the ones that are common so that you the customer can be prepared.
- For Everyone: Most vehicles manufactured since 1998 need, what is called in the car audio industry, a “bypass module”. This part is required depending on your vehicle and it will be needed regardless of the type of remote start you purchase. They are needed when your vehicle’s keys are transponder or have a microchip embedded in the key. These keys basically are programmed to be the only keys to start your car. Your engine will not start if it doesn’t recognize the key. The bypass module is programmed with those keys and then duplicates the key once installed in the vehicle. When you use the start command from your new remote the car recognizes the key being with the car, although it isn’t.
- Online purchases beware: If you buy your remote start product on line don’t assume your product purchase is done. First, most online sites won’t even mention the fact you need a bypass module and may sell you one a local professional isn’t familiar with. Hunting down someone who is familiar can be frustrating. Second, as I will explain in the next item, not all brands are equal and your local professional may refuse to install it due to past complications. Third, if there is a brand you like, you should check out warranty on that specific brand’s website, not the online site you are considering buying from. The brand’s site will give you the real warranty information. In the end, there is a very small number of legitimate online sites selling good product like Viper. There are more reasons discussed below to not buy online; keep reading.
- Our product is all manufactured by Directed Electronics. They manufacture the sister products of Viper, Clifford, Python, Sidewinder, Avital, Automate and a few others. This is the most commonly used and installed product for remote starts and because of this and their reliability, many stores like ours will only install their brands. We and other professional installation shops like ours, will rarely consider installing a remote start product bought from your local auto parts store. Return it. I beg you. Your car begs you.
- Installation: Your friend, your friend’s friend, a Craigslist advertised installer should not be doing this. If your car does require a bypass module this should absolutely be installed by a professional installer. That doesn’t mean your mechanic. Many of the bypass modules require firmware downloads specific to each vehicle. Also, the wiring schematics are not always 100% correct. In those cases, trial and error based on professional experience is required. So unless your friend just recently stopped working at a 12 volt shop, you should take your car to a 12 volt shop. Not any 12 volt shop but one that is actually acknowledged by the manufacturer to be qualified. You can check out www.viper.com/stores/default.aspx?postalcode=27587 to see which stores in Raleigh and Wake Forest are qualified.
- Price is complicated. Being a dealer of Directed Electronics brands, we sell the product as suggested by them. If you call to ask about the price, there are several models to choose from. We’ll make recommendations depending on your vehicle and the kind of key that comes with it, so be prepared for several different questions. We often lose sales due to the fact we give the complete price up front when people call or come in to inquire. We give the price for the remote start and bypass if needed and many places, including big box stores, do not. If you ask us and our price is higher, make sure you are comparing apples to apples and not apples to knuckleheads. If you have specific needs such as add on features or range of the remote, they need to be specified. We do not charge for labor when the product is bought from us. If you bring us a remote start you bought elsewhere, we charge by the hour for the labor. Keep in mind, many vehicles usually require a 4-5 hour installation. In many cases, you can buy the whole thing from us for the same if not less and still have a lifetime warranty. If you go to Directed Electronics website, www.viper.com , the only online purchase with a warranty is one purchased from them or a baby sized hand full of other websites that sell the product for the same price as us.
- The coolest thing out there right now? Smartstart. This is a product manufactured by DEI that allows you, after installation and paying for a year network plan in advance, to use your smartphone as a remote. You can lock, unlock, start, panic, trunk release from your phone using an app. The range is unlimited, and unlike your keys, you always know where your phone is, right? From the www.viper.com website, you can choose the smartstart link and get a lot more information if you’re interested.
- Questions we’ll ask you: First, what is your vehicle’s year, make and model? Do you already have a keyless entry remote? Is your key and remote one large piece or is the remote separate from the key? For most American vehicles, if you do have factory keyless, is its working range far enough for you to remote start your vehicle as you will need? (In other words, most people don’t try to unlock their vehicle until they are close to it, however, the purpose of a remote start is to have a comfortable temperature in the vehicle, which would need to be activated for a minimum of 5 minutes; and therefore further away. Don’t just consider from your backdoor but also from your desk at work, from inside the theater, etc.) For most German vehicles, do you have a spare key that you are willing to lose?
- Warranty: Viper is lifetime warranty for the remote start module itself. Our non-Viper brands all have a 1 year warranty. Remotes, regardless of brand, are always 1 year. Our labor has a lifetime warranty on anything we install. This warranty does not apply to tampering from outside sources. Our strongest recommendation is this; do not let anyone touch your vehicle that does not offer a lifetime warranty on their labor. You should ask because not everyone does this.
This may seem like a lot of information to consider. However, it is all important in your decision process. This is your fuel injected engine we are talking about, not an RC car. Did you know your vehicle has a computer behind the dash? That is also tied into your engine and you don’t want a knucklehead messing around your on board computer.
As long as remote starts have been around, they are still misunderstood and not hugely used. It’s something not even vehicle manufacturers have a good grasp on. For instance, many of the newer Chevy trucks come with remote start, however, if you purchase one of the trucks that didn’t come from the factory with remote start and want it, good luck getting it from the dealership. We get those calls a lot.
If you have more questions, need a quote or would like to set up an appointment, please give us a call.