Remote Start Pointers

posted in: Blog Post | 53

UPDATED 3/12/2020

It’s hard to believe but we have been in business for over 21 years and installing remote starts longer than that.  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.  I have become aware over the years that some customers value what a remote start does, meaning starting your combustible engine with a remote yards or even miles away and some are so used to them and have never owned a car without it they think it’s no big deal and should be quick and cheap.  We like to 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 begin with the ones that are common so that you the customer can be prepared.

  1. 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.  It is specific to your vehicle not the remote start.  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 or factory remote the car recognizes the key being with the car although it isn’t.
  2. 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 with that brand 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 which may be exclusive to certain stores and websites.  In the end, there is a very small number of legitimate online sites selling good product like Viper or Compustar.  There are more reasons discussed below to not buy online; keep reading.
  3. Our product is all manufactured by Compustar and Directed Electronics (DEI).   DEI manufactures the sister products of Viper, Clifford, Python, Sidewinder, Avital, Automate and a few others.  These brands along with Compustar are the most commonly used and installed products 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.
  4. 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 and specific to the brand of the bypass module.  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 and  to see which stores in Raleigh and Wake Forest are qualified.
  5. Price is complicated.  Being a dealer of Compustar and 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 heavily discount our 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 3-4 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.
  6. The coolest thing out there right now?  Smartstart and Drone Mobile.  This is a product manufactured by DEI and Compustar respectfully. These products 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 websites, you can get a lot more information if you’re interested.
  7. Questions we’ll ask you: First, what is your vehicle’s year, make and model?  Do you have a regular ignition key or is it Push to Start? 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 vehicles newer than 2012, 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 European vehicles, do you have a spare key that you are willing to lose?
  8. Warranty:  Viper and Compustar have lifetime warranties for the remote start module itself.  If your remote start system has new remotes they mostly have a 1 year warranty.  Some Compustar have 3 year warranties.  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.  If your vehicle is 2003 or newer it may have 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.

53 Responses

  1. Josh

    I have a 2004 Audi A8L and is interested in a remote start with keyless entry. How much would I be looking at and would I have to sacrifice a key in order to make this work? I have gotten quotes from 2 other places and both said I would have to sacrifice a key.

    • crhoades

      Yes you will need to lose a key..that’s common for German vehicles. You are starting at $460 installed depending on the remote start system you choose and there are several to choose from.

  2. B. Elek

    Looking for a security system for my 2005 z4. I have keyless entry already. Just need some good security with maybe my windows rolling down during hot days but really dont care about the remote start feature.

    Was looking at Scytek Vision Guard 8000 Car Alarm. Not sure if you guys carry or install.

    Let me know what you would recommend and ballpark costs with installation.


    • crhoades

      I apologize for the delay but it has been a busy week. To add an alarm to the Z4 the cost would start at $350 installed and can be as much as $500 installed depending on what you want. As far as the window modules to control your power windows; we wouldn’t even attempt that because of past experience. BMWs are not simple and the windows send triggers to the alarms. If those windows move at all, the alarm goes off. To bypass that is tricky and would prefer to not go down that road. The alarms I priced you are include the Viper 1002, 5204 and the Avital 5303. The install would take 3-4 hours. We are here Monday – Friday, 10-7 if you would like to make an appointment. And thank you for contacting us.

  3. Ryan Sultan

    Looking for most basic auto start on a 2006 honda ridgeline. Key remote is part of the key. Just looking to start my truck in the morning noting extreme. What would I be looking at for parts and labor? Thanks. Recommended to you by Wakefield ATV.

    • crhoades

      If you can lock and unlock with your keyless entry while the engine is running you can use the same lock button on the key to start your vehicle. If you cannot lock and unlock with the buttons while the vehicle’s engine is running then you will have to get some kind of secondary remote. To use your factory remote or get a secondary remote starts at $350. That includes all parts and our installation is free. The installation takes around 3 hours.


    what do you do when the car doesnt recognize the key and the only key entry is the drivers side door how do you reset it then?

    • crhoades

      I would need to know the year/make and model of the vehicle. The model of the remote start.

  5. Poteat

    98 Honda Passport
    No keyless entry.. looking to get a basic automatic start on it… would this fall under your $99 special?

    • crhoades

      Yes it would be the $99 special, even though it has taken me so long to respond. I apologize for that but we are busier after Christmas than before. So the product is $99 and the labor is another $99 to install it. Typically the install is 2 – 2.5 hours and we are here Monday – Friday, 10-7 if you’d like to make an appointment.

  6. markturik

    my wife drives a 2013 honda crv.i would like to know if you can successfully install a remote start for her car? i want a viper system that offiers very basic features. i am strongly leaning towards you all but would like to know the cost approximation before spend the time to come over to raleigh,, we live near wilson.thank you for the quote and i look forward to having my work done by you all.sincrerely, mark turik

  7. John

    I have an 08 Porsche Cayenne. I have recently lost the key fob and right now only have the additional valet key. I’m looking at $400+ to replace the fob – so would I be able to have a remote start installed (which I wanted to do anyway) using the valet key? If so – what’s $ Ballpark on this vehicle?

    • crhoades

      John, I apologize for the delay however we have been really busy. Remote start is definitely possible but you’ll have to have an additional valet key made. With the Porsche and most other German vehicles you have to lose a key to the install. It’s stashed away in the dash so the car will recognize the transponder in the key itself. You don’t have to get another key fob with remote just another valet key. It doesn’t even have to cut, just programmed. That is usually less a lot less expensive. It should be no problem to get that done. Either way, the remote start and keyless entry will cost $550 installed.

  8. Keon pondexter

    I have a 2009 nissan maxima s type I want two twelves a amp and flat screen radio installed but I would like the subs to be on the sides like Saab you did one on each side for more trunk space how much would that be

  9. Jay Johnson

    I have a 2013 Ford Explore is it possible to put a remote starter on it and if so how much would it cost?. By the way do you put Tv screens in the head rest …… This is a new model just wondering ?

    • crhoades

      Jay, I apologize to have taken so long, very busy lately. Yes you can certainly add remote start. If you wish to use your factory keyless entry remote the cost is $329 installed. Yes to the headrests. There are 3 options. They start at $550 for 2 headrests for a universal kit that may or may not match perfectly and go up to $1600 for 2 headrests that do match your interior perfectly and have DVD and removable android tablets for screens.

  10. Tuan

    I have a 2011 Acura mdx and want to add engine start/stop button to start the car without sticking the key to the ignition. Would that be possible?

    • crhoades

      It is possible. We do not sell the product ourselves but have installed it a few times. Typical install cost is $300 for 4 hours of labor.

  11. Jamol Johnson

    Hello I have a 2005 Dodgde Magnum R/T and I’m looking to get a remote starter system as well as a Pioneer AVIC-8000NEX Navigation receiver with apple car play could maybe give me an idea of how much that would be installed?

    • crhoades

      Jamol, I apologize for taking so long to reply. It has been incredibly busy. The remote start itself will start at $320 installed if you are using your factory remotes for the remote start function. The AVIC-8000NEX with labor and parts would be $1700.

  12. Linda Anderson

    I was interested in purchasing remote start for my two sons for a Christmas present, but have no idea about the bypass module, etc. you mentioned would be needed. One vehicle is a 2001 chevrolet impala and the other is a 2004 S-10 pick-up. Also, since both cars have some age on them, I am not sure how long they plan to keep them. Can these remote starts be transferred/installed on other vehicles? Can you provide an approximate price for each one?

    • crhoades

      Linda thank you for messaging us and I apologize for the delay…busy, busy. If you are still needing information for these 2 vehicles I hope you’ll find my information helpful. Each starts at $350 installed. They each need bypass modules. The price does include all parts and labor, just not tax. You can remove them from either vehicle if you so choose, however it may not be worth it depending on the new vehicle. I always advise customer to just contact us first when trying to decide. In other words, it may be same cost to get a new one installed as removing and then reinstalling into the new vehicle. Labor is actually free when you buy the remote start from us on the initial install, but removal and reinstall is charged by the hour. The $350 includes either installing remote start to work with their factory keyless entry remote if they have one or installing a remote start with a new keyless entry system. We have all parts in stock.

  13. Stephanie

    I have a 2003 Dodge Stratus. I have already purchased a system online and am, as you put it, “frustrating”ly looking for someone to install it. I would love to find someone to install it rather then this purchase be a waste of money. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    The system is a CrimeStopper Security Plus SP-101 Deluxe 1-way alarm system. It has everything included, according to the paperwork. Modules, door lock actuators (4), keychains (2), wiring, and everything that was in the system box.

    I just really want to get this installed. Please help.

    • crhoades

      I will need to ask our technicians whether they know anything about the crime stopper. Please call us at our store tomorrow or email me at which I check a lot more often. Our number is 919-562-0800. It’s really going to come down to whether they feel confident in the product and if they are familiar with it. We do not sell this product and never have but it could be something made by DEI but with their logo on it. You said it includes actuators, does your stratus need power door locks or does it already have power door locks? We open at 10 so please give me until around 11am to know if we can do this for you or not. Have a good evening.

  14. David

    I am looking for the price installed for a basic remote start for my 08 Tacoma. I have a seperate remote fob and key is seperate. Thx

    • crhoades

      I have emailed you a quote specific to your vehicle. Thanks for contacting us.

  15. Brendan

    I have a question. It is probably a stupid question but I got my remote start and I am currently waiting for the bypass module to ship. Am I able to install my remote start and just not use it until I get my bypass module or is that going to screw up my vehicle?

    • crhoades

      It’s not stupid but a question of time. You will be duplicating and possibly doing over part of your install when the bypass module comes in. I can’t say specific to your car because I don’t know what bypass module you are using. But not every bypass module wires up the same. In other words, if I handed one of my technicians a remote start to install in a vehicle that needed a bypass to make the remote start work but didn’t give him a bypass module he would question it. He would then ask, “Will they eventually add a bypass module?” because that would change how he wires up the remote start brain itself. So depending on how knowledgeable you are would really be the determining factor on that answer. If you’ve installed one of these before and you know what the extra work is then fine. You won’t damage the product you are just causing more work for yourself. That’s all. So now it’s about how much are you needing your keyless entry and/or alarm in the meantime. Good luck! Thanks for asking.

  16. Luther Williams

    I have a 2006 325i BMW 4 dr and I want new radio installed with possible navigation system. My current radio has Sirius XM and want to keep that same feature. Can you recommend a system to replace my current system and what is a ballpark cost.Thanks and I look forward to your response. Luther

    • crhoades

      I hope you had a good weekend. This might be easier by phone but I’ll do my best this way. If you want to call me please do at 919-562-0800. With many 2000 and newer BMWs this is what I tell customers. I’m not finding very reliable information. When we look up the specs on yours it’s not consistent with what it says will work. So, first I need you to call a BMW dealership, speak to parts and you will need to ask them if the factory amplifier is fiber optic or not. You will need to have your VIN handy when you call. If it’s not fiber optic, that’s good, still not able to give an absolute firm estimate but that’s far more promising that having fiberoptic. If it is fiberoptic you will at the least lose your factory subwoofer(s), located most likely in the rear deck. In this case the other concern is if you have more than 4 large door speakers and 2 tweeters up front, any extra speakers will also stop working if you have a fiber optic amplifier. The new radio can power up to 4 large door speakers and the 2 tweeters and that’s it. For anything else to play you will need to add an amplifier. If you want to replace your factory subwoofer or keep them working, we might be able to add just an amplifier to power them or you might have to add an amplifier and subwoofer in the trunk.

      Basically, what we recommend regardless of having fiber optic or not is you make an appointment with us. It will take around an hour and we will charge $75. Knowing if it’s fiber optic though will narrow our search during the appointment. We will need to look behind the radio, verify some information, check your speakers ohm loads etc., and then we will make our recommendations and let you know what we find. You then decide to go forward with an install or not. If you go forward, we apply the $75 to it. If you decide not to, you will still know what is possible but we will still charge the $75.

      I just had this same conversation with an owner of a 2008 335 BMW. His has the fiber optic amplifier and I told him the radio will now power the speakers but his subs in the rear deck will not play. We might be able to install an amplifier to power those, several things determine that, and then again we might have to install a whole new sub in the trunk and a new amplifier to power it.

      Not knowing if the amplifier is fiber optic or not the range for cost is large. Somewhere between $1100 and $2000. If you have any questions please let me know.

  17. Steve

    Hi, I am looking to get a basic remote start installed on a manual transmission 2008 Ford Mustang GT. A range better than the factory fob would be best. Thanks!

    • crhoades

      Steve, for liability reason we cannot install a basic remote start. For Viper you need to get one of the LE remote starts. This has features built in that are able to regulate when the remote start is used. You have to do a bit of “hokey pokey” for this to work. So with the proper remote start installed these are the steps. Park, pop into neutral, press remote start button on remote (which allows engine to still run), pull key out of ignition, get out of car, lock the door, press remote start function again (which will turn engine off). So purpose of this is to prove you are out of the vehicle unable to move the gear into first, etc because it detects it is locked before shutting engine down. If you need to go into your vehicle before remote starting, say you left your wallet in your car and need to unlock it to get it out then you will not be able to remote start next time you get in. The vehicle has been unlocked and the remote start will know that. You’ll have to figure from there if it’s too much of a safe hassle or not. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

  18. Tracy

    I would like a remote start installed in my 2015 Toyota Camry. Can I get an estimate on how much that will cost?

    • crhoades

      Hi Tracy,
      If you have push to start there is something you need to know. For now at least, when you use remote start on your vehicle the engine will shut off when you open the door. There is not a firmware program that can get around that feature yet. Many push to starts are not like this, but most Toyota/Lexus are. So in other words, you can still remotely start your Camry, it will warm up or cool down whichever you’re using it for, but when you open the door to get in your engine will shut off. Then you will need to use the push to start button again. If that bothers you then you might want to wait to see if that is eventually circumvented later. If not, then the cost is $320.

      If you have a regular key for the ignition, there are no issues like that. The remote start installed is $350 and you will get two different remotes. Each will have one button that you push for remote start and then will press it again to unlock the doors to get in. In other words, also common for many Asian vehicles, when your engine is running your Toyota remote will not lock or unlock anymore, same is true with remote start. So you have to get a remote start with it’s own remote. Very common. Either install will take around 3-4 hours. We are here Monday – Friday, 10am – 7pm except this week. Please see our home page for hours.

      Have a great day and thank you for your interest.

  19. Bryant

    I have a 2014 Ford F150 with keyless entry and lock/unlock/panic on my keys. How much will remote start cost for this unit?

    • crhoades

      I apologize for the late reply but I never received a notice for this and only saw it because I received a notice for one that occurred just yesterday. If it’s not too late and you are still interested the cost to add remote start to your factory remote is $300 installed. If you would like something with further range and need new remotes that starts at $350 installed. If you have any other questions and need to contact us please do so directly at or 919.562.0800. We are here Monday – Friday, 10-7.

  20. Jalen Bobbitt

    2006 Ford Mustang, V6 Automatic .. I want remote start for my car. I have keyless entry already. I need the price to get this done.

    • crhoades

      I apologize for the late reply but I wasn’t notified of this contact like usual. If it’s not too late and you are still interested the cost for this is $300 from your factory remote or if you want something with further range and need new remotes that starts at $350. This includes installation but not tax. Thank you for contacting us. If you do in the future please directly email us at or call 919.562.0800. We are here Monday – Friday, 10-7.

  21. Phillip Ruffin

    2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo v8I\’m interested in getting a remote start

    • crhoades

      Remote start for that product will start you around $300 installed. There are more expensive options but that is where it will start for that vehicle. Installation takes 3-4 hours and we are here Monday – Friday. Have a good day and thank you for contacting us. If you have further questions please directly email or call at or 919-562-0800.

  22. ORCHID

    I have a 2015 Altima and i have a push to start and i have a factory remote start.. I want to be able to install the smartstart so i can arm/disarm lock/unlock and remote start with my phone… can this be done without adding the smartstart remote start and just purchasing the smartstart gps .. ???? please email me . thank you 🙂

  23. Twaine

    I am looking to install a remote start into my 2013 Hyundai Sonata. What would be the price for that?

  24. Charles

    I have a 2013 Infiniti M37 sport and I want to get a remote start installed. Can you give me an estimate? What type of warranty is offered on the product that you suggest? What is the product that you suggest? And, Will the remote start allow the heater or Ac to activate before entering the car or what features would be acsessible with the product?

  25. K. Ennis

    1997 Chevy 1500 here, being an older truck I would like to get it started in the winter from inside the house so I can let her warm up. Whats a ball park price range, plus Im looking to get all new speakers and sub. Is there a discount package price for getting it all done together? Thank you

    • crhoades

      Sorry for the delay. The remote start on that would be about $300 installed. Speakers installed start at $300 and sub, amp, box, parts and labor start at around $550. When you buy the product from we discount the labor a lot which I did in these quotes. The job itself would take a full day and only charged you for 4 hours for example.

  26. Lynn

    Hi, I have a 2016 Chevy Traverse that I would like a remote start installed. How much will it be, how long does it take, can you program it to work with my Key Fob Keyless Entry that has the button for the remote start and lastly, do I need to make an appointment?

    • crhoades

      Hi Lynn
      I apologize for the delay but this wasn’t sent to our email as it should be. Remote start will cost $350 installed plus tax and it will work with your factory remote. You would press LOCK 3 times to start it. The install takes 3-4 hours and we are here Monday – Friday, 10am – 7pm. Our hours this week are we will be closed Thursday and Wednesday and Friday we are open 10am – 2pm. If you would like to make an appointment or have more questions either email us at or call us at 919-562-0800. Have a great day and I apologize for the delay.

  27. Gabe

    Hi, I have a 2019 Tacoma and I would like to get 2 10 inch subwoofers installed with a 500 watt amp, both preferably JL brand and have a new sterio installed. What would the price range be for all of that?

    • crhoades

      Hey there. Not sure if you have all this already or not. If you have it, we charge $85/hour when you bring it to us and all that would take around 5 hours. If you are needing the product and buy it from us we discount our labor, a lot. I’m going to send you an email to your gmail account. Please let me know if you don’t get it. You should get it pretty soon. It’s Friday around 9am.

  28. Kim

    Hi – I have a 2016 Kia Sedona on which we\’d love to have a remote start added. What would the approximate costs be and how long would it take to install?

    • crhoades

      Kim – I apologize for the late reply. I saw it just now as I was responding to others. We receive notices of these questions/comments but I apparently didn’t receive one for you or for some reason it might have gone to junk mail. If you are still interested the remote start installed would cost $350 plus tax if you have a Push To Start ignition and that would work through your factory remote. If you have a regular key for ignition the remote start would be $400 installed plus tax and that would be a system adding a remote for the remote start function. The installs take around 3-4 hours and we are here Monday – Friday, 10-7. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to make an appointment. You can call us at 919-562-0800 if you’d like or email us directly at Thank you for considering us.

  29. Kamiliah

    Hi,I already have a compustar cs-920s for my 2012 Subaru Forester the basic model nothing special about it. I am now pricing places to install it. How much is the install at your shop? I bought it directly from compustar so their customer service told me I may need a bypass but advised me to check with an installer before investing money in one. How much would be the additional cost for the bypass be if I need one?Thanks so much for your time

  30. Andrew B.

    I have a 2006 Hyundai Tucson GLS that I\\\\’m interested with a Viper remote start system. I have a few questions.1. The vehicle has it\\\\’s factory alarm system installed that I would like to keep and I\\\\’m not sure if it interferes with starting the vehicle with the system armed. Will a Viper remote start system be able to disarm it when it receives a command to remote start?2. I heard a couple different things about older Hyundai vehicles. I heard that a 2006 Tucson won\\\\’t need an immobilizer bypass and should be able to install right in. I also heard a different side saying that it does need a bypass and that I need to sacrifice the spare key. But I heard that only Candian Hyundai vehicles do that and mine is not a Canada vehicle. Can Car Audio and Security confirm that for me?3. I have an aftermarket Pioneer radio with the micro bypass brake wire installed. I\\\\’m not sure if it\\\\’s wired into the parking brake itself or if it\\\\’s just for the radio but would this interfere with the remote start unit since it requires a connection to the emergency brake?4. Without the optional horn honk feature, what would the estimate of parts and labor be for this vehicle?

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