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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 https://www.compustar.com/find-a-dealer/ and 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 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.
- 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 https://www.viper.com/smartstart/or https://dronemobile.com/ websites, you can 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 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?
- 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.