Mistakes People Make When Buying a Remote Car Starter

Written by Chloe Harwood

Remote car starters are devices that allow you to start vehicles without physically being in them.  For example, in cold weather climates in the frosty morning you can start up your car and it will be nice and warm by the time you hop in. Conversely, in hot climates, you can get your cars interior to cool down into double digit temperatures before jumping in.

Sound good? If you want a remote car starter, you can have your dealer install one for you, or you can have a third-party installer install one.  Yes, some DIY remote car starter kits are available but it’s really best for a trained mechanic install them. Here’s some things to consider:

Get a Remote Car Starter with Enough Range

Manufacturers often state certain ranges, like “500-foot range” on their packaging.  It is important to know that the range may be much less. Their “500-foot range” may be the case in a perfect situation –no walls or buildings in the way- but this isn’t usually the case.  Don’t shortchange yourself with insufficient transmitter range. Look for 1000-feet or more.

Don’t Buy a Cheap One

Low prices can be appealing. For example, you can probably buy a remote car starter at the local auto parts store for just $69.99. The folks at Gulf Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram (Foley, AZ) say be careful.  This type of remote starter is usually of lower quality than the units that you would buy at a specialty retailer. Consider the fact that if it only works for 6 months, you really didn’t save any money because now you have to buy a second one.

Not Getting a Remote Car Starter with the Proper Feature Set

Remote car starters offer a lot of features.  Be sure and get all the features you expect when you buy one. Some models are simply what they sound like: a basic remote car starter. Others have multiple functions, ranging from keyless entry and trunk release to heated seat activation and rear window defrost.

A common mistake when considering options is assuming that certain things “might work”with the starter. For example, the rear window defroster will not just come on if you left it on. In this case, this is a latched output that resets when the power is shut off. This feature needs to be specifically added to almost all installs.


A remote starter is an awesome addition to any vehicle but use prudence when looking for a both the unit to buy and the person who is going to install it for you. It’s not that difficult a decision when you are armed with the right information. Spend a few hours researching them on the web first. Good luck!

About the author

Chloe Harwood