Remote Start Basics

So, you’re considering getting remote start for one of your vehicles.  Maybe you’ve even made some calls or emailed some shops for estimates only to find out the price varies quite a bit from one place to another.  Well, there are some good reasons for this and several things you should consider before investing in a remote start system.

When will I use it?

The obvious answer is first thing in the morning.  It’s 7:00 am on a cold December morning, your truck has been sitting in the driveway all night so you want to warm it up and get the frost off the windows while you finish getting ready for work.  But what about at work? Your car has been sitting in the parking lot all day, it’s July and it’s 90 degrees at 5:00 in the afternoon. It’s going to feel like a sauna in there.  How about using your remote start to cool off your interior? That’s right, you can use remote start to activate the air conditioning as well. Just like setting your climate controls to heat the interior on those cold mornings you can also set them to cool the interior on a hot day.


Where will I use it?

Well, now you may be considering using it at work but the most common place is at home.  But what about at a movie theater, a grocery store or at school. Anytime your vehicle sits for extended periods of time the interior can get hot or cold depending on the season.  Preset your climate controls before you get out of that vehicle and you can use your remote start system to offset whichever season it may be.

How will I control it?

There is more than one way to activate your remote start system and that’s why it is important to consider the first two questions.  So, now that you’ve considered where and when you’ll use it, how do you go about actually using it? There are three basic ways;

  1. Use the factory key fob you already have.  This is a very favorable option but can have limitations;

    1. Range - most factory fobs are only used for remote locking and unlocking of the vehicle which means they really only need to work when they are close to the vehicle.

    2. Some factory fobs will not work when the vehicle is running.  This means that when you remote start your vehicle you won’t be able to remotely unlock it. Instead you will have to manually unlock it when the vehicle is remote started.

  2. Use an aftermarket remote.  There are several advantages to this option but it does require the addition of a small one button remote working in tandem with your factory fob or replacing the factory one with a new one that can control everything.  Some advantages to this option are;

    1. Increased range - a basic aftermarket remote can easily reach a couple hundred feet and possibly reach as far as a mile.  There are even some companies talking about reaching as far as two miles in the near future.

    2. Two way communication - some remotes can tell you if your car has started in those situations when you can’t see your vehicle.  (Movie theater, grocery store, school)

    3. Simplicity - being able to control your keyless entry and remote start from one remote with good range is clearly more convenient than having to use multiple remotes or even one with poor range.

  3. Use your smartphone.  That’s right, you can use your smartphone to remote start your vehicle as well as remotely lock or unlock it.  There are two ways this works;

    1. Long range Bluetooth - this option is quick and easy and can even replace the need for a secondary fob or aftermarket remote all together.  Downside is range. Long range Bluetooth is often referred to as “driveway range.” Meaning it is really only reliable when your car is in your driveway or somewhere similar.

    2. Cellular/GPS combo - this option is a bit slower and is a lot like sending a text message to your vehicle but range is basically unlimited.  As long as your car and phone have signal, you can start it. You don’t even have to be in the same state. Ever lock your keys in your car?  Well, with this option, you can also lock/unlock your car, track its location in real time and place a geofence around it. Just in case you don’t know what a geofence is, here is a link to help explain;

Okay, that’s a fair amount of information and we’ve tried to keep it short and simple but there are still some things to consider and these things can often explain why the pricing varies so much from one place to another.  For starters, not all installs are equal. This is probably the biggest reason pricing varies so much. There are many shops that simply want to get your vehicle in and out as quickly as possible so they will skip certain features or attempt to up sell them once you are there.  A few of those features are;

  1. Hood pin.  This should be an industry standard feature but unfortunately it is not.  A hood pin a safety switch that disables the remote start feature any time the hood of your vehicle is open.  This way you or your mechanic can’t accidentally activate the remote start whenever the vehicle is being serviced.

  2. Parking light verification.  This is not critical but sure makes any remote start system easier to use.  A properly installed remote start system will flash the parking lights to confirm the vehicle has received the start command from your remote or phone and then keep the parking lights on during the run cycle so you can see it is running.

  3. Climate control.  You would think this would be a given, right?  The function of remote start is to warm up or cool down the vehicle ahead of time, but, some vehicles require additional parts and time for this to work correctly and chances are quite high that the person you speak with on the phone won’t know this detail or won’t take the time to verify this detail.

All these things are standard at Streamline Audio.  Not only these things but more. Right from the beginning, you will speak with an experienced tech regardless of how you contact us.  All phone calls and emails are connected with one of our technicians so you will get an accurate response from someone that not only knows the products but also has the ability to perform the work you are asking about.  We also use OEM grade integration harnesses whenever possible to avoid unnecessary “splicing” into your vehicle wiring.

A few last details - know the vehicle you want remote start installed on.  What is the make, model and year of the vehicle?  Is it a manual or automatic transmission? Does it have a smart key or push button start option?  These are all details we need to know in order to create the perfect remote start system for you.