Engine & Transmission Tips • Issue 42

Add A Remote Starter

To Your Ride

It's easier than ever before to add the comfort of remote start to your existing vehicle.

Car Remote Start AS258075196 1800Most cars today have a remote start capability. Either through the key/remote you get with the car, or via your smart phone.

But what about those of us who want to start our car from the comfort of our kitchen on those cold winter mornings.

Well, it’s getting easier to do that very thing.

As little as a few years ago, getting a remote start package installed in your car was expensive. Nowadays, there are packages that offer wiring harnesses that plug right into your car, and that’s pretty much all there is to it. You get a remote you can point out the window and start your car.

You should remember to leave the heat in your car on, and set to front windshield defrost. As the car warms up, that heat will melt the side and back windows as well.

BestBuy, a reasonable source for mainstream electronics offers Remote Starters from $249.99 and up. Recognized names are Compustar, Viper, and iDataStart.
The four offered on BestBuy all will unlock your car and start the engine, but each has its advantages.

The $500 Compustar 4905S kit offers a two-way remote, which lets the car communicate its status back to the remote. It has a 3000 foot range, and includes timed start, hot or cold start, valet mode, and stop-and-go mode. It also has near 1,500 five-star reviews. The very first review says “…wait for a sale, the model I bought was $250 with installation, and that’s a solid deal.”

The $300 Viper has all of the above features, but also offers smart phone control. You can start your car from up to 150 feet away (bluetooth range) or from all over the world with a Service Plan, (monthly fees vary).
So the message here is be patient, because BestBuy and other retailers put these items on sale regularly. Amazon really doesn’t.

We really thought manufactures remote start would cost more right off the bat, But as we researched we found that you’re not going to pay more for OEM (Original Equipment Manufacture) items than the ones you get from after-market providers, in general. And there is peace of mind knowing you got your remote starter for your vehicle, right from maker.

There are many vehicles and options. GM has a Remote Start page where you can look up your car or truck. From initial searches the kits start around $250, without installation.
Ford’s Remote Start page was quite weak, only offering replacement fobs and some parts.

The takeaway here is to probably consider the after-market kits first. They’re designed as a better alternative to the OEM remote start options for car owners who wish to add that feature to a vehicle without it.

Our recommendation is to seek out a auto shop that does these kinds of installations regularly. If you’re a research-person, find the one you want, and ask the shop if they’re familiar with installing that brand, and how much would it be if you bring your own unit. Understand that some of the profit they make is in selling you the unit themselves, so that’s a consideration in this Buy Small economy, but be sure to negotiate. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.


Fraser Engine Rebuilders specializes in remanufactured engines. Any diagnostic computers in your car will operate exactly the same with our products. Visit our home page to find the right engine, if yours is ready to retire. They’re less expensive than you might think and come in different options and warranties!

Thinking about building a replica with an american-made engine? Fraser has the right engine ready for you!