If your vehicle didn’t come with a remote starter from the factory, you might think you’re out of luck, but the good news is most vehicles since 2010 can have after market remote starter systems installed. So, depending on the features you want, and your budget, you should be able to get a good remote starter system for your vehicle at a decent price.
If you do a quick search online or head over to your local auto parts store, you’ll find a variety of remote starter systems that range in price from as little as $50 all the way up to $400 or more, but these prices only paint half the picture, because unless you’re an expert at automotive wiring, you’re going to have to pay for installation too, which drives up the cost considerably.
So, before you make a purchase, let’s take a look at what features available that affect the price so you can decide what you need and what you can live without.
Many cheaper remote starter systems have a short transmission range of well under 1,000 feet, which you should avoid. Getting a system that has a long range gives you more flexibility if you’re at the mall or the store and you want to start your vehicle from inside and have it ready when you arrive. Also, consider the safety aspect as well. Being able to start your car from a longer distance away enables you to make sure there’s no one around, and that you can get in and drive off quickly if you had to.
If your vehicle already has an anti-theft system built in, you want to be sure the remote starter you purchase is compatible with it.
Another feature to look for is how many remote fobs you get. Cheaper systems come with one, which might be sufficient for now, but let’s say you decide to add a driver to your vehicle such as your teenager and you want them to have their own remote on their keyring. Look for a remote starter system that comes with at least two remotes or make sure it’s easily expandable if it only comes with one.
Do you want to be able to use your smartphone with your remote starter system? The more expensive ones allow you to do just that, and while it might seem like a gimmick at first, ask yourself how much more convenient it would be to start and unlock your car with the phone that’s probably already in your hand instead of having to fumble to find the remote.
While the above are what some people consider to be essentials when looking for a remote starter system, there are plenty of other luxury features to consider, such as the ability to unlock your trunk, the ability to turn on your heated seat accessory and defroster, a keyless entry, and an anti-grinding function that protects your starter from excess wear and tear.
Now that you’ve decided on what features you want, the big question becomes, “How much will I have to pay?”
As mentioned, it depends on the unit you choose, but we’ll go with one of the higher-rated systems, the Viper 5706V 2-Way Car Security with Remote Start. You can find this unit for about $200 and comes with an LCD transmitter and it features a range of up to 1-mile. Now, that’s just the cost for the system, the cost of installation depends on your mechanic. In general, you should be able to get this remote installed for about $200-$300 with the labor costs, if you were to take it to your local hometown mechanic. If you take it to a chain retailer, you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of about $500-$600.
What’s important to keep in mind is don’t go for cheap when it comes to installation. Integrating a new device into your vehicle’s electrical system is a complicated job with plenty of things that can go wrong. The last thing you need is to hire someone who’s not qualified to install your remote starter only to have it damage your vehicle’s electrical system. You’re always better off paying the extra money and having a certified professional install a remote starter.
If your vehicle didn’t come with a remote starter system, you can still enjoy all the benefits of getting an aftermarket one installed. Make a list of the features you want, do your research, and get it professionally installed. If you do that, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits a remote start system affords.