Which remote start is best?
It used to be that you would have to make your way through the cold and snow to turn on an even colder car, or in the summer, turn on a blisteringly hot car and wait a long time for the air conditioning to bring the temperature down. Or maybe you are one of those people who regularly forget where they parked. You can avoid all of these situations with the right remote car starter.
Remote car starters allow you to turn on or locate your car using your key fob or a smartphone app. Imagine getting into a warm and running car on a winter’s day or a cooled-down cabin on a scorching summer afternoon. The remote starter can help you find your car or even provide extra theft deterrents. For overall power and features, the Prestige Two-Way Remote Start & Alarm is the top choice.
What to know before you buy a remote start
A remote starter may need to be installed or activated
Many newer cars come with a remote starter already installed by the factory. Some manufacturers require you to activate this feature through their online service that monitors your car engine and safety. Older cars will require the remote starter to be installed.
If you are purchasing an aftermarket remote starter, be careful trying to install it yourself. Each car is different, and if the remote starter is not installed correctly, it may not work correctly and could even damage your car. While manufacturers cannot void your warranty due to installing a remote starter, you can void your warranty if the remote starter installation causes damage. Some mechanics will not install remote starters. Seek out an experienced and certified technician to help make sure your installation is done correctly.
The original technology for remote start involved pressing a button on your key fob from within a certain distance, where a radio signal is sent to the car to start the ignition. Newer car models now allow you to start your car and check other onboard statuses using a smartphone app. Keep in mind that cellular charges may apply.
What to look for in a quality remote start
Remote start running time
Most remote starters come with a limit on the amount of time the car will run without someone driving it. That time frame is usually five to 15 minutes, but some models allow you to program the limit. This saves gas and protects the environment from an engine idling longer than needed.
Most remote starters lock the doors while the car is starting up. Some models require you to lock the doors first before engaging the remote starter. This is an extra safety precaution so that no one can enter your running car.
An even stronger theft deterrent is the ability of the remote starter to lock a car’s transmission while the car is running. The car is undrivable until someone inserts a key or has a key fob inside the car, which signals that the appropriate driver has entered the vehicle. This feature makes it virtually impossible to steal the car unless the thief had access to the key itself.
How much you can expect to spend on a remote start
The price range for a remote start begins at $30 and can exceed $300. One-way starters cost less than two-way starters, and additional features like alarms and locking add to the overall price.
Remote start FAQ
Do remote starters work on all kinds of cars?
A. You can find a remote starter for just about any type of car, but keep in mind that diesel engines and manual transmissions are the most difficult to operate. Extra parts may be required for manual transmission cars. Make sure you have a certified technician who knows how to work on your type of car.
How far away will a remote starter work?
A. It varies by the remote starter model and environmental factors. Usually, the remote starter will work within several hundred feet. If you are in an office building or factory, there may be significant electrical interference. A smartphone app will bypass this by using the cellular network to reach your car no matter where you are.
What’s the best remote start to buy?
Top remote start
Prestige Two-Way Remote Start & Alarm
What you need to know: This redesigned two-way remote start is operational up to 1 mile and offers an impressive list of features.
What you’ll love: This stylish remote starter features automatic arming and automatic locking. It has an illuminated and remote keyless entry, along with a starter interrupt and flashing parking lights. The product also incorporates a multi-tone mini siren.
What you should consider: Installation can be challenging without an in-depth understanding of your car’s wiring.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top remote start for the money
Crimestopper Remote Start
What you need to know: This versatile one-way keyless remote start system is very affordable with multiple features.
What you’ll love: The operating range for this remote starter is 2,000 feet. It has 31 programmable options that you can use with automatic and manual transmissions. It also works with gas, diesel and hybrid engines. A five-button remote control transmitter is standard.
What you should consider: There have been some durability concerns with the remote control. Installation can be challenging.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Viper Two-Way Car Security with Remote Start System
What you need to know: This remote system is reliable and works from long range for added confidence.
What you’ll love: With a one-mile operating range, this four-channel security system is a long-distance favorite from a trusted manufacturer in the industry. It has an easy-to-read five-button LCD transmitter and comes with triggers for both the door and trunk.
What you should consider: The antenna is not reinforced and has been reported to break easier than expected.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.