It seems too good to be true--waking up on a cold, snowy morning and hopping into a warmed-up, defrosted car. Or how about leaving work on a steamy August day and climbing into the car without burning your legs on a hot leather seat or frying your hands on a blazing steering wheel. For a relatively low price, remote car starters can make this a reality.
Most remote starters can start a car from 500 feet or more away, and if you've set your climate controls before you got out the last time, your car will be just right when you're ready to go. While comfort is one advantage, this is also a way to preserve other components--people with a short commute know that mufflers need a certain about of drive time to blow out accumulated moisture. The extra warm-up time might cut down on the frequency of muffler replacements. Of course you need to figure how much gas is used for this warm up period. Some larger vehicles can use as much as 1 gallon every 15 minutes idling.
Remote starters are operated from a small controller that is designed to fit on a key chain--most systems come with two remotes to accommodate two drivers of the same vehicle. They can work on their own, but remote starters work more securely and efficiently when used in conjunction with a car alarm system. Not only can these combo systems be programmed to start the engine, but also they'll perform basic functions like unlocking a door or opening the trunk with the touch of a button. Check to see that the package you're looking at will work on the type of car you have--automatic transmissions, keyless entry doors, and fuel injected systems are sometimes required. Also, some systems will not work with diesel engines. Most of the ones Black Ridge Custom Car sells will work with diesels. Most high quality ones will work with diesels AND with standard transmissions.
As a safety precaution, most systems are disabled when the hood of the car is open, to prevent the engine from being started accidentally while someone might be working on it. They contain other precautionary features as well, such as deactivating once the brake is depressed or locking out the steering column to prevent theft. These systems wait for you to enter the key before the steering unlocks.
The starters can be programmed in a variety of ways. Some can be set to start the engine when the ambient temperature rises or drops out of a range. You could set one to start every few hours, or even set it to detect when the battery level drops below a certain voltage, so you won't be faced with a dead battery ever again. To protect your battery, the starter won't keep trying to start an engine that is reluctant to turn over--usually it will give it three attempts before deactivating. Don't worry about running out of gas--typically, they'll shut off after 10 minutes.
Remote car starters are sold at most car detail shops, car audio retailers, and even car dealerships. They are also readily available online like from Black Ridge Custom Cars. You can certainly select a system over the Internet, even purchase it online, but you might want to leave the installation to the professionals. This is more in the realm of automotive mechanics than audio installers, as remote starters could be dangerous if installed or operated incorrectly.
Trust us you want to check for the BBB rating of both the company that makes the unit and the installer. We have done business with the makers of the EZ-2500. You can find their BBB info at the eastern Florida BBB office under GNU Industries. Or you can find more info here