When it comes to searching the best remote start kit, there is no universal solution. You should consider several different factors before purchasing, including:
- What features are included out of the box?
- What additional options are available from the kit?
- Is it compatible with OEM anti-theft systems?
- Is there fuel control?
Anti-theft compatibility affects performance remote starter kit with an anti-theft module in your vehicle. If you do not have an anti-theft module, you can ignore this option. Similarly, additional fuel controls are vital if your engine is carbureted rather than injected.
Remote Start Kit Features and Options: Field Narrowing
Before getting started with remote start kits, it is important to be aware of the various features and options. Some of the more important ones include:
- Working range: match the starter’s operating range to the distance between your vehicle and where you expect it to start from. The advertised range assumes absolutely no obstruction between the remote starter and the vehicle. If you don’t have a clear line of sight, any walls or other obstacles will drastically reduce your range.
- Number of Remote Keyfobs: Some remote start kits only come with one remote, which is good for some people. If you need two remotes, either make sure the kit is expandable and buy another key fob, or choose a kit that comes with at least two remotes.
- Engine speed-sensing: Kits that include a speed-sensing feature monitor the engine RPMs and can determine if the engine fails to start or dies, in which case it can attempt to re-start the engine.
- Manual cut off switch: Kits that include a manual cutoff switch provide an additional layer of safety by allowing you to remotely shut off the engine.
- Mobile compatibility: If you want to use your smartphone to start your car, lock and unlock the doors, or control other systems, make sure you buy a kit that has this functionality, including the right OS compatibility.
In addition to these basic features, there are some other options to consider. Some remote start kits come with keyless entry functionality or built-in car alarms. Other remote start kits are modular in nature, which means you can add additional features whenever you’d like. These modular kits are also great if you’re working on a budget. Here are some more options:
- Keyless entry (including trunk control)
- car alarm systems
- Panic button and audio location features
- Defroster and heated seat activation
- Anti-grinding functionality to protect the starter
- Two way LCD key fobs
Some of these features, like heated seat activation, are purely for convenience. Others, like car alarms, provide an added level of security, and features like anti-grinding can protect your engine from cold damage.
One great convenience is a two-way LCD key fob. These fobs are often capable of displaying the interior temperature of your vehicle, so you can be absolutely certain that it’s the right temperature before venturing outside.
Most newer vehicles won’t work with a remote start kit unless it includes the correct antitheft pass-through module. If a kit doesn’t come with one, it may be possible to purchase a compatible pass-through at an additional cost, but it’s better to just buy the right kit, to begin with.
fuel injected vs. Carbureted Remote Start Kits
Most remote start kits are designed to work with fuel injected vehicles. This is due to the fact that the idle speed, air/fuel ratio, and other factors are all computer-controlled in fuel injected vehicles, which means that the car will essentially take care of itself after the remote starter turns the engine over. Some kits include an RPM-monitoring function that will shut the engine off if it starts racing or restarts it if it dies, but most kits rely on the ECU to keep things running smoothly.
If your vehicle is carbureted, then matters are more complicated. This is due to the fact that carbureted engines often require a great deal of attention until they are fully warmed up, and you typically have to manually kick them down off high idle at some point. That means that most remote start kits won’t work with carbureted vehicles. However, there are some kits with additional components that allow for carburetor control. If your vehicle has a carburetor, you will need one of these kits.