How to Use a Remote Car Starter

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A remote starter allows you to start your car using a remote control. It can also trigger keyless entry, unlock your doors, open sunroofs or any other function you have it programmed for. Following the manufacturer's manual, you must program the remote to do your bidding.

Things You'll Need

  • Operating manual
  • Use the remote switch within the range allowed by your part's manufacturer. The industry standard is a thousand feet, which means that you can usually start the car from within most homes. Simply push the correct button when you want to start the car.

  • Avoid using a remote starter on vehicles that are parked in enclosed areas, including a garage. Since you are actually starting the car, there should be proper ventilation to avoid deadly carbon monoxide fumes from building.

  • Insert the key into the ignition and start the car without triggering any of your system's "shut offs." Usually, hitting the brake or opening the trunk will turn the car off if you haven't inserted the key into the ignition first.

  • Locate your valet button. Most remote starters have a button inside the vehicle that can be triggered when the car is being valet parked or in case you lose the remote. In valet mode, the theft options (like kill switches) are turned off, but door locks, remote start and other features still work.

  • Make sure you take your keys if you have passive locking turned on. With passive locking, your car will lock automatically after a certain period, when the alarm is activated or when the engine is turned off. The actual trigger may differ, but the fact that you can easily lock your keys in the car remains the same. If you are forgetful, you may want to use active locking mode.

  • Turn the ignition on or press the break to enter into many programming modes. With other systems, you can simply use the remote without being in the car. Depending on the manufacturer of the system you have, you may need to hold down a button on the remote to enter into the correct mode, or you can simply press the right combination of buttons to perform a certain task. It is important that you keep the operating manual handy for programming, as each system is different!

  • Program the car to start when it reaches a certain temperature. If you live in an extremely cold climate, you may want to start your car every 2 to 3 hours, so it turns over smoothly when you are ready to drive it. You may also wish to use the timer for the automatic starter in the morning, so your car is ready for your work commute.

  • Select the vehicle run time. After you remote start your vehicle, the car will run for a set length of time unless it is being driven. The standard lengths of time are 12, 24 or 60 minutes, but you must manually program the desired time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Install a carbon monoxide tester in any semi-enclosed areas where you regularly park cars. You should also have one in your home near the door used to access your cars.
  • Most remote car starters only work with automatic, fuel-injection vehicles.
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