It’s definitely the time of year when Calgarians with remote car starters are happy to have them.
It is a nice feeling to look out your window at the cold, frosty weather and start your car from the warmth of inside your home.
Not to mention, tis the season for gift giving. I’ve known a few scenarios where relatives have given or received a remote car starter for Christmas.
How They Work
Remote car starters allow a vehicle to start without the driver or key needing to be at the vehicle. Vehicles can be started at a distance.
The technology includes a component connected to the ignition system, fitted by a radio receiver. When the radio receiver gets a signal from its paired transmitter, the key fob on the vehicle owner’s person, the signal activates the starter on the motor. This process takes place with just a press of a button.
Today, with a mobile friendly remote starter you can communicate with your vehicle via smartphone technology. Start, control or locate your car from anywhere.
This is great for people who travel frequently. If your car is parked at the airport lot, start it when you land so it’s warm when you get to it. While you are traveling check up on your car to see if your battery is low, if your car has been sitting for a long time, start it from your phone to give the battery the boost it needs.
Today many other features exist that can be added to your remote starter. Discuss options with a sales associate. Higher quality remote starters will allow for more features to be added or controlled by the remote.
For example heated seats, rear defrost, keyless entry. It is less expensive to have these features added in at the beginning than after the remote car starter has already been installed.
Reliable Brands of Car Starters
Compustar and Viper are reputed to be the two most popular and reliable brands.
According to a visions employee Vipers are the best available followed by Compustart.
Future Shop, Visions and Best Buy all carry Viper products, and they average about a 4 star rating.
Other brands include AutoStart, ProStart and ConnectPro.
Canadian Tire carries both the brand ProStart and AutoSmart. ProStart products average 4 ½ star reviews, and AutoStart reviews average 3 stars, while Future Shop carries ConnectPro, which customer rating are skewed from 1 start to five stars for.
All in all there are a few important factors to consider when purchasing a remote car starter. They are listed below:
Read up on the warranty offered by the company you are considering. The warranty on the remote car starter ignition component should be for the life of the installation. Quality companies will offer a lifelong guarantee. The remote control portion is often warrantied for a year.
Engine Speed Sensor
A quality remote car starter will have the ability to monitor the engine RPM’s. This is important because it will be able to sense if it has worked or not on a very cold day. Similar to manually starting your car on a cold day, it may take more than one try. This is also the case with the remote starter, however the starter wouldn’t know if it failed to start the car if there is no RPM sensor. Conversely, if the engine speed is too high the starter will shut it off as well.
Range of Transmission
Check the distance the remote car starter functions at. You want to make sure that the remote starter that you are buying will allow you start, stop, lock and unlock the vehicle from a lengthy distance, say 1000 feet. This range of distance will allow you to start your car in public areas like the movie theatre or mall, rather than just from outside your home. Some technology today works from your mobile phone from even longer distances.
Prices on remote car starters vary from between $130-$400. This doesn’t include installation. Installation varies from $100 and up depending on the complexity of the install.
What to look for in an Installation
It isn’t always necessary to pay for a professional installation however installing a remote car starter can be tricky, especially in newer vehicles with anti-theft systems in place, for example.
Vehicles can require bypassing anti-theft systems, or for carbureted vehicles, additional hardware may be required for an installation.
If you are considering a DIY installation it is important you are familiar with your vehicle’s wiring and that you are installing using the proper vehicle wiring. If you have any uncertainty a screw-up can leave you with a pricey repair situation.
Additionally, if you are installing yourself read the warranties on the product and installation. Do some research into the warranties so you know if something goes awry you can get it covered by warranty; or alternatively, perhaps a DIY install isn’t covered by warranty, only a factory install. It’s best to do your warranty research before deciding whether or not to install a remote car starter on your own.
If you want a professional installation check out the Better Business Bureau (BBB) remote car starters Calgary section (please hyperlink to http://www.bbb.org/calgary/accredited-business-directory/remote-car-starters/calgary-ab ). They list companies that install remote car starters and are BBB certified, which indicates a certain standard level of service and professionalism.
The main reason to consider a professional installation is assurance it will be done properly.
Where to go in Calgary to get your car starter Installed
You can go to a dealership, or a specialty shop to have your remote car starter installed. Most shops will advise against having the big-box retailers install your product. This is because the retail locations you purchase your products from likely have higher turn-over rates of employees than specialty shops and dealerships.
The big box store employees likely have less experience and overall know-how when it comes to vehicles than a shop or dealership.
The up-front cost may be a little higher to have a professional installation, but at least you will be able to rest at ease knowing it was done correctly, and if any unforeseen circumstances arise your vehicle is in good hands.
When selecting a shop to do the installation ask a lot of questions; how long have they been in business? How much experience do their technicians have? How is their installation done? How do they handle warranties?
After making a few calls you will get a sense of where to go to have it installed for the price and service level you are comfortable with.
Again, check the BBB for a list of service providers.