Adding Remote Start To Your Car: Can A Dealership Help?

Are you tired of stepping into a hot vehicle and burning your hands on the steering wheel? If so, it’s time to consider remote start systems. Remote start is a very convenient feature that helps you avoid uncomfortable climates, whether they’re hot or cold. But can your dealership install remote start?

Dealerships can add remote start to compatible cars or coordinate the installation. Check the owner’s manual, call your dealer, or search online to see if your vehicle is compatible. The add-on typically costs $200 to $500 with parts and labor. Advanced features and select car models cost more.

So, if you’re tired of getting into your car on scolding hot days or bitter cold mornings, don’t worry. Installing remote start can ease your pain at an affordable price. But there’s a lot to consider before you purchase a remote and call your dealership. Let’s look at everything you need to know to get started.

Can a Dealership Add Remote Start to Your Car?

Hand presses on the remote control car systems with sunlight along site road

Yes, it’s possible for a dealership to add a remote engine start (RES) system to a compatible vehicle.

The dealership will typically perform or coordinate the installation process if you ask about remote start during the purchasing process. This is perfectly normal, as countless vehicle enhancement shops provide upgrades for local dealerships.

If you don’t go through the dealership, you can hire local services from an independent shop. Installing remote start by hand isn’t recommended unless you have the proper equipment and experience.

Note: Always ask the dealer or shop who’s installing the remote start system. Remote start systems are complex and faulty work can cause issues. Opt for trusted services for the best results.

Can You Install Remote Start By Yourself?

Yes, installing RES by hand is possible — but it’s not recommended. If you search for remote start systems online, you’ll notice prices as low as $50 to over $200. Although tempting, there are a few risks with installing remote start by hand, including the following:

  • Online remote start system prices don’t include installation fees.
  • Remote starters sold online aren’t typically covered under warranty.

Besides the risks above, you shouldn’t install a remote start system unless you’re a certified automotive electrician. You have a higher chance of damaging yourself and your vehicle without the necessary experience.

In other cases, you have to pay expensive repair fees if things don’t turn out well. Instead, hire trusted professionals to install your remote start system.

Why Would You Need to Remote Start Your Car?

Have you ever run to your car in the freezing winter? Have you entered your vehicle on a hot day and felt like the hot seats were going to burn you? If you answered yes, you might want to consider RES.

The main advantage of remote start is it allows you to start your engine as long as you’re within the range of the key fob. It comes in handy when you need to warm up in the winter or cool down in the summer.

Cold Weather

Remote start systems might be a high priority if you’re tired of waiting for your car’s heater to turn on in the winter. With enough time, remote start gives the heater a head start and ensures your car is nice and warm when you enter it. Some other benefits include the following:

  • You don’t have to leave your vehicle running with the key inside, which reduces the chance of theft or vandalism.
  • The heater can warm the windshields and windows, making snow and ice removal much faster.

Hot Weather

On the opposite end, remote start can benefit you during extra hot days in the summer. The air inside your car can easily end up being 20-40 degrees higher than the ambient temperature. That means if it’s already sweltering outside, your car could reach truly unbearable temperatures.

With remote start, however:

  • You don’t have to roll down the windows to allow your car to “air out” before commuting.
  • The steering wheel, upholstery, dashboard, and seatbelt won’t burn you.

How Much Does a Remote Start System Cost?

The price of remote start systems varies but typically falls between $200 and $500, including parts and labor. The estimated price depends on the shop, remote, and the vehicle’s year, make, and model.

Advanced features, like two-way remotes that notify you when the car has been started, will cost more. Longer-range remotes, the ability to remotely lower the windows, and smartphone compatibility will also impact the price.

All that being said, RES in European and luxury vehicles with transponder keys can cost upwards of $800, as they have more complicated systems.  

How to Tell if Your Vehicle Is Compatible With Remote Start

So, you’ve finally had enough — you’re tired of waiting for your car to heat up in the winter mornings and want a remote start installation. But how can you tell if your vehicle is compatible? Here are some options:

Check the Owner’s Manual

Portrait of stressed woman standing at broken car and reading ow

Many vehicles have built-in remote start systems. In fact, many models after 2016 come equipped with a remote start, but it may need to be activated via telematics services like Volvo On Call or Lexus Enform.  

If your car has a remote start, you can find more information about your specific model and how it works in the owner’s manual.

Ask Your Dealership

Cars made after the mid-2000s are typically compatible with RES from the manufacturer. These remote start systems are usually dealer-installed and can be added after purchase. Contact your local dealership to determine if your car is compatible with remote start.

Cars Before 2005 Might Need Aftermarket Options

You’ll typically need an aftermarket solution if your car was made before 2005. It’s best to have the system professionally installed at a trusted shop or a national chain like Best Buy. Trusted shops and large chains ensure the job is done correctly.

Independent shops and national chains may offer warranties in the case of failure. That said, call for multiple estimates to find the best prices and services.

Check Your Key Fob

Your car might have remote start, and you don’t even know it! Inspect your key fob to see if it has an extra button for remote start.

You can also test the switches to see if they’re working correctly. You can sometimes have a remote start button on your key fob, but you need to activate the feature through your dealership.

Check Online

Lastly, you can check online to see if your vehicle is compatible with remote start technology. You can search online for forums and other owners who have experience.

Alternatively, you can use compatibility tools to search your make, model, and year. These tools might not always be accurate, but they can give you a better idea of what’s available.

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