Installing Remote Start In Your Car: Costs Factors Explained

You just purchased a used car, but the one thing it doesn’t have that you want is a remote start. How much does it cost for remote start installation?

How much is remote start installation 1 Installing Remote Start In Your Car: Costs Factors Explained

How much is remote start installation?

There are several factors that can affect the price of remote start installation, including the repair shop labor rates, the starting mechanism, fobs, or even a bypass module to ensure its compatibility.  Depending on where you have the remote start installed, you can plan on spending $150 – $500. 

More Americans are enjoying the benefits of driving a vehicle equipped with remote start. Nothing is better than sitting in a pre-cooled car when every other driver is sweating their bottoms off. 

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of remote starters, explore how it works and hopefully help you decide whether to add remote start to your car. 

What is Remote Start?

Remote start is an RKE (Remote Keyless Entry) transmitter that sends a signal to your vehicle telling the ignition to engage to start the motor.

The receiving vehicle takes that signal, flashes its parking lights to help you know it received the message and turns the car on. 

The heater or air conditioner begins, and the car’s interior becomes much more comfortable for the driver, who will sit behind the wheel a short time later. 

A button triggers most remote starts on a key fob (it looks like a circular arrow. 

The sequence of buttons that need to be pushed to engage the remote start varies with different manufacturers (Some program the fob button to be pushed once or twice, while others insist on having you hold it for a few seconds). 

Many modern manufacturers also offer remote start convenience through a mobile phone application. 

The app works on either Apple, Google, or Android Phones, can be downloaded for free, and allows users to set service appointments, call roadside assistance, check on maintenance issues like oil levels, or even pin where they parked their car. (For example, myGMC charges $14.99 monthly and requires an active subscription to ONSTAR).

How much is remote start installation 1 1 Installing Remote Start In Your Car: Costs Factors Explained

What Does Remote Start Cost?

Depending on the service center and the mechanism’s cost, you should spend $150 – $500 for the complete installation. 

There are parts costs (the starter, modules, key fobs, and the like), labor costs (paying a technician to install it), taxes, fees, and shop supplies. You should always get a repair estimate in writing before agreeing to have the center perform any work. 

What Factors Influence the Cost?

There are some things to consider when installing remote start into a vehicle. 

The Price of the Unit

Many kinds of remotes can be installed on your car. They all perform the same functions, but some are more sophisticated than others.

Dealerships can recommend a remote start unit that is compatible with your car. (If your vehicle was made after the mid-2000s, they likely have one).

The Bypass Module

Vehicles made since 2000 are equipped with immobilizers that prevent the car from being started without the key or keyfob being detected. 

The bypass module allows vehicles with this technology to receive the signal from the key fob without disabling the other anti-security functions. The bypass module mimics the key so a remote start unit can function correctly as if the key fob were present.

The Labor Rate of the Shop

How much is remote start installation 2 Installing Remote Start In Your Car: Costs Factors Explained

To do any work on your car, the service center needs to charge a price for the labor it takes to do the job. At most shops, the average rate is $125 – $135 per hour. 

A remote start installation takes about 3 hours, so that the labor costs will run $375 – $400.

Be sure to get a repair estimate from the dealership or repair center before agreeing to any installation. 

New Starter

Most cars built before 2005 will need an aftermarket starter to be compatible with remote start. 

If your car is from the post-2005 era, and the remote start was available for your car, then the manufacturer probably has a remote start system that can be added. If not, then expect to pay more for the convenience.

Can I Install the Remote Start Myself?

We wouldn’t advise it unless you are a certified automotive technician. You could end up shorting out your car’s electrical system, hurting yourself, and costing yourself some money to fix the problems you create. 

If you don’t know how to do this job, stay away from it, and save yourself some aggravation by taking it to a certified repair shop. 

How Long Does a Remote Start Run Once Activated?

Most manufacturers will allow the vehicle to run for 10 – 15 minutes before shutting down. This gives the owner time to walk out to the car, have the vehicle acknowledge the fob, and allow the car to be driven away. 

The reason for a timed kill switch is in case the owner forgets that they started the car so that the car doesn’t keep running until it is out of gas. 

Can Someone Steal My Car if It is Remote Started?

First, your car must be locked for the remote start to be activated, meaning no one can break into your car and steal it because it is running.

Even if a would-be thief stumbles across your running car, and breaks the window, the moment the brake pedal is depressed, the engine kills. The thief will not have your fob or key, so they cannot start the car. 

(This safety feature is why the car dies when you get into your car after using remote start, and you have to start it again).

What Can Interfere with a Remote Start Signal?

There are many things that can interfere with the clear communication between your keyfob and the vehicle. 

Concrete structures, buildings, and other obstructions will weaken signals and could cause the remote start to not work properly. 

Key Takeaways

  • Remote start will cost between $150 – $500, depending on the work involved
  • Most remote start installations take about 3-4 hours to complete.
  • Unless you are a certified technician, do not attempt to install the remote start yourself.
  • No one can steal your car when using the remote start.
  • Most remote starts will run for about 10 – 15 minutes before shutting off, if no driver is present.

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