It seems too good to be true--waking up on a cold, snowy morning and hopping into a warmed-up, defrosted car.
Six months later, leaving work on a steamy August day and climbing into your car without burning your legs on a hot leather seat or singeing your hands on a blazing hot steering wheel.
Most remote starters can start your car from 500 feet away, and if you've set your climate controls before you left it, your car will be just right when you're ready to drive away.
While comfort is one advantage, this is also a way to preserve other components--people with a short commute know that mufflers need a certain about of drive time to blow out accumulated moisture. The extra warm-up time might cut down on the frequency of muffler replacements.
Remote starters are operated from a small controller that is designed to fit on a key chain--most systems come with two remotes to accommodate two drivers of the same vehicle.
They can work on their own, but remote starters work more securely and efficiently when used in conjunction with a car alarm system.
Not only can they be programmed to start the engine, but also they'll perform basic functions like unlocking a door or opening the trunk with the touch of a button.
Check to see that the package you're looking at will work on the type of car you have--automatic transmissions, keyless entry doors, and fuel injected systems are sometimes required. Also, some systems will not work with diesel engines.
As a safety precaution, most systems are disabled when the hood of the car is open, to prevent the engine from being started accidentally while someone might be working on it. They contain other precautionary features as well, such as deactivating once the brake is depressed or locking out the steering column to prevent theft. These systems wait for you to enter the key before the steering unlocks.
The starters can be programmed in a variety of ways. Some can be set to start the engine when the ambient temperature rises or drops out of a range. You could set one to start every few hours, or even set it to detect when the battery level drops below a certain voltage, so you won't be faced with a dead battery ever again.
To protect your battery, the starter won't keep trying to start an engine that is reluctant to turn over--usually it will give it three attempts before deactivating. Don't worry about running out of gas--typically, they'll shut off after 10 minutes.