LAST UPDATED: February 10, 2020
Best Aftermarket Remote Starts: A More Convenient and Comfortable Commute
Enjoy the convenience and in-car comfort that only an aftermarket remote starter can provide
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON February 10, 2020
There’s nothing better than getting into a warm car on a cold morning and nothing worse than burning your hands on the steering wheel on a hot afternoon. You could ensure your in-car comfort by investing in a chauffeur but, if this is slightly out of your price range, an aftermarket remote start system will you get there for a fraction of the cost. There are a few things you need to consider beforehand, so read on for our tips and top picks.
An all-in-one system providing remote start and keyless entry at a range of 1000 feet. Includes two four-button fobs for easy and intuitive operation. Safe to use with diesel engines and covered by manufacturer’s one-year limited warranty.
Easy to install with only basic car wiring knowledge. Small and discrete control unit fits nicely under the dash.
Only offers one-way communication, so no confirmation of response. Not compatible with manual transmissions.
Basic aftermarket remote start kit allows you to start your vehicle from up to 1500 feet away. System is Bitwriter programmable and does not need a tachometer wire connection. Includes a pair of super-small four-button remote controls.
Possible to set how long vehicle stays running after remote start to prevent fuel inefficiency. D2D serial data port allows easy connection to other interface devices.
No way of checking actions completed due to one-way communication. Difficult to install without existing professional knowledge.
Comprehensive two-way remote starter system with four-channel security, a range of 1 mile, and heaps of functions. Includes two rechargeable key fobs with LCD screen and five buttons. Utilizes Virtual Tach, so no tachometer wiring is required. D2D serial data port allows easy compatibility with other interfaces.
Clean and simple LCD display on key fob for informative and easy operation. Possible to remotely control up to 24 different functions on two separate cars using same key fob.
Having so many features means professional installation is the only viable option, and this can be expensive. One-mile range is only possible if no obstacles lie between fob and vehicle.
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Benefits of an Aftermarket Remote Start
- Presetting the right internal temperature. The right car temperature gives you the confidence you need to hit the road. When you are relaxed, you can concentrate better.
- Quicker de-icing and pre-cooling. Because you can start your car before you get to it, you can preheat or pre-cool it. It becomes easier to clear fogged-up windows caused by cold weather or excess internal heat.
- Engine longevity. Your engine needs time to adjust to external conditions. Remote starting your car allows the engine to get to its optimal state so you can drive off as soon as you get in.
- It can increase car resale value. A remote start is beneficial to the engine. A well-maintained engine can attract good offers should you decide to sell your car. It also reduces your overall maintenance costs.
Types of Aftermarket Remote Starts
These are devices that allow you to start your car from a distance. With such a device, you can prepare your car for the road in advance. The key benefit of such a starter is that it makes the car’s systems operational before you get to your car. If you’re always on the move, this feature can help with time management and also improve your security.
Smartphone-Controlled Car Starts
App control gives you a whole new way to control your car. Your smartphone becomes a vital gadget for keeping your car safe. With the push of a button, you can remote start, lock, and unlock your car. If you find yourself in an emergency and your smartphone is the only thing you have, you can act fast.
Basic Aftermarket Remote Starts
These are remote starts that perform basic tasks such as locking and unlocking a car’s doors or trunk and starting the car from a distance. They are small, not too loaded with features, and work great. Their biggest advantage is that they are quite affordable. Even with a small budget, you can own a remote car starter.
Advanced Aftermarket Remote Starts
With these remote car starters, you don’t just get the basic features. You get features such as LCD screens, impact sensors, and security systems. And despite having additional features, they are quite easy to operate. Some of the remote starts operate from longer ranges and even have USB charging capability. Most advanced remote starts have a stronger transmission.
Viper is a world leader in vehicle security and remote start solutions. The company, which is situated in Vista, California, has created many innovations that make drivers’ lives more convenient. These innovations include smartphone-controlled remote starts and security systems. Some of its aftermarket remote starts, such as the Viper Remote Replacement 7752V 2 Way Remote, come with a rechargeable battery, audio and visual confirmation, and a one-mile range.
Crimestopper Safety & Security
Arizona’s Crimestopper Safety and Security is at the forefront of providing car owners with top-tier safety and security products for their vehicles. It has been doing this for over three decades, tweaking products to fit drivers’ needs every time. One of its products, the Crimestopper SP-402 Car Alarm with Remote Start, has engine-disabling capabilities and intrusion alert.
Compustar is a division of Firstech LLC which was established in 1998 in Alaska. It is a reputable provider of remote starts and security solutions for vehicles. The company gets its competitive edge from its technology, KLON, which replicates your vehicle’s key signal to rev your engine. Its product, the Compustar 2-Way Remote Start and Alarm Bundle, has a 3000-feet range and even includes a siren.
Directed Electronics was established in 1982 by Darell Issa and his wife. It's a division of DEI holdings which is owned by Charles Bank Capital Partners, a private equity firm. The company is based in Vista, California, and is renowned for its car security products which include Viper car alarms and accessories. We particularly like the Directed Electronics Python 2-Way Remote Start System.
Aftermarket Remote Start Pricing
- $20-$50: Convenience can cost you as little as $30. Here, you will find remote starts that perform the basic tasks. They start vehicles from close range and also lock them.
- $50-$100: In the lower end of this price range, you’ll find remote starts that operate one way with no feedback. As you go up, the range may increase and you may get features such as impact sensors and smartstart.
- $100-$200: With $150, you can get a remote engine starter with two-way communication, an LCD screen, and an alarm system. The screen may show statistics such as the state of the engine and the internal car temperature. The operating range could be up to one mile and the remotes have features like smartphone control, panic mode, valet mode, trunk release, and keyless entry.
- $200-$400: At the $250 mark, expect to find upgraded security features, a color screen, and smartphone compatibility. Some remote car starters can even be used for two cars. The remote controls usually come with rechargeable batteries.
When buying a remote engine starter, get one that allows you to start your car when you’re at least a mile away. Factors such as weather conditions may cause you to start the engine way before you get to your car. However, in normal circumstances, you should be a few feet from your car to start it. In an open space, most starters can be operated up to 80 feet. However, physical features like trees, hills, and buildings can affect a starter’s range.
Some remote engine starters offer one-way communication while others offer two-way communication. One-way communication means you don’t get feedback and might not know whether your command was carried out. Two-way communication is more preferable as you get feedback through the LCD screen or another cue.
Before settling on a remote engine starter, you have to make sure it is compatible with your car. Most aftermarket remote starts are designed to be compatible with a wide range of vehicles— with either manual transmission or automatic transmission—so this should not be a problem. If you have two cars, you can get a remote car starter that is compatible with both of them.
- Keyless Entry. This comes in handy during emergencies or during extreme weather conditions when you want as little interaction as possible with your car’s exterior. Most remote starts can start the car and unlock the doors before you hop in.
- Security System. This can be a dealmaker or a dealbreaker. Some of the more modern remote starts have security features and give drivers more control over their cars. These features include intrusion detectors, sirens, panic buttons, and internal car alarms. You can even view your car’s current status on your smartphone. If your car is stolen, you can lock it remotely, effectively grounding the perpetrators.
Best Aftermarket Remote Start Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Viper 5906V is one of the best remote car starters on the market. Most car owners love it because of its OLED color screen, its two-way security, and its one-mile range. The screen uses custom Viper animation to show each action taking place in the car. The remote engine starter is very responsive and quickly reacts when its buttons are pressed.
You can use this button remote start to control your car from one mile away. However, you must have a clear line of sight. It takes one hour to charge the non-removable battery and you need a USB charger for that purpose. The remote starter has plenty of security features such as an upgraded alarm system, six-tone siren, Stinger Doubleguard Shock sensor, and a failsafe starter kill. The car remote offers two-way communication, so you can check and see whether your commands have been implemented.
Yet, despite its many awesome features, it has some downsides. The screen’s brightness can’t be increased. The screen also tends to drain the battery fast.
If you’re in the market for a compact car remote, you may be pleased with this remote start system. It includes two remotes with four buttons and a range of up to 1 ½ miles. The transmission works even better in cold weather. The remote provides keyless entry and can start your car and open and close the trunk. And if your car gets hit, the system will either produce a loud siren or a subtle chirp to let you know you’ve been hit.
The coolest feature of this remote start system is you can choose how long the engine runs before going off. This helps minimize fuel consumption and saves you a couple of bucks. You don’t have to learn how to use a tachometer as the system is Bitwriter-programmable. It has a couple of cool anti-theft features. The fault-proof starter interrupt feature will stop a thief from stealing your car.
However, the remote’s one-way communication prevents you from knowing which actions it has carried out. And if you’ve never programmed a remote starter system before, you’re better off with professional installation.
If value for your money is what you’re after, this remote is worth checking out. It is devoid of bells and whistles and is stripped down to the basics. It has three buttons on its front and two on its side that start a car, lock and unlock it, and open and close the trunk. It also functions as a car alarm system and a key fob and can control car windows and lights.
This car remote comes with a long-lasting AAA battery that you can easily change by taking the lid off. It has a keyless entry system and allows you to preset a daily start time for your car. This is very helpful if you leave for work at the same time every day. The remote is not difficult to program and you’ll be done in five minutes. Its LCD display shows you the state of the battery.
However, the manufacturer does not provide a programming manual, so you’ll have to figure out how to operate the controls. In addition, the LCD screen doesn’t display a lot of vital information.
- To avoid headaches and invalidated warranties, we recommend getting your aftermarket remote starter professionally installed.
- Whichever model you end up choosing, double-check in advance that it’s compatible with your vehicle.
- When your car can be started remotely, security obviously becomes a concern. Consider investing in a steering lock to be on the safe side.
Q: How do remote starters work?
A: While you’ll probably only ever see the fob, it’s the box wired into your car that does all the hard work. Once connected to the power, ignition, and electrical systems, it communicates with the fob and allows remote control.
Q: Will fitting an aftermarket remote starter invalidate my warranty?
A: Absolutely not. The Magnuson-Moss Act made it illegal for any dealer to void a warranty due to the presence of aftermarket equipment.
Q: What are the important features to consider in a remote starter?
A: With kits ranging from the most basic to having all the bells and whistles, it’s important to know what you need. Range is a big factor, as is the associated warranty and installation cost. For newer cars, you’ll likely need keyless entry, too.
The easy-to-install, all-in-one Compustar 1-Way Remote Start and Keyless Entry is our best overall aftermarket remote start system.
Our best value pick is the basic but functional Avital Avistart Remote Start System.