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How/if to buy an after-market remote starter for my 2009 Hyundai Elantra

I’m thinking about buying a remote starter given the forecast of heavy snows and freezing cold weather. I asked my repair guy about recommendations and he told me that he can’t recommend them because at times they actually interfere with starting the car. That’s the last thing I want, but I can’t help believing that I need more information before blindly taking his advice. I know there are a wide variety of starters out there, and that some are better than others.

Does anyone have any recommendations or thoughts about this issue? Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.


I’m a mechanic, and granted, I see the cars that have problems with remote starters, not the ones that work flawlessly, but I too would advise against one. I have just seen too many sloppy installations and system conflicts that cause trouble. Poor connections or cheap parts causing a no-start, or trouble with the security system. When one comes to me with a problem I offer the customer 2 choices–have me remove the system entirely or find a shop that installs these systems and have them replace it.

Unless you car came with a factory option remote start system I wouldn’t do it.

I also strongly advise against any aftermarket remote starter. I gave this same advice to my cousin who is the proud owner of a 2012 Camaro SS. She went ahead and had her boyfriend install one anyway. Short story…3 days later she had to replace the starter and battery in her car. It now looks like she will have to eventually replace a computer in her vehicle as well. Don’t install a remote starter…it’s simply not worth it.

If there was a factory starter for your car, then have the dealer install one for you.
My last 3 cars have had remote starters put on them, and the only problems I had was remembering to turn the key to start before I put the car in gear(it shuts off when you do that) or I tried starting the car while it was already running.

My Contour and Civic had remote starters put on by a local company that sells them. My CX-7 had one as a factory option and I ordered it when I ordered my car. Not once have I ever had any problems starting my car(s) after the system was installed.

And if you’re worried about running the car for too long, most will shut off after 10~15 minutes if you haven’t done anything

Adding an aftermarket system means adding something that may or may not be compatable with your car’s built in security features, and having it installed by someone who may or may not know what they’re doing. And if you do have problems, other shops may not want to touch the car.

Do you feel lucky?

These are all really helpful. I don’t know if there was a factor option remote start system available. If I still want to pursue this, does it make sense to go back to the dealer and ask if there was one, and if so, have the dealer install the system? Or would that still be ill-advised?

When I added remote start to my 08 Expedition I got the Ford kit.
Although not actually MADE by Ford ( manufactured by Code Systems ) it guaranteed its compatability. I’ve had no issues in four years.

But here’s one thing about those and cold weather.
You have to plan ahead.
The lack of advanced planning ( heat, fan, and defrost settings when you park the night before ) completely negates the benefit .

If you have to walk out to the car to place the temp and defrost in the needed modes, you may as well just start it then.

My truck has remote start , my wife’s does not.
I have to walk out to start hers…
She will often boast that she, too, has a remote starter…as she points to ME :wink:

An expensive toy.
How bad do you want it ?

“If there was a factory starter for your car, then have the dealer install one for you.”

That is definitely a better choice than one of the aftermarket brands, but the installation can still be…a major problem. When my friend wanted one of these things installed on his brand- new '08 Rav-4, I made sure that he got the genuine Toyota unit, installed at the dealership.

However, the dealership brought in a local “expert” to do the installation, and immediately after the installation, this new (less than 1k miles) car suddenly began to have truly bizarre electrical problems–in addition to the occasional no-start situation. After 2 repair attempts at the dealership, the problems continued. Because it was a factory unit, and because the installation was done at the dealership on a new car, this came under the aegis of NJ’s Lemon Law–luckily.

My strongly worded Demand Letter to Toyota Corporate resulted in them sending both the regional service supervisor and a Japanese engineer to the dealership to try to sort-out the problems. After about 3 hours, they did resolve the problem and the regional service supervisor very candidly stated that there was incompetence on the part of both the installer (who screwed-up the installation) and the dealership’s mechanics (who couldn’t figure out how to fix it).

If they hadn’t been able to resolve the problem on that 3rd attempt, my friend would have been eligible for his choice of a full refund or a replacement vehicle, and I had already provided information in my demand letter stating that he desired a full refund. They really didn’t want to do that, so they brought in the big guns to fix the problem.

Bottom line: Unless the remote starter is actually installed at the factory, at the time of the vehicle’s manufacture, there is still a chance of having problems!

@pmmille…I never advise anyone to install an aftermarket remote start to their vehicles. If there is a factory version that can be installed by the dealer…then go for it. It won’t be 100% problem free but it’s a world away from an aftermarket remote starter.

I guess the bottom line is that I’ll schlep out in the cold and start the car myself, and then do the scraping and shoveling like I always do. :slight_smile: I’m just not that much of a risk taker. Thanks for all your help. Maybe I’ll take it as an option, installed at the factory, next car around. Thanks so much for all your advice and sharing of experience.