Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Remote Car Starter Problems

I had a remote starter installed in my 2003 Toyota Highlander in January 2008. Within a few weeks, at random times, I could not start my car with the key, but could using the remote. I had it checked out and the installer couldn’t find anything wrong. The dealer thought it wasn’t installed correctly - the installer is certain it’s a bad spot in the starter coil. It is still happening - and I’m afraid that at some point I’ll be stranded because neither way will start my car. I bought the car used, in April 2006 - and have a platinum warranty coverage. Where do I go now??? I can get a refund on the remote - but could it be the starter coil?

Thanks for any advice!!!

The correct term is starter winding. Yes, that is a possibility. It could also be intermittant contacts in the solenoid assembly, which is actually not that uncommon. It happens because the contacts open and close as the solenoid is activated and deactivated to start the car. The solenoid pushes the starter motor gear into mesh with the flywheel ring gear and also connects (through these contacts) the starter motor circuit. Since the contacts open and close in their “hot” state (with voltage applied) they can burn up.

It’s also possible that the remote starter system is messing with the car’s security system.

A bad starter winding can operate intermittantly. Diagnosing it can be really tough. Diagnosing a bad solenoid contact is easier but requires removal and disassembly of the starter assembly. Most folks just put a new starter assembly in because if you’re paying for the labor a replacement rebuilt starter can be cheaper than repairing the old one.

I’d be inclined to suspect the starter assembly solenoid contacts first.