Remote starters

I drive a 2003 automatic Honda Civic. I work as a bartender and am considering getting a remote starter so that when I leave at early times in the morning my car is ready to go. I wanted to know your opinion on how they work and what make and models are the best


The one’s I have are Power Code Systems made for Ford to sell at dealers but I don’t know if that company makes for other brands.
They’re highly secure with alarms, engine kill circuits, and good range.

When you push the start button it locks all the doors. If someone were to enter the car with out a key, as soon as the push the brake pedal it kills the engine.
one time I used my key in the door cylinder to get in and the alarm went off until I pushed the disarm button on the remote.

As with all remote starts, advance planning is key to having the interior warm or glass defrosted when you get in. Set the heater or defrost in the settings you’ll need ahead of time. Out here in the four corners at 6500 feet altitude it’s hard to remember when I park it at 70 degrees that it will be 30 or less in the morning.

As you aware that it is OK to start your car and drive off even if it is cold. The trick is not to hit the freeway 30 seconds after starting it. The car will warm up best if it is being driven at reasonable speeds.

It is better for the car if you drive off as opposed to letting it idle in place.

Of course if YOU want to be warm and don’t mine a little (it is really little) extra wear on your car, a good remote should work fine. Sorry I don’t know the best make or model, but I would look for the best install.

Remote starters are much more complicated than you might think. To do a simple job the starter interacts with multiple circuts in the car. For that reason when they work, great. When they don’t work, or go bad, all kinds of wierd symptoms can occur. I’ve had one and enjoyed the convienience but when it went bad after about 3 years I didn’t bother to replace it.

Before you buy it ask the sales person to show you one out of the box. Take a look at all the wires and imagine each wire gets spliced into a wire currently on the car. That is a lot of opportunity for problems in the future. Make sure you get it installed properly by someone with either a good amount of experience with these devices or a good reputation.

Turbo makes an excellent point. They are difficult to install properly and if they fail, you will be lucky to EVER get your car started again…

If your car came from the factory with a remote starter, great! Otherwise, I don’t recommend having one installed. The problem is the installation, which, if done incorrectly (which it often is), can lead to a never-ending series of headaches.

The cutting and splicing of wires in the car’s electrical system is where the trouble comes in. Your car is controlled by several computers, and if just ONE wire is not securely connected, or if a splice is botched during the remote starter installation, the computers won’t get the correct signals they need and havoc may ensue.

You have no idea how many problems can be caused by the poor installation of a remote starter, and once the damage is done it’s VERY difficult to repair.

Your car doesn’t care what time it is. You don’t need to warm it up before you drive it. Start the car and drive it gently for the first 10 minutes or so. That’s the quickest way to warm up an engine.

Letting an engine idle to warm up just wastes fuel.

Please allow me to echo the comments about the potential problems from remote starters and their installation.

A friend of mine is enamored of them (well, I guess that it is more accurate to say that he USED to like them–until they became problematic on two different cars). He had an aftermarket unit (Cobra brand) installed on his Accord, and it worked very nicely for about 1.5 years. After that, it became very flukey and–of course–the warranty on the remote starter had expired by that time.

When he bought a new RAV-4 a couple of years ago, he wanted another remote starter. I talked him into having the Toyota dealer install a genuine Toyota remote starter, simply because of warranty issues with the car if an aftermarket unit was installed by someone other than the dealership. Well, you guessed it–they screwed up the installation in such a way that an incredible variety of weird random electrical problems began to show up.

Luckily, I was able to harness the “power” of the NJ Lemon Law to force the issue for repair after the dealership was unable to find their mistake after two repair attempts. Meanwhile, the vehicle had increased its repertoire of weird electrical glitches to include an inability to start the engine with the ignition key.

Finally, the Toyota Regional Service Rep and a Japanese Engineer came to the dealership to troubleshoot the problem. After a few hours, they were able to repair the screwed-up installation problem, but this resource would not have been available if I had not been able to utilize the NJ Lemon Law. With a 2003 Civic, you will not have this resource. I would advise that you NOT install a remote starter.

I just spent last Friday removing a remote starter/alarm from a Dodge truck. What a mess! It’s only a matter of time until many of these remote toys fail. The less you hack into the factory wiring, the less problems you’ll have.

I’ve had my 99 Civic since 01. I had a local installation place(Zeibart) put one in around 02 or 03 and it’s been reliable for me. I got the lowest end one that just locks/unlocks the doors and starts the cars. they had one that could open the trunk as well, but that was $50 more. It has an auto kill function which I’ve “tested” a few times, much to my embarrassment.
It’s also easy to over crank your starter too. You could have your mind elsewhere when you put the key in the ignition, not realizing it’s already running, and try to start the car while it’s running. I’ve done this a couple times as well.

All in all, I love mine and swear by them.

Getting into your warmed up car after your job is a good idea.There are a few good companies that make them. Audiovox, Directed Electronics,and Compustar are good names. Google “remote car starter” in your area and call for some estimates.
Maybe ask around and find a reputable business.You should expect to spend in the $300 range. Make sure you get these features with your new remote starter. Keyless entry, horn honk/panic, and domelight supervision. Ask the installing dealer how they make their connections into the car. They should be soldered connections. i got one at Boomer car stereo in boston. good luck