Toyota charges monthly fee to use their remote start feature?

Certainly seems a bizarre way for a car company to do business. You can read the Car Talk article by clicking the link below. Does anybody understand what the following sentence from the article is referring to? It seems to contradict the main point of the article.

“But here’s what owners figured out: You don’t need the car’s modem to use remote start. You can use your key fob.”

probably instead of using your phone to start your vehicle and the subscription, you can just use the key fob.

Subscriptions are supposed to be the wave of the future for cars. Expect more of them.

I thought they decided against doing that.

But “phones” aren’t mentioned in the article. Is the use of a phone to start the car implied somehow?

Yes. The word “modem” implies the use of a phone, probably a proprietary app. Toyota figured out owners could use the fob instead of the phone app and put a stop to it.

Sorry, I was guessing about the phone based upon my daughter’s vehicle being able to use her phone.

So when the trial period ended Toyota owners who didn’t pay the monthly fee had their cell-phone start privileges revoked, but learned they could regain the remote start feature simply by pressing the key fob? Is there some disadvantage to the key fob method? Otherwise why would the phone be needed at all?

The advantage of using your phone is you can start and stop the car from anywhere in the world as long as there is internet service. You can lock your doors if you forget. Or unlock them. There’s probably more small features but not one or all features put together makes it worth any money. It’s more of a technology toy than having any valuable use. You probably guessed I let my first free month expire. I think it was $5 a month to keep.

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Because people are “app happy.” Besides, most folks have their phones out constantly, whereas if you have keyless ignition you can leave the fob in your pocket or purse.

I can see why there would be a fee for the cell-phone method then, b/c you bypass the distance limit imposed by the direct rf used by the fob. It seems sort of spiteful to turn off the fob method too though. I guess that’s the point of the article. Owning 2 vehicles the “newest” at 30 years vintage, it’s clear I’m pretty clue-less about these modern gadgets used in cars these days.


GM is going after this:

Maybe California forcing my Corolla off the road won’t be that big of a deal then, it’ll be forced off the road anyway b/c its not compatible with digital services … lol …

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I believe Toyota wants to monitor the used of the remote start and the ability to stop the engine upon request for safety reasons. Fault detected by any of the vehicle’s systems are reported to Toyota via telematics communication but only with a service connect or remote connect subscription.

As shown below, vehicle built before November 12, 2018 no longer require a subscription due to “enhanced logic”. The only 2018 vehicle Toyota offers remote connect for is the Camry. I suspect all other vehicles lost service options when the 3G network began to shut down.


Got a new LG fridge, can get a free app to control the thing. Passed on WIFI smart washer and dryer. I am not a millenial for sure, why do I need that?


Then there is garage doors, front door, furnace, water, etc. I’ve been looking at the security camera deal so you can monitor your house, but then the one sponsored by Amazon seemed to have a problem with the 3rd parties that could hack the wireless system. Once into the wireless wifi, they can monitor anything on the network. So while there would be a time or two that would be nice, I’m a little reluctant to open myself up to unknown 3rd party hackers. So I still have my new garage door opener on the shelf, in no hurry.

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It is considered an advantage, if your wireless goes down, it will hop on to your neighbors, and yes hacking risk.

On my car I opt out of all the internet options. But OnStar is still active in the background. It monitors my cars activity. Once a month I get an email reporting how many fast accelerations I do, how many sudden stops, MPG, when my next service is due, top speed, how much I’ve driven each day, etc, etc. And this is before OBDlll. I would assume that I could somehow get OnStar totally disconnected, but I’ve surrendered to the times we have created.

The younger generations are going to have to accept these intrusions (and on a much higher level) because we are all hijacked into it. Because when we find stuff we really need or want, we are told “hey, here’s a really cool phone, look at what it can do. But if you want to use it you have to agree to our ten page agreement and give up your privacy. Then if you want to use apps or other features on the phone here’s more terms to surrender to.” Privacy is hijacked and will only get worse until this practice stops. I don’t see that happening in the near future.


Blame Tesla. They made “over the air” “upgrades” “cool”.

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I’ve said it before…but I sure miss plain ol’ metal keys.

No subscription plans, no fob batteries to replace, no fob…