Many car and truck owners are finding out first hand the many benefits of using a remote car starting device. Unfortunately, there are some tips and tricks to using these things correctly which are not included in the instruction manuals.
The first thing you need to do once you become the proud owner of this new toy is to learn exactly what the device is capable of, and figure out how you can best utilize all of the available features. For example, which buttons control what function? How far away from the car can you be and still have it work? Are there special key codes for working the lights and car alarm?
Next you need to teach everyone who may be using that device how to operate it properly. Be aware that some cars do idle so quietly that it is hard to tell they are running and you may forget it has already been started and this leads to that dreaded and embarrassing grinding noise you get when you try to start a running engine.
Now that you know how to use the remote control car starting device, you need to decide when you want to use it, and why. First thing is to understand that this remote control device is going to help you warm your car up so that it is ready to be driven right away when you get in, and the fact that it is warming or cooling the cabin is a great secondary benefit.
Some important considerations you need to really think about the night before you hit the start button on your remote car starting device. First it is important here in northeast Ohio to make sure that you turned off your windshield wipers the last time you drove the car. If you forget this and the blades are stuck to the windshield, you can ruin a good set of blades which will make it difficult to get to work if it is snowing that morning. New wiper blades are not getting any cheaper either.
Do not be tempted to set your heater on full defrost mode as this can lead to a cracked windshield quicker than almost any other mistake a driver can make. Only worse thing you can do would be my friends trick of pouring hot water onto a frozen windshield. Laugh all you want, but I have seen him do this. Needless to say every car he has ever owned has had a broken windshield.
Instead of ruining wiper blades and cracking windshields, get some of the best washer fluid you can buy, I prefer the ones which have water shedding properties so that the ice and snow comes off the windows more readily.
This next point seems almost too crazy to say, but it needs to be mentioned. If you store your car inside a garage, make sure you open the garage door before remote starting your car! Even if you think that there is no possible way for carbon monoxide to get into your house, there are amazing ways that this can happen. It only takes one mistake like this to end up in the hospital or worse.
Be mindful of how long it has been since you started your car since it can be quite wasteful to just leave it running. Every minute extra that it runs you are burning expensive gasoline, and meanwhile the car is probably ready to go in less than five minutes.
Depending on the level of complexity your starter device can handle there are a great many other things you can do with the remote device if it is capable of supporting the options. One of the better and more costly options is to get a remote started with two way communications.
This allows the actual starter device to feed information back to you via the remote. This can be useful if the car you are starting is not exactly within viewing distance. For example if it is inside a parking garage or parked around the corner from your apartment.
If you are starting the car to cool it off in summer, consider using the more expensive remote starter type that comes with extra functions so that you can open the sunroof or windows to let the hottest air out of the car before the air conditioner has a chance to get going.
Many people I know that are using remote starters are very happy with their systems, and I am sure that most would upgrade to the newer two way systems if they knew what the advantages were.
I also know from installing a few of the more basic systems that this is a fairly complicated “Do It Yourself” project even if the remote device is simple. There are important wires to cut and reconnect on certain cars, and other special things to do for interfacing with the alarms which are built into newer cars. I recommend using a professional installer on any remote car starting system that has more than one or two basic functions.
This can be especially true if you own a very new car or are leasing. It is also important to contact your leasing company to make sure it is okay to have a remote car starting device installed since technically it is still their car.
One of the hidden benefits might be how handy it is to know that you will not have to get dressed for work if your car will not start, and with this device you will know even before you head for the shower if you are going to make it to work that day or not.
This article is based on personal experience installing remote starting systems.
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