How Much Does It Cost to Install Remote Start for Your Car?

Updated: Apr. 22, 2024

Remote starters provide a convenient way to warm up your car in cold weather. Learn about remote start installation here.

The worst thing about living in a colder climate is getting into a freezing cold car and waiting for it to warm up as you drive to work. On the flip side, living in a hot environment presents its own set of challenges. Installing a remote start system on your vehicle provides a convenient way to warm up the engine while adjusting the air conditioning inside the vehicle.

Some remote start systems are downright cheap these days — you can get a system on Amazon for about $40. However, it’s important to understand that some inexpensive systems often require additional (and costly) anti-theft bypass modules. Then there’s the matter of splicing the correct wires together and troubleshooting when things don’t work as expected. If the thought of that doesn’t bother you, and you’ve found a system that works with your specific vehicle, this is absolutely something you can DIY.

Ahead, learn all there is to know about remote start systems and their cost.

What Does Remote Start Do?

Remote start allows the driver to start their vehicle wirelessly with a key faub. They also keep the doors locked, and some systems have a secondary safety feature that will shut the engine off if the brake pedal is pushed without the key in the ignition, preventing car theft.

How Does Remote Start Work?

A remote start system emulates the ignition sequence of your vehicle without needing a key in the ignition. A signal is sent from a key faub which tells the starter module installed in the vehicle to engage, starting the engine.

Remote Start System Types

Analog vs. Digital

Remote start systems are categorized as analog or digital (think of those as older and newer, respectively). Older cars (pre-mid 2000s) will likely need an analog system. But, if that car has an anti-theft system installed, you’ll need a digital bypass module that works with the particular alarm system. Often, this requires splicing wires and some technical knowledge.

Newer cars will all have digital systems that are designed to integrate with modern vehicle electronics and specific anti-theft systems already installed.

One-Way vs. Two-way

You’ll also hear the terms “one-way” and “two-way.” This refers to the way the remote communicates with the vehicle. A one-way system is the simplest and can often use the key faub that you already have for your vehicle. Range with a one-way system will be limited.

A two-way system provides more options and lets the vehicle’s computer send information such as engine and interior temperature back to your faub or smart device. The operational range for two-way systems is greater and, in some cases, can be used regardless of your proximity to your vehicle.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Remote Start?

Most shops will charge at least a few hundred dollars to install a basic remote start system. More complicated systems will take longer and cost more. Cost will vary greatly due to make, model, and complexity of the system being installed and is always above and beyond the price of the system itself.

Where to Get Remote Start Installed?

Find a shop dedicated to installing car alarms and remote start systems rather than your general mechanic. Wiring, module programming and troubleshooting these systems are all specialized skills that most auto shop mechanics don’t have.

Can You Install Remote Start Yourself?

Yes, if you can read a wiring diagram and make good electrical splices, you can install a remote starter yourself and save some money. There are also systems being made today that don’t require any wiring, splicing or other intimidating electronic surgery. They simply plug and play with your vehicle’s existing wiring harnesses and connections.

Do your research on the make, model, and trim package of your own vehicle to determine whether this is a project you can handle or if it’s best left to the professionals.

Can You Add Remote Start to Any Car?

You can install an analog remote start system on most late-model vehicles with automatic transmissions. For newer vehicles (mid-2000s and up), do an internet search or ask the service department at your dealership to confirm which system works on your specific vehicle.

How to Use Remote Start for Your Car

Most remote start systems utilize a key faub. Some two-way systems can be used through an app on your smart device. As long as you’re in range, all it takes is a push of a button.

Remote Start Safety Precautions

Don’t start your vehicle if it’s parked in an enclosed garage space! The build-up of CO2 can present a real danger.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a remote start system make my car easier to steal?

No. Most remote start systems make it even harder to steal your car.

How much range do I need?

Range isn’t going to be a factor when you park in your driveway, but you may find yourself much further away from your vehicle in the parking lot at work or the mall. Choose a system that will give you adequate range for your most common situations.

What is the difference between a one-way and two-way system?

A one-way system allows a signal to be sent to the vehicle only. A two-way system allows the vehicle module to communicate information back to the user, such as confirmation of engine start. More advanced systems will also send engine and cabin temperature.

Can I install a remote start system on a car with a manual transmission?

Yes, but it’s not recommended for older vehicles. There are now systems being sold for newer vehicles that include a failsafe preventing the engine from starting if the transmission is not in neutral or the parking brake is not engaged.