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Busting Myths About Remote Starters

A set of car keys paired with basic auto starters.

We Break Down the Facts About Automatic Car Starters

Remote auto starters are a convenient feature to add to your vehicle. You can start your car from the comfort of your home, warming things up on cold winter mornings and cooling things off on hot summer days.

Auto starters are incredibly helpful and help ease stress on the morning commute… so why aren’t more people using them?

The most likely reason is that people simply don’t understand how these products work. Whether through misinformation online or through word of mouth, there are a few common misconceptions and myths about auto starters.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths out there and the real story that you need to know before you buy:

Common Myths About Auto Remote Starters

MYTH: Remote Starters Damage Car Engines and Void Warranties

This is probably the single most common myth about remote starters out there. Car and truck owners have been led to believe that a remote starter will damage to their vehicle’s engine. We’re not sure where this one came from, but it’s probably the result of a serious misunderstanding of how remote starters work and the fact that they engage the vehicle’s engine.

Let’s clear this up once and for all: as far as your engine is concerned, a remote starter’s key fob is no different from a key in the ignition!

In fact, a remote starter’s key fob might be a better way to start your car. For one, you won’t overdo it when you turn the key in the ignition. Another benefit is that you get to drive with a warm engine, which means lubricants and fluids have a chance to “wake up,” so to speak. This is arguably better for your engine, as you can get in and drive with an engine that’s already warmed up and ready to go.

As for your warranty, there’s no way a professional installation will void your car’s warranty. If a dealership insists that your warranty is void if you get an aftermarket installation, they may be in violation of the Competition Act or Canada’s consumer protection laws.

That said, there are some circumstances where work on your vehicle could void a warranty, such as a low-quality installation or product actually damaging your vehicle. Of course, at AudioMotive, you don’t need to worry about that.

MYTH: Remote Starters Waste Fuel

Second only to the belief that car starters hurt engines and void warranties is the notion that a remote starter is going to guzzle twice as much gas as usual or cause your fuel consumption to increase massively.


A remote starter’s key fob isn’t going to change the fact that you are the person starting your car. If, like most people in winter, you start your car and let it warm up, yes, you’re probably using more gas than you would if you got in and started driving in summer. But idling your vehicle to warm it up uses a fraction of the fuel you’d use to drive normally—a drop in the bucket, really.

In fact, because remote starters often have automatic shutoffs, you’ll probably wind up saving a bit on fuel costs. There’s no need to worry about forgetting about an idling car, as the remote system will switch the engine off after a set amount of time if the key isn’t placed in the ignition.

MYTH: Remote Starters Won’t Work on My Vehicle, or on Standard Transmissions

This one’s confusing, too. After all, a remote starter just means you’re firing up your ignition from a distance.

While it’s true you will need to rely on professional assistance when it comes to choosing and installing a starter, that’s no reason to avoid starters entirely! If you’re worried about having to expend a ton of time and energy in the installation process, don’t be. It’s actually much simpler than you might think, and that’s true of all vehicles.

Barring some very specific exceptions, such as very old vehicles or cars in need of extensive repair, there’s no real barrier to getting a remote starter for your vehicle. If you’re worried about a manual transmission getting in the way, then you’ll probably be relieved to hear that that’s not an issue either! Stick shifts take a bit more consideration and forethought, but it’s nowhere near as big a barrier as you might think.

When the car starter is installed by the best, you get access to some of the most sophisticated electronics on the market.

MYTH: Remote Starter-Equipped Cars Are More Prone to Theft

There’s another common myth that a remote starter-equipped car is more prone to theft. This stems from the belief that the car’s running while you’re not in it, and therefore, someone can just hop in and drive off.

But wait… there’s no key in the ignition!

Without a key in the ignition, you won’t be able to move the shifter out of park. In fact, you won’t be able to do much at all, as most car starters are set up to shut the engine off when the brake is depressed. Modern vehicles are equipped with technology that prevents them from operating without a key. A starter bypasses this, but will shut down the minute someone tries to drive off without a key.

Also, remember the timer feature we discussed earlier? The vehicle will run for a set amount of time before shutting down.

And, of course, we can’t stress enough that a remote start is vastly different than leaving the engine running with the keys in while you pop into the grocery store. Simply put, your car is safe!

MYTH: But I’m Leasing My Vehicle!

Professionally installed auto starters don’t wildly alter your vehicle’s wiring. They’re an addition, an extra, the cherry on top. All this is to say that a remote starter can be installed on a leased vehicle.

Leased vehicles must be returned to the dealer in the condition you got them. A remote starter can be installed, no problem, but you’ll also have to bring it back in to get it uninstalled before you return the vehicle.

MYTH: Remote Starters Are Too Expensive!

By now, you probably know what we’re going to say.

This simply isn’t the case! A remote starter is an investment, to be sure, but it’s not even close to a monthly car payment or rent for a month. Plus, there are remote starters available at a wide range of price points to cater to customers. You’ll have to pay more for additional features, but if you’re simply looking for a basic, dependable starter, then you’ll be able to find that too.

Plus, our professional installation team minimize the amount of work needed to get this done. We’ve got tons of experience providing our clients with reliable remote starters, and we’ve got it down to an art form by this point. We offer fair prices that won’t break the bank.

Common Mistakes People Make When Purchasing Auto Starters

Everyone makes mistakes; it’s a fact of life, and part of the learning process.

Of course, that’s all well and good until you’ve spent your hard-earned money on a product that’s not compatible with your car, or on an auto starter that doesn’t meet your needs.

Doing a bit of research (or simply taking a trip to chat with the experts here at AudioMotive) can help save you time, money, and get you the information you need to find the perfect remote starter for your vehicle.

Let’s look at some of the most common mistakes people make when buying a starter—and what you can do to avoid them.

Avoid Auto Starters With Low Transmitter Ranges

Auto remote starters use radio frequency signals to reach vehicles at various distances. The radio frequency transmittance distance is determined by its power.

This is what an auto starter’s range refers to, typically between 500 feet and 5,000 feet.

Drivers often buy short-range auto starters, since their cars are parked within a short distance from their homes.

But say your car is parked in a garage, or you’re parked in a lot with a few buildings between you and your vehicle. These structures interfere with radio frequencies, and the more interference, the harder it is for a shorter-range starter to get your engine moving.

This is where transmittance power comes in. Generally speaking, the greater the transmitter range, the more transmittance power an auto starter has.

For example, 1,500-foot models have three times the power of a 500-foot model, and 5,000-foot models have 10 times the power of a 500-foot model.

As a result, if you want your remote starter to work anywhere, consider remote starters with higher transmitter range.

Skip Low-Quality Auto Starters

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Sure, you can find a cheap auto remote starter online or from any auto parts store. But you are taking a chance with its level of quality.

To find a high-quality product you can rely on, you’re better off shopping at retailers who specialize in remote car starters and installations. They will have plenty of quality products to choose from, from basic starters to starters with advanced features. And they will offer professional installation.

Specialty shops sell top-quality products they trust. They won’t sell faulty products that will cause them plenty of headaches and a loss of customers.

Not Choosing the Right Features

Remote car starters come with plenty of convenient features these days. Some basic models lack the “creature comfort” features that you might have on your wishlist, so shop around to find one that does everything you need.

To avoid disappointment, be clear about the features you want when shopping for remote starters.

Aside from basic starters that will start and stop a vehicle from a distance, some additional features to look for include:

  • Keyless entry
  • Trunk release
  • Heat/AC
  • Heated seats
  • Window defrost
  • Security monitoring

Why Professional Installation is Worth It

Having a friend install your remote starter may save you in upfront costs. But it may not work, and it could cause costly damage to your vehicle that isn’t covered in your vehicle’s warranty.

Do yourself and your car a favour and opt for professional installation by a remote starter specialist. Their training and experience mean they won’t void your warranty. 

Install at the Seller’s Shop

If you buy a cheap starter from one place and go to a specialty shop for installation, there’s a good chance the pros won’t install it, leaving you stuck with a low-quality starter and installation.

Only buy remotes from places that offer installation and make use of their service. It is worth it to ensure you have a quality product and installation since the shop is accountable for the function of your starter.

Added Remote Starter Advantages

With today’s technology, auto remote starters have many convenient features to make your life easier:

  • Lock and unlock car doors (especially from further distances than your car’s factory remote). This helps when you can’t remember if you locked the doors and you don’t want to go back to your car.
  • Open your trunk effortlessly. This is ideal when your hands are full of shopping bags and you only have one finger free to press the trunk button. 
  • Start your vehicle without having to step outside. This is ideal in winter when you need to let your engine warm up before driving. 
  • Heat your vehicle ahead of time on cold days so your car is warm and toasty when you get in. 
  • Defrost windows so you don’t have to spend a lot of time removing ice and snow from your car. 
  • Turn on the air conditioning to cool down your car on hot summer days so you can avoid discomfort and burning yourself on the seats and seat belts. 
  • Monitor your car with security features an be notified if someone is trying to break into your car. 

Keep this information in mind when shopping for a remote starter. 

Look for a high-quality starter that is reliable and suits your needs, and opt for professional installation so you can avoid costs and headaches in the future.

About AudioMotive

For over 10 years, AudioMotive has and continues to be, Ottawa’s premier vehicle upgrade experts. With more than 25 years of combined industry experience, we proudly specialize in all things related to HID lighting and mobile electronics sales and installation.