A remote starter is a radio-controlled device that lets users start their vehicles from a distance of up to 40ft by pushing a button. This gives the engine extra time to reach operating temperature. It can also be used to preheat the cabin for the driver during winter.
Many modern vehicles come with remote starters, but these devices can also be an aftermarket addition. Most come with keyless entry and can be fitted to almost any make or model.
But how much does a remote starter installation cost?
The cost of adding a remote starter to your vehicle will depend on a number of factors. So, I decided to take a closer look at what they are to calculate the average cost of a remote starter installation.
Types of Remote Starters and Their Cost
Entry-level remote starters range in price from around $50 up to $75; they can lock, unlock, and start the car. However, the cost does not include installation by a professional.
Mid-level remote starters range from $70 to $120, excluding the installation. They usually provide a vehicle alarm on top of the standard remote start and keyless entry features.
More advanced remote starters range from $130 to $180 and are often paired with a pager. The system has remote start, keyless entry, and alarm capabilities. In addition, the pager can notify the user about unlocked doors, open windows, alarm activations, etc.
And the cream of the crop?
Top-tier remote starters can retail for $200 to $400. These systems can be used to control the lights, air conditioning, windows, and entertainment system. Users can set custom timetables detailing when certain tasks (like turning on the heater) should be performed. Some models even offer short-range vehicle tracking.
What Does The Purchase Include?
I’ll get to installation costs soon, but first, let’s look at what is usually included with the purchase of a remote starter kit. Generally, the starter kit will consist of two components:
Firstly, the control module or receiver, which will need to be installed in the vehicle and wired to the starter, locks, lights, etc. Secondly, the transmitter/ remote/ key fob, which the user will use to control the system. Most kits come with two remotes.
All decent remote starter systems will also come with a limited-time warranty.
There are some manufacturers who will include installation with the purchase, but this is not common.
The cost of having a remote starter installed will depend on the type of starter you purchase, as well as the make and model of your vehicle.
Basic remote starters will cost less to install since they only have to be connected to the car’s starter. More advanced systems will need to be wired to the starter, alarm system, windows, etc. This requires more time and specialized tools, which will result in higher installation costs.
This also applies to different vehicles. Some older models require special “retro-fitting” in order to work with a remote starter, while more modern cars will require less work.
Ok, but on average?
On average, the cost of having a remote starter fitted to your vehicle will range from $120 to $500, depending on the starter and the vehicle in question.
Aside from the starter kit and the installation, there are a few extra costs you need to be aware of when considering a remote starter for your vehicle.
If you lose the key fob and you don’t have a backup, getting it replaced will cost extra. However, some high-end models might include a free remote replacement. Then, should you choose to have the remote starter removed, it will cost about as much as the initial installation. This may be necessary when selling a car or turning in a lease.
Finally, repair costs should be factored into your budget. Unless the damage occurs within the warranty period, this can come at a substantial fee, depending on the damage.
Things To Keep In Mind
Before you purchase a remote starter, it is a good idea to make sure that the device you have in mind is compatible with your vehicle. Most manufacturers will have a list of make and models that will work with their starters.
What else should you know upfront?
If you have a manual transmission vehicle, it is likely that it will be incompatible with most remote starters. This is because the vehicle’s clutch needs to be pressed down in order to start the car.
Moreover, if you plan on having the starter fitted by a third party, make sure that they are an authorized dealer. This will ensure the integrity of the installation and save you time and money in the long run.
How Can You Save Money?
If your car doesn’t have an alarm system, consider buying a remote starter that comes with an alarm. This will not only make the vehicle safer but will most likely cost less than having an alarm installed separately.
If you have any kind of experience working with cars, consider installing the remote starter yourself. Most of the basic kits come with instructions, and there are plenty of resources online that can help.
However, if you’ve purchased a very advanced system, and or have a modern high-end vehicle (luxury SUV or SEDAN, for example), it is best to get a professional to do the installation. A DIY job gone wrong could cause damage and result in much more than you bargained on.
Finally, keep an eye out for promotions and sales. Manufacturers will often have remote starters on sale at a lower price. In some cases, the promotion may not affect the price of the starter itself but will include a free installation.
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Ok, back to…
How Much Does a Remote Starter Installation Cost?
Between $120 and $500, depending on the type of remote starter you choose, and the make and model of your vehicle. The starter itself can range in price from $50 for a basic model to over $400 for one with more advanced features.
Remote starters are a nice feature to have on your vehicle, and these days there are plenty of aftermarket options available. But before you go and buy the first one you find, make sure that it’s compatible with your vehicle and that you can afford not only the starter but the installation as well.
Happy and safe motoring.