Brr! Cold weather is on the way. A remote car starter is a convenient way to thaw out the exterior of your car and warm up the inside of your car. Some cars come already equipped with remote start from the factory, but after-market remote starters are inexpensive and easy to install.
The convenience of a remote starter outweighs the safety concerns, and with the following tips, you can ensure your remote car starter keeps you toasty and safe.
Hire a professional to install
One of the best things you can do to ensure the remote car starter functions correctly is to hire a professional to do the wiring. While you can get instructions online, there are special considerations for manual cars. The cost of the starter and installation averages about $400. You can order a starter for less online, but if you lack training in automotive electrical systems, you’re better off hiring a professional to do the work.
Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
It’s a busy morning. You’re rushing to pack the kids’ lunches for school, gather the visual aids for a report you’re presenting at work, and ushering everyone out the door. At least your car’s been running and will be warm and ready to go. The only problem? You forgot your car is parked in your closed garage, and now your garage is flooded with carbon monoxide.
Every year, 20,000 to 30,000 people suffer from carbon monoxide exposure. Any modified equipment is a risk in some way, so make sure everything functions properly. Be sure you only use your remote starter when you have your vehicle parked outside.
Protect your car from theft
Some remote car starter systems have additional features that can keep your car from getting hotwired or that disable the starter when the thief stops the car. The remote starter itself does not make your car any easier to steal. There are various levels of security with a remote starter. If the doors aren’t locked, and you engage the remote start, the doors will lock automatically. Another level of security is that many starters require you to place the key in the ignition before the car’s gears will move out of “Park.”
Keep your car and your life safe
You decided to go to a late movie, but the only parking spot was quite far back in the lot. You’re a bit nervous about walking out by yourself, and you can’t remember if you locked the doors of your car. With a remote starter, you hit a button on the key fob and your car will lock up tight. While it might still be a bit scary to walk out after the movie, you won’t have the concern of someone hiding in your backseat.
Keep dogs from overheating
Even though remote starters are a convenient tool, don’t rely on them to keep your pooch cool while you run into the shopping mall for an hour. Many remote starters shut off after a certain period if the key isn’t in the ignition. If you do plan to run into the store, make sure you check on your dog every 10 minutes or so to make sure the car hasn’t shut off. Better yet, just don’t use your car starter this way at all.
On a mild 85-degree day, the interior of the car heats up to around 102 degrees in a car with the windows left down. The temperature can spike dangerously in a matter of minutes. It’s truly best to leave your dog at home on a hot day or save the errands for another time.
The bottom line: Use remote starters responsibly
While there are a few minor concerns with using a remote car starter, the convenience far outweighs the worries. As long as you practice the tips above and use your starter responsibly, you most likely will not run into any issues.