Car Troubleshooting

How To Tell If Your Car Has Remote Start [Detailed Guide]

Few things feel as luxurious as hopping in the driver’s seat and simply pressing a button to start your engine. Remote start is a simple pleasure in life that everyone should get to experience, at least once.

So, how can you tell if your car has a remote start? Keep reading to find out if your car has a remote start and how to tell if it can be added on or not. You may be unsure about whether or not your new can has a remote start, or you may be shopping around for a new vehicle and wanting to seek out this feature when shopping. 

Ultimately, to tell if a car offers a remote start feature, you’ll want to look at two main things: the key fob and the owner’s manual. If your vehicle offers remote start then there will be a special button on the key fob.

Often the remote start button on a key fob is an arrow pointing in a circle. If you’re still unsure about whether your car has a remote start feature, then checking the owner’s manual is the next best way to figure it out. 

Where is My Remote start located

The remote start button will be located on your key fob. Although, many remote start vehicles also offer a smartphone app that allows you to utilize this feature from your phone. In order to use remote start, you may have to activate this feature. 

How Do I activate Remote Start? 

In order to activate or reset your car’s remote start feature, you’re going to want to start with checking the owner’s manual.

One way to do this is to reset your remote start by taking the battery out of the remote, then replacing it. You can also try replacing the battery with a new one to see if that will help. The owner’s manual of your vehicle should offer unique instructions for resetting and activating the remote start feature. 


What Cars Have Remote Start? 

Not ever car comes equipped with remote start, but many cars made after 2016 offer this feature. Familiarizing yourself with the features that your vehicle has to offer is the best way to get the most out of it.

Take some time to sift through the owner’s manual of your vehicle (especially if you’ve just recently purchased it!) Below we’ve broken down a few of the remote start features available by dealership. Obviously, features will vary by the model of the car as well. 

Mercedes

For 2016 – 2018 Mercedes vehicles, a convenient smartphone app is available that allows you to control many of your car’s features with the palm of your hand. Start your engine, lock your doors, or track the location of your vehicle all from your phone. 

Toyota

Toyota vehicles that you might find with remote start include the Camry, Corolla, RAV4, Tacoma, 4Runner, and Highlander. With some Toyota models you can also connect your vehicle to a smartphone app similar to the one discussed above. 

Ford

Many of the newer Ford vehicles come with a remote start feature that can easily be used. The Ford remote start feature includes an LED light system that changes color and blinks to relay certain messages. For example, blinking green means “waiting for a status update” while blinking red means “remote start failed”.

Audi

Some Audi vehicles come with a remote start but it is possible that this may be a feature that will have to be added after-market. Be sure to hire a trained professional to install this feature properly. 

Kia

Remote start is an available option for many new Kia models, including the Kia Telluride, Kia Surento, and Kia K900. There is a smartphone app available for Kia models that allows you to control the engine, locate your vehicle, lock your doors, and much more; all from your phone. 

How do remote start apps work?

I guess they weren’t kidding when they said there’s an app for everything these days. That’s right, you can control many of your vehicle’s features from your phone if you drive one that offers remote start and a corresponding app.

Most vehicles that come equipped with remote start will have some type of app that you can connect it to, allowing you to control your engine, locks, and more all from your phone. 

Remote start apps connect your phone and vehicle using the power of Bluetooth. Check your vehicle’s user manual or ask your local dealer if your vehicle offers a remote start app. 

What is remote or auto start?

When a vehicle is said to have a remote start or auto-start feature, this basically just means that you can start the vehicle’s engine by simply pressing a button — rather than having to stick the keys in the ignition and turn them.

On a more mechanical level, remote start is a radio-controlled feature that is installed by your vehicle’s manufacturer or an after-market installer. 

Pros and cons of Remote Start

There’s no denying that remote start costs extra money, whether you’re buying a new car or adding it to your older vehicle. The process of adding remote start will require you to pay for parts and labor.

Newer cars with push-to-start features are likely to cost more than those without. So you may be asking yourself: Is it worth it?

Remote start is a convenient feature that presents some benefits and drawbacks. Here is a list of pros and cons regarding this handy feature. 

Pros

Convenience 

The ability to start your car before getting in is undeniably convenient, and this one of the main benefits of remote start. It will be hard to go back to the old way of doing things after you’ve experienced the luxury of fully heating or cooling your car before getting in. 

Safety

Remote start allows you to run your engine with the doors locked which gives you the freedom to cool or heat your vehicle from a distance, without the fear of a burglar hopping in and driving away.

This allows you more convenience with doing things like running into the store and leaving your dog to wait in the car. Note: never leave a dog or child unattended in your vehicle for long stretches of time or without the air running.

A feature like remote start can make your life easier, especially if you’ve got kids. Being able to unlock your vehicle and start the AC without fumbling around with keys can make getting out of the house with hands full and kids in tow just a little bit easier. 

Added Feature When Selling 

If you’re thinking about possibly selling your vehicle down the line, adding remote start may be a wise idea, as this will increase the value of your vehicle. Remote start will allow you to resell your vehicle at a higher price and might help retain it’s value for longer. 

Cons Of Remote Start 

It is Costly 

The main drawback of remote start is that it costs money. Whether you’re buying a new vehicle or adding remote start as an after-market feature, it’s going to cost you something. A new car will cost more if it features remote start and adding this feature to your older car is a costly process. 

More Maintenance 

Another downside of having a vehicle with remote start, is that constantly heating and cooling your car prior to getting in is going to use more fuel, ultimately costing you even more. It’s hard to not want to fully benefit from this feature so you’ll likely be tempted to start your vehicle well before getting in, on a regular basis. 

Wasted Fuel  & Environmental Impact 

As well as costing you fuel money, running your engine more often will also cause some negative impacts on the environment, as it will release more fossil fuels. Although convenience is great, we can’t put a price on our planet. Try to always be conscious of your environmental impact. 

If you drive a manual vehicle, it will be a costly and complicated process to add a remote start and may not even be worth it. 

Can you add remote start to a car?

Remote start can be added to a vehicle in an after-market setting but it is incredibly important that you hire a licensed professional to complete the job. Ideally, this system should be installed by your local dealership or your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Depending on the year of your vehicle, it may be a fairly simple process to install the remote start feature on your vehicle. Newer models often come equipped with this feature or can be easily fitted with a dealer-installed remote start kit. 

For older vehicles or those with a manual engine, installing a remote start feature will be a more complicated process. In these instances, it is extremely important to make sure your mechanic knows what they’re doing. If you can’t find someone confident in doing this job, it may not be worth it to invest the money. Installing remote start can be a costly process. 

Final thoughts

If you need to quickly figure out if a vehicle has a remote start, it can be as simple as glancing down at the keys in your hand. Opening up your user manual is a great way to get an in-depth idea of the features your vehicle has to offer. If you’re shopping for a new vehicle, choosing something with a remote start will cost you a bit more but might be worth the convenience. 

Different vehicle models and companies offer newer vehicles with remote start as an included feature, but it is possible to add this feature later. If you’re adding remote start to an older vehicle, it is absolutely vital to go to a trained professional and be sure that the job is done properly. 

Although undeniably convenient, the push-to-start feature can have its drawbacks as well. It is super important to consider your environmental impact all the time, especially if you leave your engine running frequently when not driving.

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren