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How Do Remote Starters Work?

Mary Kate McCray | 1 month ago | Featured|Newest|Remote Start

As the weather cools off each fall and winter, more and more people find themselves hunting for the best remote starter. These vehicle electronics have been providing comfort and convenience to users for many years, but how do remote starters work? 

What is a Remote Starter?

A remote starter consists of several pieces of hardware that make it possible for you to safely turn your engine off and on at the push of a button. Depending on the hardware and the remote you can start your vehicle from up to 3-miles away! Plus, you can add a Drone LTE vehicle telematics system to enable smartphone controls with unlimited range. 

To learn more about what remote starters are, check out this blog post: What is a Remote Starter for a Car?

What Hardware Does a Remote Starter Use?

To make a remote starter work, you need: a properly installed control module, a bypass module, wiring, and a remote. 

  • Control Module – The hardware that performs all the remote start functions by communicating with the vehicle and other pieces of the Compustar system.
  • Bypass Module – A piece of hardware that makes remote start possible on modern vehicles without disabling the factory security system.
  • Wiring – A series of wires that connects the remote start hardware to your vehicle. These wires might differ depending on your system/vehicle. 
  • Remote Transmitter – The device is given to the vehicle’s owner, which allows them to control all functions of their Compustar system.

Please note, depending on the system you choose, and the vehicle in which it will be installed, these hardware pieces might differ, but some version of them is required for all systems.

How Do Remote Starters Work?

In short, remote starters simulate the engine starting sequence you initiate when you turn on the car with your key. However, a remote car starter does this without a physical key in the ignition. This is made possible when the control module is wired into your ignition switch and other starter mechanisms. Once the system is installed, you can send signals to the control module using the buttons on your remote transmitter.

Once your remote start control module is installed, it receives commands from your aftermarket remote transmitter via unique radio frequencies. These signals tell the control module to lock, unlock, remote start, and much more.

Wiring in the Control Module

Each part of the Compustar system connects to and communicates with the control module to perform all security and remote start functions, much like the motherboard of a computer.

On paper, remote car starters might sound simple: insert a box in the car and use a remote to control the box. However, the installation process can be incredibly complex. When wiring in the control module, you have to know how to properly connect it to the ignition switch as well as the power, ignition, starter, brake, and tachometer wires.

The Bypass Module in Action

This piece of hardware makes remote start possible on modern cars, without sacrificing the security of your vehicle. Most modern vehicles are sold with an immobilizer, an electronic security device that prevents the engine from running without the correct key. From 2000 onward, all vehicles now require a bypass module to be flashed with the vehicle’s firmware to communicate commands properly, without the physical presence of the key.

To put it in more familiar terms, the bypass module works like a middleman between a remote starter and the vehicle, ensuring that communication can happen fluidly and securely.

Controlling Your Remote Starter 

The remote you use to control your system can impact the distance from which you can send vehicle commands. Some remotes send what we call “2-way” commands while others are only capable of “1-way” commands. You can even control additional parts of your vehicle, such as your windows or sliding doors with certain remotes.

To learn more about the difference your remote can make and the features available to you, check out this blog post: Compustar Remote Guide

Who Needs a Remote Starter?

If you’ve never heard of a remote starter before, then today’s your lucky day. If you live in an area with extreme heat in the summer or extreme cold in the winter, then a remote start system can transform your driving experience. This is because remote starters allow you to warm up or cool down your vehicle without having to turn the key. 

Picture this: It’s a cold winter day and your vehicle is covered in snow. If you have a remote starter, then you can melt the snow off of your vehicle without having to brave the cold. You simply have to remote start your vehicle and let your defrosters do the work for you. This way your vehicle will be ready to go in time for your morning commute!