Do you wish your car had a remote starter so you could enjoy the convenience of starting your car from far away? Imagine being able to cool your vehicle down on a summer day or warm it up on those brutally cold winter mornings.
If you don’t have this feature, you’re likely wondering how to install a remote starter. The good news is many cars are compatible with this technology.
Read on as we cover the ins and outs of installing a remote starter for your vehicle.
Is Your Vehicle Compatible?
Before beginning the remote starter installation, make sure your vehicle make and model are compatible with the remote starter.
If you’re planning on buying a kit online, check for a list of compatible vehicles. You can also contact the manufacturer if you’re not sure.
If your car has an anti-theft system, make sure your remote starter of choice will work with it. Cheaper models may require an additional purchase—anti-theft bypass modules. This can be quite costly.
Tools You Need
Depending on which route you take—DIY or professional installation—you may need some tools. There are remote starter kits you can find online if you wish to tackle this job yourself.
Here are some basic tools for those planning on a DIY job:
- Remote starter kit
- Soldering iron and solder
- Electrical tape
- Safety goggles
- Screwdrivers and wrenches
- Utility knife
- Wire cutters and wire strippers
Consult your vehicle user manual as well as the instructions in the remote starter kit for a full list of supplies you may need.
It’s very easy to damage your car or truck if you’re unfamiliar with electronics and vehicle repair. If you don’t feel comfortable messing with the wiring, consider taking it to a qualified technician.
Purchase a remote start system from your vehicle manufacturer. A dealer can tell you if your vehicle is compatible and what options you have. If your vehicle qualifies, you can have it installed at the dealership.
Older cars built prior to 2005 usually need aftermarket starters. You can have this installed at an auto shop.
Are you wondering, how do remote car starters work anyway? Check out that article for more information.
Again, we don’t recommend trying this on your own unless you’re comfortable messing with the wiring. One wrong step and you can cause serious damage to your car.
It’s a little harder to install a remote starter in newer vehicles, so it pays to go the professional route. However, if you know what you’re doing and you want to save some money, it is possible to do this job yourself. Here’s what you need to do.
Step 1: Read the Instructions and View the Wiring Diagram
Installation instructions vary between brands of remote starters, so take the time to read the manual. If you can’t find the installation instructions, check online.
You’ll also want to look at your vehicle manual to understand the wiring and connections.
Step 2: Disconnect the Battery
Gather any tools you need that didn’t come with the remote starter kit.
Decide where to place the control module. The most common place is below the steering wheel in the lower dash.
To give yourself more room to work, slide the car seat back or remove it if possible.
Next, disconnect the battery. This helps prevent shocks as you’re working and soldering wires together.
Step 3: Remove the Panel and Connect the Wires
Using a screwdriver, remove the panel underneath the steering wheel. If there are no screws, you may need a socket set.
For vehicles with anti-theft systems, you may need to take off the cover of the lower steering column. This allows you to get to the ignition switch harness.
Next, you’ll need to connect the wires. Strip 1/2″ – 1″ of the wire coating. Secure the attaching wire to the stripped wire. Using your soldering iron, solder them together.
Wrap the wires in electrical tape and bind them with ties for a secure connection.
Step 4: Connecting the Ground Wire
Create a separate grounding location. An unpainted, metal spot in the kick panel is best.
Screw through the ring terminal to connect the ground wire.
The reason you want to use a separate location is to prevent possible feedback issues and computer failure.
Step 5: Connect the 12V Constant Wire and Accessory Wire
Using your vehicle manual or with a multimeter, find the 12V constant wire. Connect the power wire to the 12V constant wire. Solder and connect them and wrap with electrical tape.
On your starter, take the accessory wire and secure it to the vehicle accessory wire as indicated in the instructions.
Step 6: Connect the Ignition Wire and Starter Wire
Take the ignition output wire on the starter and secure it to the vehicle’s ignition wire. If you’re having trouble finding it, the vehicle manual should tell you what color wire to look for.
Your multimeter can help you find and identify the ignition wire.
Next, secure the starter wire output to the starter wire. Again, your manual can help you find the right wire. You can also crank the engine to find it using your multimeter.
Step 7: Attach the Parking Light and Brake Wires
Find the parking light and brake wires. You can find the brake wire above the brake pedal or by the parking light wires. Connect these to the correct output wires on your remote starter.
Locate the tachometer output wire and connect it to your tachometer wire in the vehicle. The car manual can tell you where the tachometer should be on your vehicle.
Step 8: Connecting Optional Components
Depending on the remote starter system, you may need to take further steps for vehicles with anti-theft and other security features. Read the directions that came with your remote starter, as this depends on your vehicle’s make, model, and safety features.
A relay can help you connect multiple wires if you have more than one.
Step 9: Test the System
Reconnect the battery and test your system. You’ll also want to check all the important functions of your vehicle, such as your brake lights, to make sure everything is in working order.
Make sure you can use your vehicle with your key as well. You don’t want the installation to interfere with regular vehicle functionality.
Replace all parts, and you’re good to go.
Now You Know How to Install a Remote Starter
There are two ways you can install a remote starter system in your vehicle—a professional installation or a DIY approach. Whichever method you choose, you now know enough about how to install a remote starter to upgrade your vehicle.
For more auto news and tips like these, be sure to check out the rest of our website.