By on August 22, 2012

 

Jonathan writes:

Sajeev,

I live in Chicago (actually a northern suburb) and own two cars: 05 Scion xB and an 03 Accord (4 cyl Auto). Due to logistics, day care, scheduling, and the like, both cars are used every day for the 1.5 mile drive to different train stations. And as you can imagine, we have some mighty frigid days here in the Windy City, and getting into a frozen car is not a whole lot of fun.

So I was thinking about installing an after-market remote starter in one or both of the cars. My questions are: Is this EVER a good idea? And if so, which types/brands should I look for and what professional installation gotcha’s should I beware of? And will the installation possibly reduce the future reliability of my car’s electrical/starter systems with the installation of such a device.

Thank you,

Jonatha

Sajeev answers:

Assuming a quality aftermarket installation, my question to you is: when is this ever NOT a good idea?

I only have one reason against this upgrade. There’s a (valid) school of thought that you should not let a cold motor idle around with cold oil: taking forever to warm up with no engine load, adding a ton of friction to the system for no good reason.  But OTOH, who gives a crap?

The extra engine wear could be minimized with a switch to fully synthetic oil.  And sometimes it gets so frickin’ cold outside that the motor needs to idle a bit just to safely drive the car on nearly frozen fluid.  And most people don’t keep cars long enough for this type of engine wear to matter.  And replacement motors from the junkyard are cheap…

I think you see my point. Find a reputable automotive aftermarket trim installer in your area (Yelp.com, ask local car dealerships, etc) and buy a kit they recommend to make this as easy as possible. With those two hurdles cleared, you shouldn’t have any problems for years to come. Especially on the somewhat simplistic  electrical systems of late model Hondas and Toyotas, as opposed to something BMW-like. Fingers crossed on that!

Question is, does anyone north of my hot H-town homeland disagree with this assessment?

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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61 Comments on “Piston Slap: Putting yourself first via Remote Start?...”


  • avatar

    If I were you, go to the DEALER and have it installed.

    Years ago, I took my girlfriend to buy a brand new 98 Accord and the dealer had their own remote starter for it. Can’t go wrong if the dealer does it because whether your car is off-warranty or not, they still have to cover you on the starter they install. It will be slightly more expensive (by about $50), but at least you know if they F anything up, they have to replace it. Same thing goes for the Scion.

    Might even be able to snag an engine block heater while you’re at it.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I would also get the dealers kit. A remote start installed correctly will not create any negative affects, buts the kids that install these things in aftermarket shops don’t know what they are doing. The wiring jobs they perform can be terrifying when you see them. The oe kit will be designed to fit you car directly and piggyback into your cars wiring without damaging one piece of wiring.

  • avatar
    don1967

    At best a remote starter wastes huge amounts of fuel; at worst it will infect your car with the sort of gremlins that cause dealers to throw their hands up in the air and wish you luck.

    For your engine’s sake consider synthetic oil, and for your comfort consider an interior warmer plugged into an extension cord via remote control device.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      My next car will be ordered with one from the factory, but i’m not sure i’d have an aftermarket unit installed. Although i’m told they’re pretty basic devices.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      I <3 the remote start on my Volt, it gets the cabin nice and cool while I'm walking from my office to the car. Plus, when it's plugged in, it doesn't result in reduced range. Very helpful in constant 100F Texas.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      “At best a remote starter wastes huge amounts of fuel”

      With all respect Don: 1) Have you looked into how much gas a car uses over 10 minutes at idle with no load? and 2) What kind of car are you currently driving, and why are you wasting so much gas?

      In regards to #1, I can’t speak for the Accord, but I used to have a first-gen Scion xB. The 1.5L vvt four uses .14 gallons of gas per hour at idle when cold, and only .11 gph warm. So even using the .14 gph for a cold start, a typical 10-minute advance start time will burn .023 gallons of gas. Do that every morning, 5-days a week, and it’ll take you almost two months to burn ONE extra gallon of gas.

      Or to put it into dollars and cents: By putting an extra dime into the car, the owner and his wife and kid(s) can get into a warm car with warm fluids. If that makes the family a happier place, it’s a dime well spent. As for the wasted gas – the xB is a surprisingly efficient car to begin with, so they’re already doing their civic duty. The two-hundredths of a gallon of gas are neither here nor there on a bitter cold morning.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        @Thinkin, I think your dollars and cents argument works well for the Scion you drive, not so much for the V-8 Suburban it usually applies to. Regardless, I’ve seen people remote start their cars for 15 minutes or more before they hop in, pissing away fuel and filling the street with the lovely smell of their exhaust fumes.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I don’t get why you are bringing up a Suburban when the cars in question are an ’05 Scion xB, and an ’03 Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        Always with the negative waves MBella, always with the negative waves. It’s because his argument hinges on the generality ‘car’, not the specific ‘Scion’; i.e., “With all respect Don: 1) Have you looked into how much gas a car uses over 10 minutes at idle with no load? and 2) What kind of car are you currently driving, and why are you wasting so much gas?”

        Thinkin then goes in to describing his Scion, which is a small car and is specific, but leaves the questions, what about big cars with hulking V8s and why didn’t he use the formula to calculate at least one of those? Would it change his argument?

  • avatar
    dejal1

    You only say auto after the Accord. I wouldn’t stick one in a manual. You would have to make sure you never leave it in gear. I would never trust myself to do that 100% of the time.

    Also, what are your plans for the ride home? You get off the train and what? Start it remotely and hop in 2 minutes later? If so, what’s the point?

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      Most places wont install one on a MT car from my understanding.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        These days it’s easy – all the decent remote-start kits offer a module specific to manual transmissions that won’t start the car if it’s in gear. Installers will be very clear about this – no reasonable shop would EVER allow an owner to install a remote start in a manual without such a device. Just press one button and your car drives away on it’s own? No way.

        Now whether or not you want to park your car in neutral all time time…. that’s up to the owner.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      A electric block heater with a timer to turn it on a couple hours before your morning commute will use less fuel, won’t encourage theft (unattended running car), be safer, more environmentally friendly, and result in a nice toasty car every morning.

      I had one for a VW Rabbit diesel back in the 80′s and it was terrific. Block heaters have been around forever and are a simple, proven, effective solution.

    • 0 avatar
      Wacko

      I only drive manuals, and I live in canada, so they all had/have remote starters. I even Installed on 2 cars myself.

      a remote starter starter to work ona manual, you must activate it!.
      In most cases you put the car in neutral, and press on the start button (on the remote) then turn off the car exit and lock the doors, once you lock the doors the car stops. If you unlock the door for anyreason the remote starter is no longer activated. It does this to make sure that it’s not in gear.

      I recomend getting it installed by someone who knows what they are doing. Since you have to bypass the clutch, and newer cars have alot of anti-theft that are harder and harder to bypass.

      So with a manual you can’t activate the remote starter if the car is not in neutral.

      • 0 avatar
        James Courteau

        To NotFast: When I was growing up in Minnesota, I used a block heater with my car outside every night in the winter. I had it plugged into one of those cheap little mechanical timers and set it to come on two hours before I’d leave. For about 10 cents of electricity, I’d have a happy car, and warm happy buns by the time I got to the end of the block. I always plugged into a GFCI outlet to take care of any “unattended cord outside” problems”. Only popped the GFCI once. if you don’t have a GFCI, you can install one for $10, or you can buy a cord with a GFCI wired in, kinda like a hair drier cord.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My new Impala has remote start. I may or may not use it, as I don’t see the need – yet. Perhaps in winter, but it has heated seats, and it sleeps in the garage. In the past, in winter, I try to make sure I park it at work in a place that receives sunlight all day – or as close as possible on cloudy days.

    As for adding it to an older car…I don’t believe I would advise it. Throw a blanket over the motor when you park the car for the night if it’s left outside – after the engine cools a bit. Get one of those sheepskin seat covers, start the car, wait a moment for the engine to get well-oiled and drive – it’ll warm up faster – and wear a hat! Keeping your head warm makes you much more comfortable – but you probably already do that. Your car won’t mind.

    I know how that wind cuts you in half in Chicago in winter, especially whipping around downtown! It’s brutal.

    30 years ago, I bought those electric dip sticks, as we didn’t have a garage, only a carport. At the time, those helped greatly. Nowadays? I don’t think you can buy them anymore, plus with all the bends and turns in the dipstick tube, I doubt one would even fit.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Most true block heaters work by replacing one of the freeze plugs in the engine with a heating element. This allows the heater to warm the engine coolant and disperse the heat throughout the engine block.

    • 0 avatar
      patman

      The remote start is my hands down favorite feature of my wife’s Impala. That feature doesn’t get used much in the winter because it stays pretty warm in the garage and it doesn’t warm up fast enough to make a much difference outside if you just start it walking while you’re walking up to it but it is the only way that car gets started in the summertime. It only takes a few seconds for the A/C to start spitting out cold air and it makes a huge difference when it’s 100 degrees outside for half the year – you can fire up the car from across a parking lot and by the time you get to it it’s significantly cooled off.

  • avatar

    I sorely miss the remote starter we had in our CX7, was a dealer-installed option and worked swell. Operating range wasn’t quite as good as some aftermarket units, but otherwise worked well. Would shut itself off after x minutes if you didn’t arrive; would shut down if you pressed the brake pedal (as if to shift it into gear) without the key in the ignition to forestall driveaways by others with your running vehicle.

    Very valuable to have; both from the warm it in winter, or the cool it off in summer standpoint. Was nice to open a black vehicle in summer with the a/c already working on the Death Valley quality interior heat (we’re in Missouri).

    I researched units for my Mazda 5 MT GSD hauler quite a bit. There *are* aftermarket solutions for this; they solve the “did you leave it in neutral” issue by having you perform a self-test with the remote as you leave the vehicle to “arm” it, so to speak, confirming it’s in neutral. Once this is done, the next signal it expects is a remote start command (and will), or a door open signal (which disarms it, now it can’t count on it still being in neutral, someone got in perhaps). That’s a 90% correct description, the Viper or whomever sites have a lot more detail.

    I haven’t researched for my MINI…reading just stereo install tales seem pretty complicated!

  • avatar
    retrogrouch

    It’s Illinois, not Vostok Station. Suck it up. Use an engine block heater at home.

    Make sure you drive the cars continuously for 30+ minutes every weekend to boil off condensation in the oil to avoid foamy sludge engine death.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Unless you actually “live” in the actual city of Chicago….chances of getting parking in front or hell even the same block you life on the majority of the time is laughable.

      This weekend I stayed at my other half’s house in the city….and parked 2 blocks away. A 2 way remote start would be fantastic…at least while walking to the car it could be running getting unfrozen.

  • avatar

    For us that live in Cold Climates, many think they are a “Godsend” I personally don’t but yes use Synthetic Oil, I think most Garages see these devices as a way to make Money if you have problems starting your Car, I don’t need this problem and I live with the Weather!

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I had one installed in our 2008 Mazda 5 (auto). Although the car does sleep in a garage at night, it doesn’t where my wife works. Point is, she loves it. She loves getting into a warm car (or cool) especially with the heated seats. With our twin boys, it’s nice not having to put them in a hot or cold car when we aren’t at home.

    Many dealers don’t do this sort of work, so beware. Our Mazda dealer gave me the number of the shop that did all their remote start work. It’s in a Mazda box, but the shop told me it’s actually made by Code Alarm who makes most aftermarket alarms and starters.

    Have only had one problem, where the idle speed was too low and causing the car to turn off or not start with the remote ( but fine normally). A simple fix and nearly a year later, no other problems. The install wasn’t as clean as I’d like it to be, they had to put the antenna near the top of the windshield and it’s plainly visible.

    I’ll be interested to see how it continues to works/causes any gremlins as the car ages. We generally don’t let it run that long, gas mileage only falls by .5 mpg during heavy use. I use full synthetic oil.

    I might be an enthusiast and treat my cars well, but it’s just a car. A happy wife and children are much more important to me.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    The honda might have an eom option available, the Scion definitely doesn’t. That said, I’d look into higher-end Viper systems. They’re regarded as the best, and if you’re really into it you can get one installed that can start the car via a smartphone app. It sounds crazy, but you can then start the car from the train as you’re nearing your station, and you get visual confirmation on the phone that the car has started. They’s more expensive than the $100 hack-job no-name installs available, but are comparable in price to a dealer-install. Plus, the added range and visual confirmation of the start are priceless.

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      If you are talking about the Viper SmartStart, it is basically a cell phone hooked to the starter. Cool idea, but you have to pay a few bucks every month for it to work.

      I’m not too sure I’d like the idea of starting my car out of my sight though.

      I’m old school and remember sitting on my Beetle Leatherette seats and trying to start the aircooled engine in sub zero weather. Fun Times. Once the engine started you’d have to sit in the car 10 minutes with the clutch in to eliniate the drag the clutch had on the engine. I’d also have to row the gear sheet through the gears so the grease would loosen up.

      Now, get in the car, let it sit for 30 seconds and slowly head out. In a couple of minutes everything gets warmed up.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Back when I lived in the frozen hell that is Grande Prairie, Alberta I just let my GMC diesel pickup idle at night, otherwise the fuel would gel/freeze from all the water and crap–regardless of what kind of blend I ran.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    A 1.5 mile commute? Dress for the weather and walk. Save driving for better times of day.

    • 0 avatar
      DrSandman

      Maybe if you lived in the country. But a 1.5 mile walk along icy streets in the rain and snow with baby and toddler and wife and baby detritus and diaper bags and bookbags filled with laptops… Add in cars that aren’t paying attention to pedestrians because they haven’t cleaned the frost off the windshields?

      No thank you. I love my family too much to let them walk that far in a city without 2 tons of steel encasing them in warm-n-toasty safety cage.

      For OP — we have a remote start; never used it since we got it home from the dealership. Good luck!

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        The guy said he lived in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

        They have sidewalks, with a few very notable exceptions.

        Furthermore, the Chicago metro doesn’t actually get much snow in the winter. It’s just cold.

        If he walks, he’ll join the dozens of others in his suburb that are already doing the same.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        In the Boston area, sidewalks are typically covered with ice and snow in the winter. In many communities it is the responsibility of the business or homeowner to clear the sidewalk in front of their property. Many don’t bother. Sidewalks aren’t much help in the winter.

        Maybe Chicago-area residents aren’t quite as lazy and selfish?

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Walk 1.5 miles? In Chicago in the winter? Or summer for that matter? Even on nice days I would get sweaty walking that. I wouldnt want to do that before work, and definitely not when its extremely hot or extremely cold. 1/4 mile yea, maybe even a half mile. But no way 1.5 miles.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        I guess you would be “that guy” that doesn’t know how to dress for walking in the weather.

        The rest of us will learn how to use a scarf. Nice and snug when you walk out the door, looser and looser as you get closer to work. Instead of a heavy down parka, you can wear a zippable or buttoned sweater underneath a thin wool coat. Undo a button here and there and your body stays at a comfortable temperature the entire time. How is this hard?

        Cars are supposed to be fun. Nothing takes that away more than commuting in one.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        “Walk 1.5 miles? In Chicago in the winter? Or summer for that matter? Even on nice days I would get sweaty walking that.”

        Seriously?? A 1.5 mile walk in nice weather makes you sweaty? We talking drippy sweaty? If so, you got bigger issues to worry about looming in your future than an auto-start system.

        Consider if you walked it every day, there and back for a month in nice weather. One would assume you would become more fit for such an awesome amount of exercise that you would only become slightly damp.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        No not like drippy sweaty, but perspiration when I dont need it, like on my way to a client meeting. And you cant dress for walking when you are going to work, you dress for work. I am not overweight and I exercise often, but I don’t like to exercise in work clothes, carrying a computer bag, outside, etc. I am not saying it isnt doable, some people love to walk everywhere, but I would guess that if the guy was that type of guy, then he already would be walking. To most people, a 1.5 mile walk is the exception, not the norm.

        Granted, I live in Florida so I don’t have real cold weather, I don’t own a scarf and I only have one winter coat, its like 7 yrs old from when I lived in DC. Mostly I have to deal with rain and heat, and neither is condusive to walking 1.5 miles. I havent seen more than 2 nice days in a row in months… its rainy season. But when I lived in DC it didnt get as cold as it does in Chicago, and I STILL hated to walk in the cold. Not even from the Metro station to my office, which was like 2 blocks. It sucked, and therefore why would I choose to do it every day?

        Commuting sucks when you have to do it for an hour+ in traffic. Commuting a cpl miles to a train station doesnt suck, its extremely convienent. I wish I had that option here.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        mnm, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment that commuting sucks as a rule, but commuting a cpl miles to a train station doesnt suck, its extremely convienent and that you wished you had the option.

        So do I friend, so do I. If I had the luck and the luxury to have a train or metro station close by that actually went to where I wanted/needed to go, I’d walk or ride my bike there every day and relax just a little bit. Keep the car for the weekend, getaways, and vacations when I want to enjoy it.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I agree, I would ride my bike or maybe a scooter if it was hot (the humidity is insane down here, in summer I do get drippy sweaty in a few mins outside!). For a cpl years I worked in DC but lived in FL, I would commute there every week. I didn’t own a car, I used one of those fold up electric scooters to get from my hotel to the office, to go shopping, etc, and I used the Metro to get from the airport every week. I still hated it in winter though! :)

        My wife has the luxury of working only a couple blocks from our house. It literally takes longer to drive than to walk because of waiting to cross traffic on roads, etc. I suggest she just use my old scooter but she refuses, I think she’s embarrassed to show up on it! LOL Too bad too, its one of the really nice ones! On nice days she walks, rainy or hot days she drives, or I drop her off.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like a huge waste for a 1.5 mile commute (hell I’d walk on all but the worst days). You’re going to let the car sit and warm up for 5-10 minutes for a 2 minute drive?

    It’s not uncommon to see 0 or colder days here in NJ (although they’re getting rarer) and I’ve never had a problem with just getting in the car (no garage, just carport) and driving 5 minutes with the heater off allowing the car to come up to temp and then cranking on the heat full blast.

  • avatar
    Hank

    Sajeev, I’ve got a follow-up question at the other end of the temp spectrum. I’m in upstate NY and see the value of the system in the cold, but I’m moving back to my home state of Texas. What’s your take on remote starters in 105° to get the car cooled down? I’m much more leery in that circumstance. Am I overly heat-averse, or is there potential damage? We’ve got a well-maintained Honda Odyssey we’d like to get at least another 100,000 miles or so out of (currently at 60k).

  • avatar
    jjster6

    OnStar!!! Let me say it again, OnStar. In the new models I can start the car with an App from my smart phone, and from just about anywhere in the world (not that I would want to start my car from China, but I could unlock the doors from there when my wife locks herself out). That would solve the problem of a 2 minute walk from the train. Start the car 10 minutes up the track from your smart phone.

    You can add OnStar to many vehicles with the OnStar FMV mirror. Check it out a BestBuy. Not sure if you’ll get the remote start but it’s worth a look.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      OnStar is great, the only thing I dont like is that it requires a monthly or annual subscription. I am too cheap for things like that LOL. But, I love that they can unlock the doors with the smartphone, my wife would love that. We used to have a Ford with the keypad on the door and that was her favorite feature, not having to carry any keys.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Remote starts are wonderful in cold weather. I’ve used them on rentals often, and especially in negative temps or single digits. Go the hotel window, hit the start button, take a shower, get coffee…out the door in a defrosted and warmed up truck.

  • avatar
    chrishs2000

    “The extra engine wear could be minimized with a switch to fully synthetic oil.”

    If you’re comparing two oil samples conventional vs. synthetic with 10,000 miles on them, maybe. If you’re comparing brand new oil, not a chance in hell there is a difference in engine wear. Given the same oil grade, synthetic or non-synthetic does not affect the hydrodynamic conditions in the engine.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Agreed. If they’re both 5W oils, the viscosity difference won’t be significant until -20F or so. If you go with 0W instead of 5W, there will be a difference. But nothing to worry about either way in a relatively warm climate like Chicago. You’ll rarely even get close to the lower limits of a conventional 5W there. Still, I’d run a 0W in winter if you want to spend any extra on oil. Nothing but advantages.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The synthetic oil does flow better in the cold. Don’t believe me put two bottles of oil, both the same viscosity, one synthetic, one conventional into the freezer and see how they pour the next day.

  • avatar
    patman

    I love the remote start on my wife’s car but it’s a factory system and is integrated with the HVAC to cool off or warm up the cabin – I don’t really like the idea of hacking up a wiring harness in a perfectly good car though. Seen enough professionally installed aftermarket alarm and radio wiring go south to know I don’t want anyone’s butt and splice connectors and electrical tape coming anywhere near the main harness.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I loved our remote starter we had on our Celica. In the summer we could cool the car off nicely, and when we lived in DC my wife loved being able to warm the car before getting in. It didnt waste a lot of fuel (as was posted above idling doesnt use much fuel anyway) and it doesnt invite theft. Honestly it was difficult to use the car ourselves with all the safely features. If you touch any pedal before inserting the key the car would turn off, if you tried to open the door without using the key fob it would turn off, etc. And it was aftermarket installed at Best Buy and never once had any wierd electrical issues at all. Well worth the investment for the OP’s situation.

  • avatar
    multicam

    I can’t believe I’m the first person to mention first-world problems! Lol

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    To everybody who has recommended synthetic oil – it is a complete and utter waste of money for the drive cycle being decribed here.

    A one point five mile drive and then shut off, twice a day? This is textbook severe-service duty. The oil never, ever even gets close to normal operating temperature. This is key for long oil life (synthetic or not), as the hot oil causes the water and raw fuel that gets past the rings to vaporize and exit the crankcase. With perpetually cold oil, the water and fuel just keep building up, causing oil dilution, sludging and emulsion (AKA the dreaded chocolate milkshake).

    The oil on these vehicles should be changed every 1.5K – 2K miles, synthetic or not.

  • avatar
    monomille

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned how bad driving such a short distance is for the car. My father, who was involved with developing the first multi-weight oils and other special lubricants, always emphasized to me that short trips were the most destructive thing you could do to the engine and other systems – they need to get thoroughly up to temperature to avoid condensation and friction issues.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      It’s not as good on a per-mile basis but it’s still easier on the car to drive 2 miles than to drive 20 miles. It goes through the same portion of the warm-up phase either way. Just change the oil on a time, rather than mileage, interval like the manufacturer recommends anyway for severe service daily drivers and the oil will be refreshed often enough. Six months should be the maximum for any daily driver involving winter conditions, regardless of oil type.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I’m with the walking crowd. I’m assuming you have to walk when you get off the train. 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. Three miles a day, lose weight for free; or maintain your weight.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    Seems like some people found TTAC when they were actually looking for http://www.thetruthaboutwalking.com

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      When I lived in Alexandria VA, it was quicker to walk to the local grocery store than drive. One way streets, access roads off the parkway, etc. For the Big Food Run I went to the commissary.

  • avatar
    detlump

    I agree with going the dealer route. I would never let some kid at a store install anything on my car, not even wiper blades.

    I would also second the synthetic oil, it’s not that much more and you can go longer between changes.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    If I’m not mistaken, a number of states prohibit leaving a car running unattended . . . for obvious reasons.

    Seems like a much better solution to this problem all around would be to invest in an engine block heater . . . much better for the car engine, much better for the air (cold engines generate lots of pollution), much better for fuel consumption.

    Obviously, in some situations (like the lack of an available electric outlet) this isn’t going to work. But, if electricity is available, that would be my preference.

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    How about environment laws against letting your car idle, regardless of if someone is inside the car or not? I believe this can get you a fine in New York City, for example.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I’ve had a remote starter on my last 4 vehicles, and wouldn’t be without one. I set the heat controls and vents to blow on the steering wheel, making it tolerable (Gloves seem to do little, no matter how expensive they are)for my hands, which are messed up from way too many fights as a bouncer, and from working on cars for 25 years year round. Where I work, the parking lot is totally exposed to wind in the winter, and it’s really nice to have a warm car to get into.

    Also, I have two very old dogs, and when I pick up dinner someplace, I get out of the car, hit the starter, and keep them cool for the 3 minutes or so until I come back. Most of the time, they don’t even wake up when I get out.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Poor Jonathan,
    He just wanted advice on whether to get a remote start so he could keep his kids warm during frigid Chicago winters, and he gets called fat, lazy, and hard on his engines.

    How many of the “best and brightest” who recommend putting their kids in a stroller for an hour a day in severe weather actually have young children themselves?


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