The Remote Start Buying Guide

The Remote Start Buying Guide

Posted by Carrie O'Hara on 2nd Nov 2020

If you’re considering buying a remote start system, there are some things to keep in mind while you shop:

1-Way vs. 2-Way

You’ve probably heard the phrase “1-way”, or “2-way”, when people talk about remote start systems. The difference between a 1-way and a 2-way system is 1-way remotes only send a signal to your vehicle, 2-way remotes are capable of sending a signal to your vehicle and receiving information back.

The advantage of a 1-way remote is going to be the price. 1-way remote systems are much less sophisticated, and consequently, require fewer parts and labor to install. The downside of a 1-way system is that, unless you can see your car from where you are when you initiate your remote starter, you won’t have any way of knowing if it worked or not.

Depending on the range of your remote, signal interference, and physical barriers your signal may not reach your car when you press your start button. Wouldn’t it be nice to know for sure if your car was warm BEFORE you walked across a snowy parking lot? A 2-way remote will send a confirmation signal back to your remote , letting you know that it received your request and has started your vehicle for you. Some 2-way systems can even send you more specific information, like interior temperature, so you know how long you want to wait before heading out to your vehicle.

Shop our 2-way remote start systems here.

Signal Strength

How strong of a signal do you need for your remote start system? Well, it depends on your expectations for your system. If you’re looking for a remote to start the car in your drive-way from your living room window, then you would probably be fine with a low range (500 ft.) remote. But what if your car isn’t in your drive-way? What if it’s in long-term parking at the airport, or the bottom floor of a subterranean parking structure? What if you live on a military base, and there is RF signal interference?

You are going to want a remote with a signal strong enough to reach your car regardless of where you are. The basic rule of thumb is; the longer the range, the better . Just keep in mind, a remote starter is only a convenience if it can start your car for you before you get to it. If you have to walk 90% of the way there, just to get in range, it hasn’t really helped you out.


Having a remote start installed is a great opportunity to upgrade your vehicle’s security system too.

Drive-In Autosound sells and installs several remote start systems with integrated security, which offer features like panic mode, security siren, and a shock sensor, which not only starts the siren but can send a notification to your remote indicating that something has happened. Remotes with LCD displays can give you even more information, like “Shock Sensor” or “Door Open”.

Some systems even have GPS capabilities, which means if the worst should happen and your vehicle is stolen, you can find it and report its location to authorities for faster reclamation.

Shop our remote start + security systems: Compustar Pro T-11, Viper 3505V, Viper 5305V, Viper 5606V, Viper 5706V, Viper 5806V, Viper 5906V

Smartphone Integration

Smartphone integration is the next evolution in remote start technology. The ability to control your vehicle with your smartphone or smartwatch makes installing a remote start system all the more appealing.

Different versions are available from different manufacturers. Viper offers a free option that uses Bluetooth technology to communicate between your phone and vehicle. The upside is that you have an additional option for starting your vehicle, and that it is a free add on. The downside is that the Bluetooth signal is usually limited to around 150 ft.

Another option is a subscription-based service that operates off of a standalone data network and connects to your phone or other smart device. This method allows you to start, control, and locate your vehicle from virtually anywhere . So that means, if you are in New York on business and realize you left your car unlocked in the airport parking lot… in California, you could still lock it with your smartphone. That’s because instead of using a RF signal, the system uses an 3G or 4G LTE data network to send and receive information via a propriety app. Which means… If you have a cell signal, you can control your car!

The use of an app also allows for more sophisticated functionality. Viper’s SMARTSTART app, for example, offers geo-fencing to setup travel alerts, speed notifications, and GPS location. Families with teen drivers might find those features especially useful. Nervous parents can rest a little easier knowing they will be notified if their child leaves the approved area or exceeds the acceptable speed limit.

Compustar’s DroneMobile solution offers similar features, as well as nearby points of interest and GPS services, powered by Google Maps.

Shop our remote start/smartphone integration products: Viper VSM-300, Viper VSM-350, Compustar DR-5400

Additional Features

Most remote start systems have the option to add features. Keep these in mind when deciding on how to finish off your system:

  • Keyless entry
  • Trunk pop
  • Glass break sensor security only
  • Tilt sensor (detects if your car is being lifted from one side/end like if it were being towed or jacked up) security only
  • Siren sounds even if battery has been disconnected security only
  • Sensing field around exterior of car security only
  • Additional siren security only
  • Interior “ARMED” LED (indicated that the vehicle is armed; theft deterrent) security only
  • Voice “ARMED” announcements (vocal warnings that the vehicle is armed; theft deterrent. security only

More Questions?

If you still have questions regarding remote start systems, how they work, and which one might be right for you; check out our Remote Start FAQ , or better yet, contact one of our stores directly. Our expert sales and installation teams can answer all of your questions, and get you set up with the right remote start for you, at a price you can feel good about!