Remote car starter that does not need installation?

I want to get a remote car starter because it’s winter and my cars heat doesn’t seem to really kick on until I have been driving it for 20 minutes, and they are not too expensive online like $50, but to get one installed they are about $250. Do they make a remote car starter that does not need to be installed? Like putting some kind of device in the ignition keyhole, that starts it remotely, then when you go out to the car, remove it and start it again with your regular car key.

Well, short of just leaving the key in the ignition, tying a string to it and running a string into your house I don’t think there’s any sort of universal remote starter like that. A novel idea though!

If you have a newer car that had a factory remote start option, you might just be able to get a remote and have someone (probably the dealer) program it. Except that could defeat the purpose because the OEM remote and the ten-odd minutes of dealer labor might cost more than having a generic aftermarket one put in.

Also, if your car is really taking 20 minutes to warm up and you don’t live in Alaska or something, you might just need to replace your thermostat.

Just send one of the kids out to start the car…


What I did with a car without much heat was to keep an electric space heater in it, run a extension cord thru the window and in to the house (well really on a external outlet that I could control through a internal GFI outlet). In the AM when I got up I would turn on that outlet, the space heater would start to warm the car, but mostly would heat up the steering wheel as that is what I pointed the heater at. While it was not as good as having a remote starter preheat the car, it did make a big difference as I was not in the initial coldness of the car but had a rather comfortable warm place till that wore off.

I don’t think 20 minutes is unusually long this time of year.

Depending on how new a car is $250 is nothing to have one installed. The security system on new cars makes putting an aftermarket on on very difficult.
Sometimes the entire dash has to be removed and a bypass starter line has to be installed with a key. The key itself can be over $100.

Putting an after market remote starter on my wifes 2012 Jeep was a major pain in the ass. Next time we’re just going with the factory installed one.

Remote starters rock, though. They’re the only reason why I’d buy a car with an auto tranny over a stick.

I have an old SUV that I use as a winter beater car. I just had another key made and run outside quick and start it up and run back in the house. I figure if someones going to steal a 20 year old truck that’s rusted to hell with 180K miles on it they must need it more than I do.

20 minutes is ***way ***too long, even for an older car. No modern-ish car should take more than 5-8 minutes to produce cabin heat even in very cold weather. I agree that the thermostat or some other component in the car’s heating/cooling system is malfunctioning.

Cabin heat maybe, but not enough to make the inside of the car toasty warm.
When I get into a car on a cold Wisconsin winter day I want the inside to be HOT. And even a new car takes at least 12-15 minutes to get to that point.

I had a remote starter installed at Best Buy. Took them about 4 hours. It has an anti-theft feature. Engine shuts of if the brake pedal is touched. It means restarting when I’m ready to drive off. But I like the peace of mind.

The one in our car shuts off when you step on the brake unless you put the key in and turn it to the on position first. Then you can take off without restarting.

My father used to have a job with an early start. He fitted an incandescent 40 watt light bulb in an old biscuit tin, plugged it into the mains and left it on a piece of wood on the front seat.

It is surprising how warm the car was, and totally frost free, from just a light bulb. I guess in your cold winters a 60 watt might be better.

My brother, who lived in Canada for a while, had a car with a mains powered engine heater. Just left it plugged in all night and toasty warm in the morning. A lot less strain on the battery too since it did not have to drag all that cold oil around.

You can get an engine block heater that plugs into a 110 outlet overnight. They should be cheaper to install than a remote start.

Hiring a chauffeur would be overkill, but adding “starting the car” to the job description of your maid, houseman, or nanny would get the job done.

Block heaters heat the engine, not the interior of the car.

Yeah and not a whole lot either, usually just enough that it starts easily. I did have a car with an inline coolant heater that actually circulated the heated coolant through the engine and that car blew heat when started. It was nice.

Yeah, when I had a house with a detached garage, I ran my block heater and a space heater off an outlet timer. Was fantastic on -35° days. (Though I did forget to unplug the block heater one time and dragged the whole contraption on to the driveway) :smack:

I wonder where you and Greasy Jack live? Because my smallish cars have never been a match for February around here.

I think it has more to do with what people define as warm. I’m always cold so I want my cars roasting inside in the winter. Most people would not be comfortable with how hot I keep the inside of my car during winter driving.

I live in Montana with frequent business trips to North Dakota. There goes that theory!

Granted, yeah, if your idea of warmed up is getting the cabin to temperatures appropriate for light baking I could see that taking 20 minutes of idling. But on a car with a functioning thermostat even in subzero temperatures you should be getting usable heat in 3-5 minutes or so and it should be warm enough to thaw the windows and such by probably no more than 10.

I think the thing is that if you’re not in the habit of changing your thermostat as a periodic maintenance item, you’re probably just used to cars with thermostats that are partially stuck open to one degree or another. The long warm up times is the only real noticeable symptom and it usually develops so slowly you don’t notice.