What are the odds these idiots in a shop have seriously damaged my car or even voided the warranty?

I have a brand new car. I brought it to a long-established custom shop to have an after market remote starter installed. It worked one time. Since then, the car won’t start at all, not from the remote starter and not from the start button on the dashboard. The shop was already closed for the day, but I called the support center for the starter manufacturer. They ran me through some tests and tell me the battery is dead. The starter clicks but the engine doesn’t start. The headlights and interior lights don’t work. They tell me the starter was mis-installed in some way that entirely discharged the battery. If using it the first time triggered the short, then it discharged within a few seconds or minutes.

Here’s what I’m worried about. That much power running uncontrolled through the car might have fried all the electronics, destroyed the battery, and Og knows what the Mazda dealer would say if I brought it there to be checked out and repaired if necessary.

A parasitic draw is unlikely to cause damage to your electronics. But it can easily draw down your batter to dead overnight.

As far as I can tell, the discharge happened within seconds or a few minutes at most – from the first time I successfully used the remote to start the car to the second time when it failed, and when everything was dead.

The good news is you brought it to a “long established” place.

I am sure they will make it right.

At least they’ve responded well so far. They came to my work to get my car keys, so they could then go to my home and jump start the car and bring it into their shop.

As long as the yahoo’s you took your car to, correct the installation and whatever damage they did to your battery, etc., your overall manufacturer’s warranty on your Mazda should be in force.

Any updates?..

Yes, it is fixed. I’m not sure what was wrong, but they did admit they screwed up the installation.

They picked up my keys at work, and went to my house to jump start it, which didn’t work. So they had to go back to their shop and get more “tools” to get it started. I suspect they fried the battery and replaced it, but I don’t know. I don’t know what the original battery was, so I can’t tell if it’s been replaced. The woman I spoke to at the shop didn’t know any technical details.

They also brought my car back home and returned my keys to me at work. So despite what a screwup they made, that did about all they could do to fix it. Except of course offering a partial refund.

I’ve learned a couple of odd things about the system. There is no off switch – I can only start the engine, not turn it off. But I’ve talked to a few people at work and found out this is very common, though some systems will kill the engine after X minutes if the driver doesn’t show up. I haven’t seen anything saying my system does that.

And I learned a couple of potential dangers. Once I registered, the app retained the user id and password data (it didn’t give me a choice about that), and just opens without any more input. So anyone could pick up my phone, open the app and start my car. But – I found an app lock to pair with it, so that will no longer be a possibility.

The other this that surprised me is that after testing the app, I shut the car down and dropped the phone back in my pocket. By the time I walked 20 feet, the car started itself again. I forgot to close the app and apparently the screen brushed against something that triggered the start button. I gotta be careful never to do that again.

Sounds like the solution is fraught with potential problems. :-\

That said, at least the issue is resolved.

As for the battery, the dealership tech will be able to tell you if it’s still the original battery or not.

I looked at the app driven remote starts a few years ago and was dissuaded when I found out they charged a monthly/annual usage fee for the app. Do they still do that?

Yes, a hundred bucks for 3 years.

I’m not going to discuss this with the dealer, that’s for sure.

Well, if you find your curiosity overwhelms you, as it would me, simply stop by the dealer parts department and ask to see the factory battery for your model. They probably have one in stock. Take a picture and do your own comparison.

Something to do on a slow day if you’re really bored. :slight_smile:

It would probably be more secure to lock down your whole phone OS with a password.

I know that, but I don’t want to have to put in a password anytime I do anything.

No, it most likely won’t. The manufacturer’s warranty is generally contingent on not installing aftermarket modifications, even if they are subsequently removed. They will probably still honor the warranty if, say, the brake system fails, but they’re likely not obligated to and they can certainly deny warranty claims for electrical failures.

ETA: It isn’t going to matter if you tell the dealer or not. The installer probably had to reflash the ECU and the dealer will be able to tell even if the remote starter is removed and the ECU is restored to its factory setting.

You are incorrect. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the dealer cannot void the warranty just because aftermarket parts were installed, and has to show that the aftermarket part caused damage before denying coverage for a specific repair:

The Magnuson-Moss Act applies to replacement parts. A remote starter device is not a replacement part. Though I misspoke when I said the warranty as a whole would be voided.

More IMHOy than Pitish. I’ll move it yonder.

I’d suggest you reconsider that attitude - as someone who nabs your unlocked phone could do a whole lot more damage than just starting your car.

Depending on the phone and OS version, you may be able to set it up so that it’s unlocked in certain locations (one of the few things about Android Lollipop that do NOT feel like lost functionality to me right now).