What's the point of remote start for cars?

You know those little remotes you can put on your keychain and use to lock/unlock your car without using the key? Apparently now you can also start the engine with it, for certain new cars. I can see how that might be fun for practical jokes, or impressing small children, but I can’t see how it would be useful, unless it comes with a full autopilot, which AFAIK, doesn’t yet exist. In fact, it seems like it would make your car easier to steal, if anything. Any practical use for these things, or did the manufacturers just want to include as many features as possible?

Of course you wouldn’t see any advantage…look where you live! :smiley:

When I lived in Alaska, I would have maimed for a remote starter for my car. That way it gets warmed up before I ever have to leave the house. On cold winter days, remote start is worth a fortune. Besides, there is a safety issue when you try to drive with your car still cold. The windows fog, even with defrost, and your visibility sucks. All in all, remote start = Good.

If you lived in an extreme climate, you could start it from inside your house. You would have it arranged so that the AC/heater was in the On position. You get in your car several minutes later and it’s “nice and cool”/“warm and toasty” and off you go.


You must not live where it gets very cold in the winter. In the mountains of New Mexico (Not really that cold in the grand scheme of things) I would let the car idle for about 10 minutes so it was warmed up before I would drive off in the morning. This involved going outside and starting the car. I could see how some people would like to have the car start without going outside.

Aha! That makes sense. Thank you.

If it’s pouring with rain and you have two armfuls of shopping, auto opening the trunk would be a nice feature.

I have a '94 4-dr. sedan with remote door and trunk release, but no engine start. I thought all remotes had trunk as well as door features. Sorry about that.

And it’s a very useful option for those with reason to not want to be in their cars when they start because certain…erm…business rivals…may have decided to do a runaround on competition…

My wife’s 2000 Civic is like this. The keyring remote will unlock the doors, but it cannot pop the trunk. It’s kinda annoying. More annoying, though, is the way the trunk is tied into the alarm (which may have been a dealer-installed item, which could explain something):

Hitting the “door unlock” button on the remote unlocks the doors and disarms alarm. If a door is not opened within some time period (~30 seconds), the system re-locks the doors and arms the alarm system again. The trunk is tied into the alarm system, but apparently does not count as “opening a door” for the purposes of confirming a disarm command from the remote. So the following can happen:

I walk up to the car with a cartful of groceries. I unlock the doors with the remote (disarming the alarm), and proceed to open the trunk using the key in the trunk lid. I start loading my stuff.

After 30 seconds, the car decides, “No doors have been opened; must have been a mistake. Re-lock and re-arm.” The doors re-lock, and the alarm, apparently now sensing that the trunk is open, beeps the horn a few times, startling the hell out of me and everybody around. :rolleyes:

It only beeps three times, though - it’s not the continuous “alarm’s been set off” thing. This makes me wonder is this “feature” is in fact for some reason intentional. :dubious:

The way to avoid this is to open a door within the first 30 seconds, even if you really don’t have a reason to.