Can You Install a Remote Starter on Your Car Yourself?

Topping many holiday gift lists this year, remote starters are convenient to have this time of year. They’re popular car features, especially among drivers living in more extreme climates. Do remote starter kits cost a lot? And can you install them yourself? We’ll point you in the right direction.

Remote start kits are popular

Being able to start your vehicle to blast the air conditioner and cool it down on a hot summer day or get it toasty on a frigid winter morning without setting foot outside is a priceless gift. But before you buy one, you’ll need to consider your budget. There are a variety of remote kits from which to choose. Some are more basic, and others are high-tech with added features that work with a vehicle’s in-cabin tech.

Expect to shell out anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on the make and model of the vehicle you want to outfit.

Anyone can technically install a remote starter

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Remote starting kits are relatively cheap. Just browsing on Amazon, you can probably find an entry-level version for $40. But you have to consider additional costs if your vehicle requires a more substantial unit. Then comes the cost of installation.

The good news is, if you can read a wiring diagram of instructions and have a reasonable degree of patience, you can install a remote starter yourself. The key is knowing how to use a test light to identify key wiring and make decent splices. But by installing the remote starter yourself, you can save well over $100, according to Auto Service Costs.

Professional installation might be the way to go

Some vehicles have antitheft systems, which can make a remote starter installation a bit tricky. There are a few brands of remote starting kits that claim to bypass antitheft systems, but you might want to steer clear of those. Some model vehicles come with other technology features that may require a few extra installation steps.

But there are remote kits that offer all the wiring and instructions needed, even for these complicated models. It essentially comes down to your comfort level and confidence to do it yourself. If you’re unsure, you can always have a professional handle the installation for anywhere from $150 to $900, according to Safewise.

Online resources for beginner-friendly installs

If you’re buying a remote starter for yourself or someone else, don’t worry too much about tackling the install. Step-by-step tutorial videos abound online to help you navigate the wiring instructions, which are perfect for beginners.

YouTube is always a good place to start for guidance. But even a general Google search of remote installation instructions provides a host of other valuable websites offering basic help. Even those with little electronic or mechanical experience find hooking up remote starter kits simple. And if you try it yourself and fail, you can always contact a professional for help. But if you can manage it, you might save $100 to $200.

Nothing says you care like the gift of a remote car starter. And because of their popularity, they’re relatively easy to find. Each kit comes with detailed instructions, so even a novice can handle the installation. They’ll leave more money in your wallet for other holiday gift-giving.