Give Someone the Gift of a Remote Car Starter for the Holidays

As we head into a season of cold weather, jumping into a freezing cold car starts to sound pretty unpleasant. Luckily, there’s a way to avoid this situation by getting a remote car starter. This technology feature can make for a better start to your day. And, with several holidays coming up, this is the perfect time to consider giving a remote car starter as a gift to someone else or to yourself.

A car parked outside covered in snow
A cold car covered in snow | Robert Alexander/Getty Images

A great gift: remote start for the car

Some new cars today include remote start, but it is possible to add this luxury to an older vehicle. The remote starter can turn on the car’s engine using a fob without the driver needing to get into the vehicle.

Not all remote starters work with every car, so make sure to confirm that before making a purchase, especially if it’s meant to work with a hybrid, diesel, or manual vehicle.

The remote starter itself costs generally between $50 and $150, according to Popular Mechanics. The price is dependant on the features and safety controls that are included. The feature that most affects the price is whether it is a one-way system or a two-way system.

A one-way system directs the car to start with a fob. A two-way system also does that, but then the car sends a notification that it’s finished the task.

Signal range is also a feature to check on. That varies between 1,000 feet and one mile. While you might not really want to start your car from a mile away, those starters have stronger and more reliable wireless power signals that can more easily work through walls and trees. Other available features might include locking and unlocking the car, opening the trunk, and heating or cooling the car.

In addition to the cost of the remote starter, there is also a cost of about $300 if you want a professional to install the mechanism. While that’s expensive, it can still be less than the $500 extra that it tends to cost to buy a car that comes from the dealership with a remote start built-in. Here’s a look at a few models recommended by Popular Mechanics.

Best value: Audiovox Prestige APS787Z

Popular Mechanics says “you can’t argue with the price–or the impressive features” of the Audiovox Prestige APS787Z. The system currently sells from Amazon for $80.98, although Popular Mechanics has seen it priced as low as $65. It’s very affordable, but the range could be longer. It has a range of 1,500 feet, which is plenty for most people.

It’s a one-way system and doesn’t need to be customized. It has three buttons that lock or unlock the car, open the trunk, and start the car for an amount of time ranging from five to 60 minutes. It does work with hybrid vehicles and is able to pair with your phone through Carlink.

RELATED: 8 Important Tips for Warming Your Car in the Winter

Most secure: EasyGuard EC002

The EasyGuard EC002 offers “fancy features and top-notch security,” according to Popular Mechanics. It’s available from Amazon for $119.99. It is a one-way system with three buttons to start and stop the car as well as heat or cool inside. The EasyGuard EC002 has a range of 3,000 feet.

Popular Mechanics likes that the system includes a loud car alarm and password-protected keypad for added security, plus it can set the vehicle’s temperature. The car will also unlock when you get within about three to six feet of it even without using the keypad. All these features do make the price more expensive.

Luxury: Compustar CS4900-S

The Compustar CS4900-S is recommended for its “premium quality and high-end features.” It’s available from Amazon for $127.95. This is a two-way system, so, once the vehicle has started, the system confirms with the driver. It has four buttons that lock and unlock the vehicle, open the truck, and start the vehicle. It has a range of 3,000 feet.

Popular Mechanics likes that the key fob feels solid but points out it is one of the more expensive systems. After running for 15 minutes, the fob chimes and a light blinks red to alert the driver to get in the vehicle or it will shut off. The driver can also shut off the car sooner by clicking the start button a second time.