For decades, specialty mobile enhancement retailers have installed remote starters on cars and trucks to make them more comfortable. Whether you’re in the bitter cold of Alaska or Northern Alberta or you’re dealing with sweltering temperatures in Arizona or Nevada, giving your vehicle a few minutes to warm up before you drive can make the first part of your journey much more comfortable. In this article, we’ll look at how remote car starters have evolved to improve their safety when installed on manual transmission vehicles.
Automatic Transmissions Are Easy
When you press the start button on the remote that came with your car starter, it sends a radio-frequency signal to the starter’s control module in the vehicle. If installed correctly, the starter will check the status of the hood pin to ensure that it’s closed. If a mechanic is working on your vehicle and accidentally presses the key fob, bad things could happen. The system will also check to see if it’s in valet mode. Valet mode is a second level of protection for those times when you don’t want the remote start system to be operational. Many modern vehicles have built-in security systems that need to be disarmed before the engine will start. In these cases, the appropriate analog or digital commands will be executed to prepare the car or truck for starting.
Once everything is clear, the control module either emulates the electrical functions of the key cylinder or sends a data command to the engine control module to start the vehicle. Most starters monitor the engine speed using a wire connected to one of the fuel injectors or spark modules. Engine speed may also be available via the data connection to the engine management computer. After the engine has started, the controller re-enables the vehicles security functions and locks the doors to ensure that everything is safe. All the owner has to do is activate the unlock feature on the remote, get in, turn the key to the run position and drive away.
Vehicle Security Is Important
During the winter, thieves are always looking for opportunities to steal a car that’s been left running in a driveway or outside of a store. If you start your car and leave the key in the vehicle, it’s a prime target for a thief. With a remote starter, the doors remain locked while the engine warms up. On top of the that, the vehicle will stop if someone touches the brake pedal or clutch to put the transmission in gear. Your vehicle is as safe while remote-started as it is sitting quietly overnight.
Manual Transmission Logic Prevent Accidents
Whether you call it a standard, a five-speed transmission or a manual gearbox, the concept is the same: The engine is connected to the transmission through a clutch. Companies that manufacturer remote starters that work with manual transmissions include several features that help ensure that the vehicle won’t start while the transmission is in gear.
One example is Manual Transmission Reservation Mode or Manual Transmission Start Mode, depending on the brand of starter you’ve had installed. The process is very similar across all brands. With the vehicle parked and the engine running, the first step is to put the gear selector in neutral, release the clutch, then set the parking brake. Once you take your foot off the brake pedal, activate the remote starter function on the remote control. The starter will take over running the engine. You can turn the ignition off, exit the vehicle and close the doors. As soon as the last door closes, the remote start controller will shut down the engine and lock the doors. The vehicle is now prepared to be remote started.
With the remote start having shut down the engine, it’s safe to assume the vehicle was left in neutral. You’ll want to make sure all the windows are rolled up and the convertible top, if you have one, is closed. Some shops won’t install manual transmission remote car starters on convertibles or Jeeps because it’s too easy to access the interior of the vehicle.
The remote starter control module monitors the doors, hood and trunk while waiting for the start command. If any of these are opened, the remote start reservation is cancelled. Likewise, if an alarm built into the starter system is triggered, the system cancels the remote start function. This monitoring helps to ensure that nobody can enter the vehicle and put the transmission in gear.
To start the car or truck, just press the remote start button on the key fob or on a smartphone app such as DroneMobile. When you’re ready to leave, you can unlock the vehicle with the remote, get in, turn the key to the run position and drive away in comfort.
Compustar takes protecting the vehicle one step further with the addition of its DAS and DAS-II sensors for remote starter systems in standard transmission vehicles. The DAS sensors include digital tilt, motion and shock sensing. If during the remote start process the DAS sensor detects that your car or truck is lunging forward, it will immediately shut down the engine. This is an impressive level of protection that protects you from a worst-case scenario.
Start Your Car with Confidence
If you are interested in having a remote car starter installed on a vehicle with a manual transmission, talk to your local specialty mobile enhancement retailer. Be sure to ask them about the zones and sensors that the system monitors and how the reservation mode works with the products they offer. It’s a few extra steps to make it safe to start a manual transmission vehicle, but having a car or truck that’s more comfortable is well worth the few seconds the process requires.
Lead-in Image: Thanks to Taylor Pearson from Phantomwerks Designs in Roanoke, Texas, for the photograph of this ultra-rare yellow 1993 Efini RX-7 Type-R A-Spec and the Compustar PRO T9 remote starter system.