If you frequent BestCarAudio.com, you’ll know that we love our remote starters. All of us on the editorial team have a remote start system in our cars and trucks. When it’s cold in the north during the winter or blisteringly hot down south in the summer, we use our starters to give the vehicles a jump on making the interior comfortable. We get asked frequently, “Is a manual transmission remote starter safe?” The short answer is yes if you choose the right solution. Let’s dig in!
Manual Transmission Remote Starter Basics
Remote starting an engine with a manual transmission requires a level of integration and programming like that on a vehicle with an automatic transmission. The starter will need to communicate with the security system in the vehicle, relay any authentication for a chip key (or similar), then initiate or replicate the starting sequence. Once done, the system will activate the accessory systems so the climate control can start warming or cooling the interior.
The difference with a manual transmission starter begins with the clutch interlock. If you’ve ever tried to start your vehicle without pushing the clutch pedal to the floor, you know it won’t work. The starter needs to send an equivalent command to the body control module to convey that the clutch has been depressed – even if the pedal hasn’t been touched.
What if the Vehicle Was Left in Gear?
If you’ve thought about the starting process in a manual transmission vehicle, you might be wondering what would happen if everything we listed above took place while the car or truck was in gear. Without some planning and safety features, the car would likely start moving. Remote car starters designed for vehicles with manual transmissions have a process called reservation mode that requires completion to ensure that the transmission isn’t in gear.
Here’s how reservation mode works: If you want to remote start a vehicle with a manual transmission, the starter system needs to verify that the gear selector is in neutral. When you park the car at home or work, you must enable reservation mode by putting the transmission in neutral, releasing the clutch and activating the remote start function on the key fob. You must then set the parking brake, then turn off the key or press the ignition button and exit the vehicle. The engine will continue to run until all the doors are closed. When the last door closes, the starter system shuts off the ignition and the engine stops. The vehicle is now in reservation mode.
Remote car starter systems explicitly designed for manual transmission vehicles monitor six or seven inputs to ensure that the transmission hasn’t slipped into gear. If a door, the hood or the trunk is opened, reservation mode will be canceled. If any security features are triggered, reservation mode is canceled. Reservation mode will be canceled if the emergency brake is released or someone presses on the brake pedal. The goal here is to ensure that the vehicle has remained secure. If none of these zones has been triggered, you can press the remote start button on your key fob (or a smartphone app like DroneMobile), and the engine will start.
Compustar Offers Extra Protection
If you choose a Compustar remote car starter system that uses a controller like the CM7000 or the newer CM-X, those systems work with the DAS or DAS-II tilt/shock/motion sensor to add an extra level of protection to the vehicle. When a Compustar remote car starter starts a vehicle with a manual transmission, it monitors the motion sensor to detect whether the vehicle moves during the process. If it detects motion, it shuts the engine down immediately. In a worst-case scenario, the vehicle might move 8 to 10 inches. Without this feature, well, this is how cars drive through garage doors into pools or living rooms. We can’t fathom having a manual transmission remote starter installed on a vehicle without a motion sensor.
Choose Your Installer Wisely
We say it in every discussion about purchasing a remote car starter: The shop you choose to complete the installation and programming is often more important than the equipment you choose. Shop for a remote starter in person so you can evaluate the facility’s workmanship. Ask to see examples of their installations – they should have them on their website and be able to show you their staff or demo vehicles. Make sure the shop is focused on helping you choose the right system for your needs and expectations and isn’t just trying to be the least expensive shop in town.
Remote Starters Add Comfort and Convenience
If you wish that the engine in your car or truck had a few extra minutes to warm up on a cold winter morning, drop by a local specialty mobile enhancement retailer and ask about having a remote car starter installed. A manual transmission remote starter is a great investment if you love rowing through the gears but still want to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer.