If ever there was a topic that the team here at BestCarAudio.com has beaten to death, it has to be the importance of choosing the right shop to work on your vehicle. With the weather getting colder and the leaves falling in the North, it’s time to start thinking about adding a remote starter to your car or truck. We’ve probably made this same statement a hundred times, but based on the work that we see, the message isn’t getting across: Be careful about who you choose to work on your vehicle.
What Does It Take To Install a Remote Car Starter?
It seems that anyone with some information about which wires need to be connected to a starter system thinks they’re qualified to work on a vehicle. Sadly, reality couldn’t be further from the truth. A proper remote start installation begins with preparing the starter system, long before the technician approaches the vehicle. The technician will know which wires will need to be connected in order to power the remote start hardware and replicate the starting procedure. Wiring for ignition and accessory circuits, computer interface modules, door lock controls, trunk release, heated seats and rear defroster activation all need to be prepped before the work begins.
Once the technician is satisfied that it’s time to work on the vehicle, it must be prepared. The best in the industry will connect the battery to a charger so the vehicle will function reliably during installation and testing. Heavy-duty seat covers, a steering wheel cover and floor mats are used to protect the interior from damage. Some shops take the time to apply tape to any area where the technicians will be working to prevent scuffs and scratches.
After the technician has prepared the vehicle, he or she can start to remove any dash trim panels that impede access to wiring. These panels should be placed away from the vehicle on a carpeted storage cart or rack so they won’t get scratched or damaged while work is underway.
The next step is for the technician to test the wires that they will be using for the installation. A high-quality digital multimeter is recommended, as it won’t draw any current from a circuit. Test lights or analog meters may damage engine control modules (ECM) or body control modules (BCM) or, in a worse-case scenario, trigger the airbag system if the wrong wire is tested.
The Importance of Solid Electrical Connections
When the tech is ready to integrate the starter system into the vehicle, he or she will likely need to tap into several wires under the dash, near the instrument cluster or the body control module. How these connections are performed plays a significant role in the reliability of the starter system and the dependability of your vehicle.
How Can You Protect Yourself as a Consumer?
The goal of the BestCarAudio.com team is to educate consumers about the best practices and solutions available to upgrade their vehicles. Whether it’s a speaker installation, radio upgrade or, in this case, a remote car starter installation, it’s essential to make sure you have the right person working on your vehicle.
Your best bet is to review examples of a shop’s work before you commit to letting them touch your car or truck. In order to vet the quality of their work, you’ll need a basic understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to starter installations. We’ll finish this article with several examples of car starters that weren’t installed properly. The systems needed to be reinstalled, or removed and replaced, in order to make the vehicle safe again.
Before you let someone work on your vehicle, have a look under the dash of a few remote starter systems they have installed. If you can’t get your head under there, snap a photo with your phone. If you see wires that aren’t trimmed to length and bundled neatly, that’s a bad sign. If modules are hanging loosely, only supported by their wire harnesses, that’s also a concern. Finally, if there are any wires added near or around the steering column, gas or brake pedals, or the parking brake, keep searching.
Countless shops across North America remove and replace poorly installed and low-quality remote starters each year. Fixing poor workmanship is, for some, a regular occurrence. Don’t waste your time and money with a shop that doesn’t do quality work. It might cost $50 or $100 more to have the best installation possible performed from the beginning. That’s a lot less money than having to tow a vehicle that won’t start somewhere and spend hundreds of dollars repairing poor workmanship.
Spending money on quality products and services doesn’t come cheap. Don’t look for the best deal in remote starter installations. Look for the best quality and workmanship.