Where to get a remote car starter installed?

snow buried carOut in the cold, Kelly emails:

I am looking to get a remote car starter installed and I was wondering if AOA or its readers had suggestions for shops they've had experience with. I can't find much in the way of reviews online. Thank you!

Got a suggestion for Kelly? Please share!


Yes, here's a suggestion: suck it up.

We don't live in a climate where a remote starter is necessary at all (and even if we did, a block warmer would be a better idea). Letting your car idle to warm up is not only a huge waste of resources (I know some of you don't believe global warming is a thing, or, alternately, really hope it would get here sooner), but is also bad for your car. You actually put less stress on the engine by driving normally to warm the car up. Even letting your car idle while you brush off the snow is wasteful and causes unnecessary wear.

You're cold on that morning commute? A good hat, gloves, and socks are cheaper than a remote starter. Better yet, take the bus, it's already warm when you get in and you don't have the stress of winter rush hour driving...

Agreed. Cars put out much more pollution before the catalytic converter warms up. Starting your car and letting it idle pollutes far more than just starting it and driving away.

I think the point of this post was to help Kelly get a car starter installed, not for all the lefty, save the whales, tree huggers to criticize her. Also, I've had three different tow tuck drivers/mechanics tell me you SHOULD let your car warm up in the cold before driving off, all while slowly revving the engine.

Kelly, if you want a car starter, get one. It's cold as hell in upstate NY and your car is a major investment, one that you should take care of. Almost any auto shop or car audio retailer will do it. Well, unless you have a SAAB because you have to take out half the car to install it. ($$$$$)

HAH yeah because tow truck drivers are the be-all-end-all of automotive know-how.

I work with cars daily on an engineering level and here's the deal:

Warming up your car is hard on the engine but mostly the oil. Your engine is cold and things are going to be 'smaller' than normal when cold. This means you'll have gas mixing with oil. This causes problems and will shear the oil. That's a bad thing.

Honestly all this talk about idling your car & wasting gas causing global warming is probably coming from people that spent way too much money for a hybrid and they need to justify that somehow.

To produce one cheeseburger uses the same amount of fossil fuels as going for a 3 hour drive in your sports car. There are much better ways to cut your energy consumption but they might require you to do more than buy a Prius and act better than the rest of us (hard, I know.)

Also -

I have a 400+ hp turbocharged car that I drive daily in the winter. I let the car idle for about 20-30 seconds (oil pressure is up to operating psi) before slowly driving off. I never go above 3,000 RPMs until the car has been running for about 10 minutes. This ensures the oil and all components are up to acceptable temperatures.

This ensures that I'm getting good gas mileage, and not putting undue wear on my oil or internal engine components.

Remote car starters are for people that run cold and have a 5 minute drive to work. Honestly just put a coat and some long underwear on. You live in NY!

My car came with an aftermarket remote starter installed. It's not something I'd likely get on my own, but it was fun at first - great for when you want a cool/warm car for guests, etc.

Buuut occasionally it triggers the theft system in my car and locks me out for 15-30 minutes at a time. It became more trouble than anything for the occasional engine lockdown, so now I just keep the doohickey off of my keychain. I'm not sure how common this is, but hey, FYI, right?

I think there's a general confusion between "warming up your car" and "warming up the inside of your car so that you're comfortable when you get in it". You don't have to let your car idle for more that a few minutes (like 1 or 2) in order to sufficiently warm all of the moving parts. Plus, you'll warm the heater core and produce warm air from the vents faster if you drive it sooner rather than letting it idle in your driveway (as long as you don't rev it up like a crazy, stunt driver before your temperature gauge reads normal).

A warning: if you do get a remote starter, make sure that you're given the manual. My mom recently bought a new car with an aftermarket starter installed for some reason, and the dealership didn't give her the manual. Figuring out how it works has been a hilarious process of elimination.

I snowshoe to work. Every day. All year. But I still want an automatic car starter. Not to use with a car, only for the cool remote-thing to put on my keyring. Why? Chicks dig it. Go ahead and call me shallow, but my carbon footprint's the size of a baby gerbil. Maybe two baby gerbils, but, like, they're huddled together and look like maybe there's just one.

So can I ask where to get an automatic car starter? It's cool if you guys can't tell me as a matter of principle, just thought you'd maybe make an exception, cuz of the gerbils and everything. No? Okay. Time for me to strap-on and head to work anyhow.


I don't have a car starter in my current car, but I did in my previous two or three vehicles. In each case, we used Boomer McCloud on Central Ave. in Albany. The place looks like it would specialize in rims and backseat speakers, but they actually do non-cosmetic automotive installs, too.

I found them professional, timely and reasonably priced. They also have a location in Schenectady.

B, taking the bus requires waiting for said bus -- and those shelters aren't heated. Brrr.

@Kristi -- Thank you for being the only person to answer my question.

@Everyone else -- I do appreciate the information about the stress it will put on my car. It definitely gave me pause. I usually don't warm my car up at all and I knew you don't have to warm your car up for more than a minute anyway (assuming the car is somewhat recent). However, I thought the way I was doing it was not good for my car and, since I have to walk to my car in the morning, I figured I might as well not waste time. I could have done without the righteous condescension from some but I'm sure those posters were just motivated by their pure love for the environment...

Kristi is right. Boomer McCloud also has a location in Rotterdam at Chrisler and Altamont. It's more expensive but with these $59 starters you see just aren't any good.

This comment thread is a beautiful example of why you shouldn't jump to conclusions and be a judgmental jerk right off the bat, and how to gracefully respond and reasonably still listen to advice that is not presented in the best way.
@ B and others - I love the environment too, but more flies with honey, right guys?
@ Kelly - stay classy :)
@ LQ - "two baby gerbils"? Hilarious!

We were going to get a car-starter for my mom, but then found out you can only get them for automatics (makes sense, the clutch has to be engaged to start). Just a heads up!

I got mine installed at Best Buy, took about an hour. While I don't use it every day, it is nice to have especially when there's ice on the windows. You're going to have to let the car run anyway in that situation, so why not wait inside?

Kelly, no problem. It was one of my top 3 favorite tangible possessions back when I owned one. I don't care about a cool car in the summer, but being toasty in the winter is heaven.

I recently got one from Audio Obsessions off Central Ave in the industrial park behind Central Steak. Nice guys. Seems to be working well.

ZIMS Custom Radio also installs car starters.
1970 New Scotland Rd, Slingerlands, NY 12159
(518) 475-7272

There ARE remote starters for cars with manual transmissions, but you have to follow a certain procedure when exiting the car, so that the starter "knows" the transmission was left in neutral.
- Driver comfort (which increases driving safety)
- Vision: clear, warm interior glass is probably THE most important safety feature
- Engine ready to go
- Pollution
- Alleged disproportionate engine wear
- Unnecessary use of expensive fuel

Kevin: I bet you have your car in a garage and don't have to fight your way through a coating of ice just to get into the car after a storm.

I don't have a remote starter but I used to. I also park my car outdoors. I'd push the button while I was putting on my coat and getting ready to leave the house. That couple of minutes meant that (with luck) the defroster would have loosened up the ice enough to scrape it, and the interior wouldn't be so frigid that my breath freezes to the inside of the glass.

As to taking the bus to work- I don't have that option, I commute to Saratoga.

Im thinking about getting one myself, do anybody know about how much it will cost? Please save the answers that dont have anything to do with what im asking to yourself, Save the enviorment, I get it! I do what I can in other ways to save it, but when you have a 5 month old baby and you have to bring him out in 0° weather at 4am it makes sense to have one I dont think I want my son sitting in a icebox and I think it saves time also. Instead of going downstairs getting the car warm and then coming back upstairs to get my child.

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