Question about a remote starter for my car...
December 20, 2006 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about installing a remote start system for my car. I'll need to buy an immobilizer bypass for it to work according to my friend...

From what my research has told me an immobilizer bypass is basically a box with a spare key in it (since the key has to be close to the ignition for the car to start).

Having a spare key in the car seems like a pretty big security risk to me even if it is hidden behind the dash. Or am I being paranoid?

Also I called my dealership and was informed that my warranty will be fine. However could a remote start system mess with my insurance rates, or hinder my ability to make a claim?
posted by aznhalf to Technology (5 answers total)
Response by poster: Call your insurance company.

Was my next option, just did not want to wait an hour on hold if at all possible.
posted by aznhalf at 10:46 AM on December 20, 2006

Just as useless an answer, but I'd suggest looking at your policy rather than calling your company. My experience has been that your agent is great about pre-sales information and handling well-established situations (my car broke down, I had an accident, there was a flood) but near to useless on issues of fine detail or hypothetical that are anything but common.

Perhaps more importantly, if your policy says "this is not covered" and your agent (or more likely, agent's secretaries) tells you on the phone that it is... can you guess what the result's going to be when you try to collect?
posted by phearlez at 11:10 AM on December 20, 2006

Best answer: Having a spare key in the car seems like a pretty big security risk to me even if it is hidden behind the dash. Or am I being paranoid?

I think this is actually pretty common. (My brother had to get his car towed recently because the immobilizer bypass -- that he didn't realize was in there when he bought it -- stopped working. And his key was a standard non-mobilizing one.) But yes, it's a security risk and not only because it's a key in the dashboard. But rather because you're effectively permanently disabling a standard security feature in your car. Even if you slice off the key part of the key.
posted by Plutor at 1:50 PM on December 20, 2006

They actually dismantle the key, and only use the transponder bit of it.

Most insurance premiums will go down with a security system installed, even if it bypasses the built in security system.
posted by SirStan at 5:23 PM on December 20, 2006

Best answer: First of all, you probably shouldn't trust the manufacturer's immobiliser, most of them are trivially defeated as they prevent only one thing (starter) from operating. What you want is a 3-point immobiliser that cuts starter, ignition and fuel, is properly installed so that the wiring is not identifiable and has a proper battery-backed alarm with microwave, bump/glass-break sensors, etc.

Some of those systems have a remote start option: since they're already tightly integrated with the ignition and starter circuitry, they can just as easily start the car without a key as they can prevent it being started with a key. Press one button on the remote opens/closes the car, other button is remote start or panic (sound alarm).

Remote start systems are illegal in some places so you might want to check that for where you live. The presumption, I think, is that someone can drive off in your car after you've started it. Definitely have a read of your policy exclusions.
posted by polyglot at 1:39 AM on December 21, 2006

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