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The Pros And Cons of Remote Car Starters

Sun glaring off a car's windshield. Hate having to go out to your car to start it in winter or summer? A remote car starter could prove to be extremely useful.

Winter is around the corner and that means scraping off the snow and ice and getting into a freezing cold car. Unless …

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of remote car starters.

First, the Pros:Cars parked in snow could use remote car starters

A remote car starter is one of the handiest inventions ever. On a cold day, you can start your car from inside your toasty warm house while enjoying your coffee and it’ll be running smoothly and (depending on where you left the climate control settings when you parked it) nice and warm inside, which might help melt some of that ice you’ll be scraping off the windshield.

You’re a desert dweller? Same deal goes for you, too, just a different time of year. On those triple-digit afternoons when you’re about to leave the office, push a button, the car comes to life, so does the air conditioning and you’ve dodged burning your hands on the steering wheel and the gear shift on the way home.

Another big “pro” — it’s an easy add-on. So don’t kick yourself if it was offered as an option on your car and you decided to pass. Retrofitting your car for a remote starter is easy.

Now, the Cons:

When you’re talking the pros and cons of remote car starters, the only real drawback is an environmental one — and that’s not to be taken lightly. Most remote starters have a safety feature that won’t allow the car to be driven very far (if at all) without the remote in the car, so you don’t have to worry about someone driving off in your running car. But, unless your car is an electric vehicle, you are running a car, burning gasoline and putting pollutants out of the tailpipe without actually driving it anywhere. That’s needless pollution.

You’re the best safeguard against that. Know your vehicle. Know exactly how much time you need for the heater or air conditioning to do its job and don’t use any more than that. Push that button when you’re ready to go and keep an eye on the clock — then get to the car.

Using your conscience, you can very quickly outweigh the cons, which makes a remote car starter a solid choice, especially if you’re dealing with climate extremes.

Check out all the alternators & starters available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on remote car starters, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Mike Hagerty.


Mike Hagerty View All

Mike Hagerty is an automotive journalist whose work has been featured on radio, TV, in print and online since 1997. He's the Publisher and Editor of, and contributes car reviews to the Los Altos Town Crier and Previous outlets have included KFBK and in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines for Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, South Dakota and the Mountain West and

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