4 Remote Car Starters that Work with Any Vehicle

We scrutinized dozens of remote car starters to bring you our top four picks.
Best overall
Crimestopper car remote
Crimestopper RS7-G5
  • Icon Pros  Light
    LCD screen
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Two-vehicle compatibility
Best for budgets
Avital car remote
Avital 4105L
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No LCD screen
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Lower price
Best security
Viper car remote
Viper 5305V
  • Icon Pros  Light
    LCD screen
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Six-tone siren
Best range

Starting your car with a remote control before you slide behind the wheel is a nice creature comfort, but we wanted aftermarket options with cutting-edge technology like two-way communication, keyless entry, and in some cases LCD screens or security features.

Start your engine with the best remote car starter from Crimestopper. Its remote car starter works for a wide range of vehicles with two-way communication and an impressive 3,000-foot range. 



Compare the best remote car starters

Product
List price *
Range
Two-way communication
Alarm or siren
Smartphone control
Learn more
Best overall
Crimestopper car remoteCrimestopper RS7-G5
3,000 feet
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best budget
Avital car remoteAvital 4105L
1,500 feet
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Best security
Viper car remoteViper 5305V
1,300 feet
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best range
Prestige APS997Z Remote Car StarterPrestige APS997Z
5,280 feet
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

*Amazon.com price as of 06/23/2021 at 10:45 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Best remote car starter reviews

1. Crimestopper RS7-G5: Best overall

Best overall

*Amazon.com price as of 06/23/2021 at 10:45 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Get remote start and keyless entry for two vehicles with Crimestopper. This remote starter system has two-way communication, an LCD screen pager, and a countdown of how long your vehicle has been running. Crimestopper’s RS7-G5 is compatible with most vehicles and has a 3,000-foot range so you can start your car's engine from across the parking lot or down the street.

While a mobile app is available for both iOS and Android users, you’ll have to purchase the unit that offers smartphone control separately. Also be aware that the key fobs are reported to be battery hogs.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet 3,000-foot range
Pro Bullet Two-way communication
Pro Bullet LCD screen
Pro Bullet Compatibility with most vehicles
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Remotes drain batteries quickly
Con Bullet Smartphone control app purchased separately
Bell
Two-way communication

This is an important feature because without it, you can’t be sure that your vehicle has started unless it’s in your line of sight. Two-way communication means the car can signal back to your remote that you’re good to go.

2. Avital 4105L: Best for budgets

Best for budgets

*Amazon.com price as of 06/23/2021 at 10:45 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

When you just want the basics, look to an Avital remote starter. It’s got two key fobs that provide keyless entry, trunk release, and remote start up to 1,500 feet away. You can also program how long your vehicle runs on remote start, which is a nifty feature if fuel efficiency is your thing.

The downside is that Avital’s remote has only one-way communication, meaning that you won’t be able to verify your vehicle has responded. But for the affordable price, maybe you won’t mind having to look out the window from the comfort of your home or office to check.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Keyless entry
Pro Bullet 1,500-foot range
Pro Bullet Inexpensive price
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet One-way communication
Con Bullet No LCD screen
Con Bullet No smartphone control

3. Viper 5305V: Best security

Best security

*Amazon.com price as of 06/23/2021 at 10:45 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Viper remote starter systems are the cadillac of car starters, loaded with features that give other brands a run for their money. This two-way pager has an LCD display, trunk release, and vehicle temperature readout. Those are all nice perks, but security features really set this model apart. Equipped with a six-tone siren and remote encryption, Viper’s system is part remote start, part car alarm.

For the price, you’d expect to get smartphone control, but like other remote car starters on our list, you’ll have to buy the app and module separately. However, Viper’s Smart Start earns rave reviews from both iOS and Android users, so it may be an investment worth making.2,3 Viper also frames the range on this starter as a “quarter of a mile,” but that’s a little sneaky since that translates into a rather modest 1,300 feet.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Two-way communication
Pro Bullet LCD display
Pro Bullet Vehicle temperature readout
Pro Bullet Security features
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Higher price
Con Bullet Smartphone control sold separately
Con Bullet 1,300-foot range

4. Prestige APS997Z: Best range

Best range

*Amazon.com price as of 06/23/2021 at 10:45 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Mid-priced but full of features, the Prestige APS997Z has an impressive range of one mile.

It does all the things you want a remote car starter to do: turn on the ignition and get the temperature right for you, lock/unlock doors, turn on lights, open the trunk, and auto-shutoff that reduces idling, for example.

But it’s also got a howling siren, a silent car alarm system, and shock sensor in case anyone gets aggressive with your vehicle.

If you add a CarLink subscription, you can also monitor your vehicle’s performance and use the GPS tracking feature to see where your teen takes the car past curfew (or worse, if it’s stolen).

With all these features, the module will likely require professional installation. We saw from a lot of enthusiasts and even some mechanics who needed extra diagrams or help from customer service. 

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Decent price
Pro Bullet One mile range
Pro Bullet Car alarm and security features
Pro Bullet Smartphone connectivity
Pro Bullet LCD screen on fob
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Complicated installation
Con Bullet Great features behind a subscription

Things to consider before you buy a remote car starter 

Here’s the lowdown on what features should top your list when you’re in the market for a remote car starter.

Range

Be careful not to invest in more range than you need. While a longer range may seem impressive, consider how often you’ll really need to start your car from a mile away and purchase accordingly.

Keyless entry

While throwing away the key sounds nice, be aware that this feature doesn’t always work on newer vehicles. Consult with a professional installer about the model you plan to purchase for your vehicle.

Smartphone control

Using an app to start your car is a dream come true, but this cutting edge technology doesn’t come standard with most remote car starters. You’ll need to purchase the module and app separately to get smartphone control and a GPS vehicle tracker.

Security system

Consider whether you want remote start with security features like aftermarket sirens, valet mode, or panic buttons. If you’re going to install a car alarm at some point, it makes sense to buy a system that gives you the best of both worlds.

Installing a remote start system in your vehicle

While you could opt for DIY installation to cut costs, it’s not something we recommend for remote car starters. In many cases, you may need a bypass module or extensive wiring to make the starter compatible with your vehicle, so it’s best left to the professionals. A licensed technician also has the expertise to make sure improper installation doesn’t compromise the security of your vehicle.

If you do decide to install the remote start system on your own, make sure to disconnect the battery first. If not, you’ll be in for a shockingly unpleasant installation experience.

How to avoid auto theft with a remote start system

A remote start system with security features can help prevent theft, but it doesn’t make your vehicle impervious. Consider decreasing your risk of auto theft with the following tips.

  • Customize your settings. Some systems allow you to update proximity settings or specify that a key fob button be pressed prior to starting or unlocking the car. Confused? Ask a professional installer to help adjust your settings.
  • Install security measures. Steering wheel locks, aftermarket car alarms, and even home security cameras with a view of the driveway are all additional security measures that can all discourage thieves from targeting your vehicle.
  • Practice safety. Do common sense things that experts recommend for safety, including parking your car in well-lit areas and hiding valuables out of sight.

Final word

If you’re looking for the best remote car starter to keep your vehicle firing on all engines, Crimestopper has what you need. You’ll enjoy the convenience of the LCD screen pager that counts down your remote start and the option to add a smart control app with keyless entry and GPS tracking.

How we reviewed remote car starters

In order to find the best remote car starters, we didn’t just race through the research. Our recommendations are based on careful consideration of the competition which includes compiling product stats. We also looked to experts in the field to learn more about brand reputation and performance during testing.

And last, but not least, we pored over ratings from real customers across multiple platforms to identify potential problems or standout features.¹ Get under the hood and see our full methodology here.

FAQ

There are many factors to remote car starter installation cost. In addition to the pricetag of the starter itself, you may need to purchase a bypass module to make it compatible with your vehicle. Generally, you can expect anywhere from $150 to $500 for professional installation of a remote car starter.

The short answer is that a remote car starter isn’t bad for your car, but there are some caveats. First, it needs to be from a reputable, high-quality manufacturer. Most aftermarket car starters have engine speed sensors that ensure the engine won’t be damaged by unnecessary revving.

Secondly, you should have your remote car starter installed by a licensed technician. Improper installation can mean damage to the wiring of your vehicle and can rack up costly repair bills.

You’ll hear the term “aftermarket” thrown around when discussing car alarms and remote starters. Aftermarket means that the system was not part of the vehicle when it was originally manufactured. There are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) remote car starters in some vehicles, and it’s important to distinguish them from aftermarket systems that integrate with your OEM key fob.

Contributing author: Celeste Tholen

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

  1. Best Buy, “Viper Car Alarm Reviews.” Accesed June 23, 2021.  
  2. Apple App Store, “Viper SmartStart.” Accessed June 23, 2021. 
  3. Google Play, “Viper SmartStart.” Accessed June 23, 2021.

Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Kaz Weida
Written by
Kaz Weida
Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family.

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  • Michelle Catapang

    Thank you for providing us with recommendations. Nice content!