Before you decide on a remote ignition system for your vehicle, it's a good idea to check out what other owners and professional reviewers are saying. Remote starters involve complicated technical components, and as with all automotive products, reliability is important. Doing your homework before you buy can help you avoid problems later. The following four models are especially popular with consumers.
Python 991 Responder
One of the most popular and highly-praised remote starters, the Python 991 Responder offers a number of desirable features. In addition to allowing you to start your car at a distance, the Python 991 Responder also alerts you if anyone tries to tamper with your vehicle while you are away. Also, the remote starter will tell you the current temperature inside the vehicle, letting you know when the car is warm or cool enough for you to go out.
The Python 911 Responder retails for about $250 to $350, not including the cost of installation.
Users enjoy the numerous handy features of this model, including the following:
- Range of up to one mile
- Timer start
- LED remote with text
- Ability to add more sensors for added security
- Works with manual transmissions, as well as automatic
- Progressive unlocking
- Slim remote control
- USB-chargeable remote
According to users who have purchased the Python 991 Responder, this unit has the following advantages:
- Long range compared to many other models
- Reliable operation
- Ability to customize the look of the remote, including changing the color of the LCD screen
- Easy to use, even for beginners
- Good value
Users report the following problems with the Python 991 Responder:
- Remote is fragile and does not hold up to daily use
- Can be difficult to install
- Does not work with all vehicles
Viper 5901 Responder
Another extremely popular option is the Viper 5901 Responder. This alarm/remote start combination offers a host of features that give you a lot of value for your money. The Viper 5901 Responder also notifies you about security problems when you're within range of the vehicle, and it provides remote temperature readings to help you determine whether your car is warm or cool enough for you to enter it.
The Viper 5901 Responder has a suggested retail price of about $600. Installation is not included in the purchase price.
Some of the most popular features include:
- Up to one mile range
- Slim remote with large display area
- Ability to customize the display for your use
- Progressive unlocking
- Remote charged by USB
- Encrypted communication between remote and car
Users praise the Viper 5901 Responder for the following features:
- Ability to roll windows up and down remotely
- Great security for car
- Reliable operation
- Long range
Owners of the Viper 5901 Responder report these issues:
- Overwhelming number of features on remote
- Expensive installation to get all features to work
- Disappointing warranty support from manufacturer
- Not all installers familiar with this system
- Unsatisfactory technical support from manufacturer
Praised for its affordability and good performance, the Avital 4103LXL is popular with users on Amazon.com. This remote starter system doesn't have the security features of the Python 991 Responder and Viper 5901 Responder, but it is much more budget-friendly. This remote starter has a suggested retail price of about $200, but online retailers may offer a discount. Installation is not included.
The Avital 4103LXL has the following features:
- Comes with two remotes
- Ability to lock and unlock the car and trunk and start the car
- Small size of remote
In reviews, users praise the Avital 4103LXL for the following:
- Reliable operation
- Good range of up to several hundred feet
- Can control trunk unlocking, as well as door locks
Users complain about these issues with Avital 4103LXL:
- Very difficult to install, especially for beginners
- Additional equipment needed for this remote starter to work with older cars
- Confusing instructions
Another affordable option is the Bulldog 500. This starter features a two-way LCD remote and is a popular, budget-friendly choice. Although this system doesn't have some of the fancier features of its more expensive counterparts, it's popular for its price and easy installation. The Bulldog 500 retails for between $90 and $200, depending on the source.
These are some of the Bulldog 500's most popular features:
- Five-button remote
- Works with manual transmissions and automatics, as well as diesel vehicles
- Includes keyless entry
- Temperature monitor
- Comes with instructional DVD
Users praise the Bulldog 500 for the following:
- Lets you know when the vehicle has started
- Good range
- Durable and reliable
The Bulldog 500 receives the following complaints from users:
- Hard to find someone to install the starter
- Difficult and time-consuming to install yourself
- Fragile remotes
- Poor customer service
Tips to Help You Choose
There are a lot of great remote starters on the market, and choosing the right one for your needs and budget can get confusing. Keep these things in mind when you're looking to buy a remote vehicle ignition system:
- Look for a retailer who can give you all the information about the remote starter and who is an expert at installation.
- Ask about the transmission range. Some inexpensive car starters look like a good deal until you find out you need to be close to your car in order to use them.
- Buy a product with a good warranty. The module in your car should have a lifetime guarantee, and the remote should have a warranty of at least one year.
- Check into getting a remote start system that protects against grinding, trying to start an engine that is already running.
- If you buy online, look for a company that offers quality installation. Ask for references to ensure the installer is legitimate and will not harm your automobile.
- Do your research. As with any major automotive purchase, check out your options before deciding on a product and retailer.
Research Your Options
By the time you add installation, which can cost between $150 and $250, buying a remote car starter can represent a significant investment. Reading user reviews and purchasing recommended models can save you headaches, as well as hard-earned money. With a little research, you'll have a remote starter that has all the features you need and functions reliably every time.