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Replacing Your Hand Held Remote

Having a remote starter installed in your vehicle is a great way to add convenience and comfort to your vehicle. To receive the best possible experience from your remote start system, it is important that you understand how your remote starter works and how to make sure your system functions properly so that you may enjoy it for years to come.

General Remote Start Issues
When you start your car by turning the ignition cylinder with the key, electrical signals are routed to the vehicle with each click in the turn. The goal of a remote start system is to duplicate the electrical signals being sent when a key is used to start the vehicle. In essence, the remote start system should start the vehicle just as a user turning a key would. If you hear your starter “grinding” during remote start or if it sounds like the starter isn’t staying engaged long enough, there are adjustments that can be made by your installation technician to correct this.

If your vehicle starts properly but only runs for a short amount of time, this too can be corrected by the installation technician with minor programming adjustments.

Our systems provide a multitude of adjustments that can be made to ensure that the remote start acts the same as “key-start”. If at any time you feel that the system is not performing correctly immediately bring the vehicle to your original installation technician or any other authorized dealer for corrections.

The knowledgebase on this site includes references to these and other important questions as well as details regarding your remote start system.
The Remote
A remote starter uses a radio-frequency signal from a remote transmitter (your aftermarket key fob) and uses it to trigger a series of relays that will switch the ignition circuits on to simulate the sequence that is performed when starting your car with a key. Although a traditional keychain-style remote transmitter has long been the only method for triggering remote start you now have a choice! Directed Electronics also manufactures a device that allows you to utilize your iPhone (and soon Blackberry phones) to control your remote start system. Additionally, soon you will also be able to control your system via the internet.

Since remotes will still be the primary means of activating your remote starter for the near future, it is important that you know how they work and how to care for them. We currently manufacture two types of remotes: 1-way communication and 2-way communication. 1-way remotes are the kind of remotes most of us are used to. These remote are handheld with 1 to 5 buttons on them. A normal 1-way remote will last approximately 2 years with normal use. Normal use is considered 7 uses per day.

If your remote ceases to work, the first line of defense is to replace the battery. The most common types of battery used in 1-way remotes are the A23 battery (it looks like a miniature AAA battery) or a CR2032 battery (it looks like a camera battery or a nickel). Some of our older remotes have a very small screw on the back of the remote that must be removed in order to access the battery. On our more recent remotes the front and back halves of the remote case snap together and can also be separated by gently prying the two halves apart with a flat-blade screwdriver or butter knife.

2-way remotes are quite different than 1-way remotes, both in the kind of battery they use and how long they will last. Because a 2-way remote is constantly checking in with your vehicle to determine alarm status, the battery in these remotes will not last as long as in a 1-way remote. With normal use, a 2-way remote will last approximately 3-4 weeks, at which point the battery must be replaced or recharged depending on your system. Most 2-way remotes use standard AAA batteries; however, some of our newer thin-profile remotes will use two CR2016 batteries stacked on top of each other.

If you have already changed the batteries in your remote and the system still fails to respond the next thing to do is to try to reprogram the remote. The programming method used for your specific system can differ from unit to unit and therefore it is important that you determine which system you have so that you attempt the proper programming sequence. Once you determine the model number of your system our knowledgebase can help you determine how your remote is to be programmed. If you don’t know the model you have, refer to your owners guide, original purchase order, or contact a local Authorized Dealer for assistance.

Lastly, it is possible as it is with all electronics devices that your remote is no longer working due to a mechanical failure within the remote itself. In these cases, new batteries and reprogramming will not make your remote work again. At this point you would need to contact an authorized dealer. Please also refer to your dealer to determine if your remote is under warranty. Refer to the section on this site for more information regarding your hand held remote. Remote Guide
The Valet Switch
Besides the remote, this switch is probably the most important part of your system. This small, inexpensive switch is required to do the following:
  1. Override your alarm in the event that your remote does not work or has been misplaced
  2. Teach new remotes or delete lost remotes
  3. Change features of the system (how it operates)
  4. To enter/exit valet mode (turns off all security temporarily for vehicle servicing)
This switch should be mounted in a spot that is accessible, but not totally obvious. The most common place is on the driver’s kick panel or on the side of a center console. You CANNOT learn new remotes or override the alarm without a remote, etc. without this switch. It is obviously very important. That being said; some installers do not feel it is necessary to install this switch or show the customer where it is. It is quite possible that your system may not even have a valet switch installed as the system is capable of working without one. If you find yourself without a valet switch you will first need to contact the original installation technician to have them finish the install. If this is not possible, you will need to use our dealer locator tool to find another dealer in your area. For further explanation on how to use this switch to learn remotes, override your alarm, etc. please refer to the knowledgebase, your owner’s manual, or your local dealer. For additional information about your valet switch, refer to the knowledgebase section of this site or your installing dealer.
Your LED (light emitting diode) is going to be a blue or red light on your dash or on your system’s antenna. Understanding what the different behaviors of this LED are will help you understand your system better, allowing for less frustration and a more satisfying experience with the product.

When your system is armed the LED will flash once per second. Opening the door or turning the ignition on in the “armed” state will trigger the alarm. When the system is disarmed it will not flash at all, or will flash in groups of 2, 3, 4, or 5 to indicate that your alarm was triggered while you were gone and which zone was specifically triggered. Further explanation of these zones is available in your owner’s manual. If the LED is on solid that infers that the security portion of your system is inactive and that the system is currently in “valet mode”. This may be convenient when visiting a mechanic, car wash, or when using a valet parking service. In this mode the alarm will not make any siren sounds when arming or disarming.
The Hood Pin Switch
This part of your system will need the least amount of your attention but will still require care. Check your hood pin switch frequently to ensure it moves freely and is not loose. A misadjusted or rusted hood pin switch is the most common cause for remote start not working. You may want to consider spraying the hood pin switch periodically with rust-inhibitor to ensure proper operation.
* Please remember that any technical support information, whether oral or written is being provided free of charge on an “as is” basis, without any representation or warranty. Directed Electronics assumes no responsibility or liability resulting from improper installation, even in reliance upon this information.