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Remote Start Not Working? 10 Common Remote Start Issues and How to Fix Them

Tech - by Joe Weber - updated on 1/16/2024

A person trying to use their key fob

A remote car starter is a great way to help keep you warm on those cold winter mornings. Press the button on your fob and your vehicle's engine turns over. Sounds simple right? Unfortunately, a remote starter can sometimes go awry like with all automotive systems. Especially when you are using an aftermarket remote start system that didn't come with the car from the factory. The following are some useful troubleshooting tips for when your remote starter refuses to work.

1. The Remote Isn't Being Used Properly
Remote starters come from many brands. Each with different starting procedures. Some remotes require only a single push of the button, while others require two. Then some remotes require you to hold the button down for several seconds to start the engine. If your remote starter isn't working, be sure to check the manual to see if you're using the remote properly.

2. Check Your Fob Battery
If the lock and unlock buttons are finicky and your remote starter system isn't working properly, try replacing the battery in your fob. You can find replacement key fob batteries at Batteries Plus. Most remote starter fobs run on 2032 lithium coin cell batteries.

3. The Vehicle is Not in Park
This one may seem obvious, but if your vehicle is not in "Park" your remote starter will not work. You should also never leave the vehicle if it isn't in park.

4. Your Key Fob is in the Car
If your vehicle's regular key fob is stored in the vehicle, the remote start won't work. Take the fob out of the vehicle and try using your remote start again.

5. Too Many Remote Start Attempts
If you use your remote start twice in quick succession, the system will not work. This is by design and you can remedy this by getting into the vehicle, inserting the key into the ignition and turning it to "ON" and then "OFF" again. After doing that, get back out of the vehicle and try using the remote start again.

6. Check the Hood
Remote starter systems come equipped with a safety feature that prevents them from operating if someone is working under the hood. A hood pin switch or tilt switch will let your vehicle know if the hood is unlatched and prevent the remote starter from operating. If you're having issues with your remote starter, make sure that your hood is closed and securely latched.

It's also possible that the pin or tilt switch itself has become broken or disconnected. If this is the case, you can have it replaced at most mobile electronics stores.

7. Hazard Lights are On
If your hazard lights are turned on, it will prevent your remote starter from working. Turn them off and your remote start should function properly.

8. Coolant and Oil Pressure
If the coolant temperature in your vehicle is too high or the oil pressure is too low, your remote start system will be disabled. Allow the vehicle to cool down for five to ten minutes and then recheck your coolant and oil levels. Add coolant or oil if necessary before trying the restart again.

9. Your Remote Starter is in Valet Mode
Many remote starter systems have a safety feature called "valet mode" which temporarily disables the remote starting capabilities. Valet mode is typically engaged by pressing a combination of buttons on the remote. You can see if your remote has this capability in your owner's manual.

You can usually tell if this mode is engaged by paying attention to your vehicle's parking lights. If they don't flash when locking or unlocking your doors with the remote, you're probably in valet mode. Disengage this mode and your remote starter should work fine.

10. The Remote Starter Switch is Off
While many systems feature the valet mode mentioned above, a select few will feature a remote starter switch that will disable the remote starter system. In the course of normal operation, this switch could get bumped to "OFF." Typically, this switch can be found under your dashboard or in one of the vehicle's fuse boxes. Once you locate it, all you have to do is flip the switch back to "ON" and your system should work normally again.

Visit Batteries Plus for Your Automotive Needs

Batteries Plus is your car and truck headquarters. Visit our Auto Center for a large selection of batteries, headlight bulbs, accessories and more. Batteries Plus also offers several vehicle services, such as expert battery installation, free battery testing and key fob programming. Visit us online or stop by your nearest location today.

Want to know more? Visit the Batteries Plus blog for more informative articles, including "How Do You Keep a Car Battery from Dying When Not in Use?" and "Do I Have to Go to a Car Dealership for a New Key Fob?".

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