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Valiant Remote Car Starter from JC Whitney.jpg

A remote car starter can make the winter months much easier. Without one, well, you know the drill: trudge out into the cold, yank your car door open from the sheath of ice that formed overnight, sit down on the icy driver’s seat, and start ‘er up. Then shiver, curse, and blow vapor clouds for ten minutes while the heater puffs out air that’s — is it possible? — even colder than the air outside.

Valiant’s remote car starter allows you to forgo this process with the press of a button from up to 1,000 feet away. It’ll start the engine and control the heat, defroster, or a/c for a user-programmed time of up to 24 minutes. It comes with built-in relays for ignition, lights, and climate control, though you’ll need to buy extra relays for keyless entry or power trunk release. It can also start the engine automatically every two hours to avoid a dead battery in frigid temperatures.

JC Whitney is running a sale on the Valiant remote starter for $56, about $15 less than retail. Of course, you do have to install it yourself. But you’re a Toolmonger. You’re not afraid of that.


Valiant Remote Car Starter [JC Whitney]
Street Pricing [Google]


14 Responses to Cold Remedy: Valiant’s Remote Car Starter

  1. Need one of those this morning as it was 7-degree when I left for work.

  2. Where’s the plunger to depress my clutch? I park it in gear because ANYONE who has owned a european car in a northern climate knows you don’t use the stupid emergency brake in the winter. If it hasn’t stuck on you yet, it will. 🙂

  3. Don says:

    I don’t know about standard trans but I LOVE my remote start. I have one in my truck and my wifes van. Two remote starters were way cheaper than a garage, and a house to go with it.

  4. Art Andr says:

    Usually it is not a good idea to start a freezing car and let it go idle until its interior is warm. The engine will not get sufficient lubrication as the oil’s temperature is far from being optimal. The catalistic converter degrades as well as it also will not reach optimal temperature as fast as possible. Here in Europe it is forbidden to let the engine idle in a lot of cities because of the polution this would generate. A heater (fx from webasto or Eberspächer or an electric one) does a much better job doing that.

  5. KMR says:

    I agree with Art… remote starters in cold climates will accelerate engine wear. I also agree that a coolant or oil pan heater is a better option, not only will it help reduce startup wear (especially when cold) but as they are heating the fluids of the motor, your motor will warm up more quickly once started.

  6. KMR says:

    Another option would be to install aftermarket heated seat kits. It will cost about $100 per seat, and you’ll have to do the install yourself (any true Toolmonger should find it very easy – getting both seats done in an afternoon). The good kits will warm both the bottom and back elements up to ~140 degrees in about a minute. Kits use about 10A per seat, so make sure your alternator has enough output at idle to cover both seat kits, headlights (highbeams too), your radio, gps and anything else you need to run. Most modern vehicles today have alternators with close to over 100A rated outputs, and while that isn’t at idle speeds, that size alternator will work just fine for most people wanting to install heated seats with their other electronic gizmos.

  7. Toolaremia says:

    @Art Andr: OK, the Webasto and Eberspacher things are cool, but they are hugely expensive at $1800+, and only work on diesel vehicles with enough room to install them. Scratch 90% of American vehicles. (Had an Eberspacher in a sailboat once. Cozy.)

    Most people get rid of their vehicles within 5-7 years, and warranties cover catalytic converters, which means any possible premature wear caused by use of a remote starter will have no effect on the first owner. So they won’t give a crap.

    Me, I’m usually the third or fourth owner, so it matters to me, but I’ve never looked at a car that had one of these installed.

  8. pencilneck says:

    IMHO, these things are bad news. On top of the fact that most for the last 5+ years have had some sort of Immobilizer system in then (VW for example since 2000 in the US market). So in order for the car to run you have to add something that bypasses the Immobilizer (piggy back) and this can then cause another problem… an Immobilizer that gets confused and won’t allow your car to start one day. I’ve seen this first hand.

    For my 2 diesels, I’ve installed “TDI Heaters” which are made by Webasto. They heat the coolant. Our windshields don’t frost over and there is heat out of the dash as soon as we start our cars. If you own a TDI and live in an area with cold weather, you should really get one of the TDI heaters.

  9. berettaguy says:

    Is there a remote start that works with a carb’d car? In the winter my Jeep needs quite a bit of pedal juggling before it wants to idle correctly. Any suggestions?

  10. Chet says:

    A remote car starter was one of my best purchases of all time. I agree with the argument about engine wear but that’s minor compared to the verbal beatings I would take from my wife when she had to start the car in sub-freezing temperatures.

    You think below 32 is frigid, you haven’t seen my wife pissed off. Forget about the car…it can’t complain about engine wear and I was the best husband on the block after installing a remote starter (for like a whole seven days).

  11. Keno says:

    If you live anywhere there are cold extremes you should probably have an engine heater any ways. I have both an engine heater and remote start. I think i would rather have my truck warm up a bit before i start putting a larger load on the engine and trans by driving it when cold. Plus and engine heater does no good for most people at work where there is no plug in available…

  12. Underground says:

    I have installed these on several of my cars with no complaints whatsoever. You can go out and start your car and let it warm up if you want to. I will take the remote starter. Engines these days are built to take the abuse and I would rather deal with a little engine wear than go out every morning 15 to 20 minutes before i have to leave for work for my hour drive in sub zero temps. The first starter i put on a car was 7 years ago and that car is still running great and has no problems due to the engine wear.

    If your talking about a classic car or a muscle car that you plan on keeping half your life that may be a different story.

  13. Lance E Sloan says:

    I’m commenting on this article late, but I just found it with a Google search. I am considering buying a similar Valiant starter from J.C. Whitney and I would like to know how difficult these items are to install.

    I think the answer depends on my abilities, so I should probably explain what I know.
    I’ve done various small maintenance tasks on my car and 20+ years ago I installed a Radio Shack alarm in a car of mine. (Stop laughing!) I’m fair with tools around the house, doing electrical work like installing lights, ceiling fans, vents, etc. I’m a computer programmer and I’ve built custom computers from basic components. Does it seem like I have a reasonable chance of installing one of these remote starters?

    If I could get my hands on the installation instructions for one of these units, I could probably see just how much work it will be.

  14. Al says:

    When it’s -35 to -40C with the windchill I’ll take a little engine wear for the pleasure of having a remote car starter.

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