Ideally, remote starters should be installed by a qualified technician, as improper installation can damage the vehicle's expensive electronic control system. However, for someone familiar with electronics and vehicle repair, knowing how to install a remote starter on a car can save installation cost money and take the frustration out of finding a qualified installer. While this article gives some general instructions for wiring a remote starter, it varies by vehicle and remote starter model.
Part 1 of 2: plan the installation
Step 1. Make sure the starter motor you choose is compatible with the make and model of your vehicle
Read the packaging or contact the remote starter manufacturer to determine if it is compatible with your vehicle. You will need a starter that is compatible with your anti-theft and security system.
If it is not compatible with your anti-theft system, you will have to purchase expensive additional anti-theft bypass modules
Step 2. Read the installation instructions carefully
They vary depending on the different brands and models of remote starters. It is important to carefully read the installation instructions and find the wiring diagrams for your type of starter.
If you choose a used part or one for which the particulars are not provided, consult the online manuals before making a purchase. Make sure the website is easy to use and has full, printable instructions and wiring diagrams that clearly show how to install a remote starter in a car
Step 3. Read your vehicle's service and repair manual
By reading it, familiarize yourself with the cables in your car. Some standard hardwired connections include starter, ignition, and accessory controls such as heater and air conditioning, security or alarm system, radio, and keylock.
Step 4. Gather all the tools and materials you will need
Consult your manuals to determine the tools needed for your starter model and vehicle. You may need a utility knife, wire cutters, wire strippers, soldering iron and solder wire, electrical insulating tape, digital multimeter, wrenches and / or screwdriver. A digital multimeter is recommended for testing during and after installation.
- Some remote starters come with all the tools you need to check your box. For example, many systems come with an LED circuit tester to find the wires needed for installation.
- It is recommended to solder all cables together to make better connections. If you choose to solder them, you will need a soldering iron and safety glasses.
Step 5. Choose where to put the main module and access the area
It should be in a hidden, secure location that will not require you to extend the cables provided. The usual location is inside the lower dashboard under the steering wheel. So you can connect directly to the ignition wiring.
- Do not place it in the engine compartment or where it will be exposed to extreme vibration or heat.
- Empty spaces above the radio or glove box compartment, center console and above the dashboard fuse box are possible locations.
Step 6. Go over your car to make sure everything is working properly before installation
Check the battery, switches, lights and all other systems. If all electrical systems are not functioning properly, then you should repair them before starting your installation.
Step 7. If possible, remove the seat from the area where the control module will be installed
Removing the seat will give you more room to work during the installation of the system. If you can't remove it, slide it all the way back.
Step 8. Disconnect the battery
When working on your vehicle's electrical system, it is safer to disconnect the battery to avoid electric shock. To test the cables you will need to have the battery connected, but, to be safe, unplug it when soldering the cables together.
Part 2 of 2: wire a remote starter
Step 1. Remove the cover panel under the steering wheel
Use a screwdriver to remove the panel covering the underside of the steering column. This is where you can access the wires to connect the starter.
- If the panel is not secured with screws, then you might need a socket set to remove the panel mounting nuts.
- Depending on your vehicle model, you may also need to remove the lower steering column cover to access the ignition switch harness. If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-theft system, it is likely that you will need to remove this cover.
- If you choose to connect your remote starter to other functions such as door locks and overhead lights, then you will need to remove the bottom trim panel as well. It is located in the lower left corner of the "pedal" compartment (clearance under the steering wheel where the pedals are located).
Step 2. Connect all of your cables correctly
It is very important that you securely connect all of your cables. Loose wires can cause serious injury or property damage. It is best to solder all your connections to ensure their strength.
To connect the wires, first strip them 1.5 cm to 2.5 cm from their insulating sheath. If there are two wires, you need to separate them first and then insert the fixing wire between them. Wrap the tie wire around the stripped wire and solder them together using the soldering iron. Once they are securely attached, wrap electrical insulating tape around the connection and use zip ties to hold them in place. Pull on the threads lightly to make sure they are not slack
Step 3. Connect the ground wire
The ground wire will be part of the starter and is often black. Connect it by screwing it through the ring on a clean, unpainted metal surface, in the area of the bottom trim panel. This wire is very important for the proper functioning of your vehicle.
Because this is really important, it is much better to connect the ground wire to a location behind the trim panel rather than near the ignition switch on the dashboard
Step 4. Locate the 12V DC cable on the vehicle and attach your system power wire to it
The 12 VDC power cable is the one connected to the battery and is usually found in the wire harness connected to the ignition switch. You can find this wire by reading the guide and vehicle service manual or by testing with the multimeter.
- If you see any yellow or noticeable wires in any other way, don't touch them! These are the airbag wires and they must not be tampered with or disconnected!
- To do a test with the multimeter, connect it to the wire when the car engine is off and the key is off. It should display around 12V at all times.
- Some vehicles have more than one “continuous” 12 V wire. In this case, identify the one that is connected to a higher amperage fuse and connect your primary power wire to it. If your starter has two power leads, attach the second power cable on the starter to the additional 12 V "continuous" wire.
- Use a soldering iron to connect all the wires. This prevents them from coming loose and potentially damaging your vehicle. Add extra protection by wrapping them completely in electrical insulating tape.
Step 5. Find and secure the accessory wire
The accessory wire supplies the contact of the heating and air conditioning controls and delivers 12 V when the key is in the first position ("accessory" position). Attach the starter accessory wire to the vehicle accessory wire.
- To find this wire, connect the multimeter with the key in the "off" position. The voltage should be zero in this position. Turn the key to the first position, but no more. If you have found your accessory wire, the voltage will now display around 12V (11.5-14V). Check that the voltage goes to zero as soon as you crank the engine (it will read 12 V before and after starting).
- Some vehicles may have more than one accessory wire to control all functions. In this case, use a relay to connect additional wires.
Step 6. Locate and connect the ignition cable
It supplies the fuel pump and ignition system, it must be connected to the ignition key under the steering wheel. Vehicle repair manuals or guides should tell you what color this wire is. Connect the ignition output cable to the remote starter.
- Once you find this wire, you can make sure it is the correct one using the multimeter. Connect the multimeter to the wire and it should show no voltage if it is connected to a good ground wire. Turn the key to the first position and the voltage should still read zero. In the second position, before you start the car, there should be a voltage displayed on your multimeter. If so, then you have identified the correct wire, otherwise you must try again to locate your ignition wire.
- Some vehicles have more than one ignition wire. In this case, use a relay to connect any additional ignition wires.
Step 7. Find and secure the starter wire
It will only show voltage when your vehicle's engine is being started or turned on. This cable supplies power to the starter solenoid (coil) when you start your vehicle. Connect the output of the starter wire from your remote starter to this wire by soldering them together.
Locate a possible jumper wire to test it with the multimeter. The voltage should be zero when the key is in all positions except when cranking the engine. If you think you've found the right thread, start with the key in position two, then crank the engine. The voltage should read zero, while the key is in position two, then read 12V while cranking and then return to zero if you release the key before the engine is running
Step 8. Connect the cables for the position lights (or parking lights) and the “brake” lights (brakes)
The brake wire is usually located at the switch harness, above the brake pedal, but it can also be found with the parking light cables (parking lights) in the bottom trim panel at the rear of the vehicle. Connect these wires to the wire outlets for the parking lights (parking lights) and the brakes on the remote starter.
- To find the brake wire, step on the brake pedal while the engine is running and use the multimeter to test the wire. The multimeter should read between 11.5-14V when the brake is depressed.
- It is especially important to connect the wires to the brakes, as they will prevent someone from leaving with your car if it is connected to the remote starter.
Step 9. Locate and connect the speedometer wire to the "speedometer" output wire on the remote sensor
This is required by the remote starter to disconnect the starter after the car is started. It is usually found in the distribution system or on the spool.
To find the speedometer wire, look at the engine timing system by following the spark plug wires to where they join with a distributor and then look for a small wire harness that should be in connection with the meter. If not, consult the service manual to determine the location of said cable
Step 10. Then connect all optional security, anti-theft and other components
Some systems may have additional steps for connecting to the vehicle door lock. Others might need a special system to be compatible and recognized by the existing anti-theft system in your car. As always, check your remote's manual or manufacturer to find out what additional features your system has and where you will need to make any connections.
To hook up the door locks, you can locate the wires in the driver's side door. You may need an external relay, of which there are many different models. However, the four most common include a positive trigger, a negative trigger, a polarity reverser, and multiplexed door lock systems. Consult your vehicle's manual or maintenance guide to find out which system is used on it
Step 11. Use a relay to connect additional wires if there is more than one wire for the energizer, accessory, or starter
A relay allows several cables to be connected together. There are many different models, in shapes and sizes, but they all have the same basic function. Connect the wires to the relay by wrapping them around the lugs.
Step 12. Secure the cables with tie wraps or screws to keep them away from moving parts
This will protect the wires and give the installation a clean and neat look.
Step 13. Connect the battery and test to see if everything works
Test your remote start system, keyless entry system, and brakes and brake lights to make sure everything has been properly connected and working. If something doesn't work, start over, checking all the wires you have connected, to find what is faulty.
Now test your vehicle to make sure it starts correctly and you can drive it normally using the key. Check electrical equipment such as lights, turn signals, heater, radio, check that all dashboard lights are working…
Step 14. Replace the bottom trim panel as well as the cover covering the ignition switch
Push the remote control sensor and wiring into the compartment and cover with the panel. Screw (or clip) the panel back into place.
- Take your time and be methodical. It is very important to be focused so as not to injure yourself or damage your vehicle.
- Use a relay to connect additional wires if there is more than one wire for the energizer, accessory, or starter.
- Soldering all of your wires together will make them more secure and less likely to cause problems in the future.
- Keep the wires away from sharp objects under the dashboard. If a wire is cut or becomes loose, it can cause damage to the vehicle that is costly to repair.
- If you are unsure of yourself or unfamiliar with electrical systems, do not attempt to install your remote start system on your vehicle. It is more reasonable and safer to hire a qualified technician to complete the installation.
- Failure to properly install your remote sensor can cause personal injury and property damage.
- Be careful when working with electric wires, as they can cause electric shocks and cause injury to you.