Your Guide to Buying a Remote Starter for Your Toyota

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Your Guide to Buying a Remote Starter for Your Toyota

It seems that each new year brings new advances and changes to the automotive world. In many cases, these advancements are meant to improve engine performance, safety, or fuel efficiency. Some advancements, however, simply make life easier. One such advancement is the remote starter. A remote starter is a means of starting one's car by pushing a button before the car has even been unlocked. This is particularly useful for times when it is cold outside and it is necessary to warm up the car before driving it. This can also be helpful in times of extreme heat, where letting the air conditioner run for a few minutes can make the driver and passengers feel less uncomfortable when they enter the car.

Many new cars come with a remote starter already installed. It is possible, however, to buy a remote starter for an older car and either install it yourself or hire an expert to do it. This is possible for many makes and models of Toyota, and remote starters can be purchased in an auto parts store, or online via websites like eBay. Before buying a starter, however, it is important to be fully aware of how starters work and what kind of starter is the best fit for your Toyota.

How Remote Starters Work

For the most part, remote starters require that a device is placed in the starting mechanism of a car. This device is activated with a remote, usually similar to the transmitter, that comes with many cars and allows the driver to unlock doors. In cars that have a factory-installed remote starter, these transmitters are one and the same. For people who have a remote starter installed in a car that did not have one originally, their existing transmitter can be adapted to include the remote starter mechanism. It is also possible to simply have two transmitters, but most people find this to be awkward.

Types of Transmitters

In the case of an individual who wants to use his existing transmitter to start the car remotely, it is impossible to add additional buttons. For this reason, these transmitters are usually modified to make it possible to start the car remotely by pressing the lock button three times. A variation on this requires the user to press lock, then unlock, and then lock a second time to start the car.

Using an existing transmitter is helpful for those who do not wish to have multiple keychains. However, most transmitters used to unlock a car have a fairly short range of 30 metres or less. This can be frustrating when the purpose of being able to remotely start a car is to do so from inside of an office or other distant location.

Single Button Transmitters

Single button transmitters are those specially designed to work with a remote starter. Unlike transmitters used for unlocking, single button transmitters generally have a much longer range. A single button remote starter usually starts the car when the button is pressed twice. This makes it easier to avoid accidents when the button is pressed while inside a purse or pocket.

Three Button Transmitters

Some remote starters come with a three button transmitter. In many cases, this is the best of both worlds, as it has a button dedicated to the remote starter, and two other buttons that allow the user to lock or unlock their car from a distance. Three button transmitters must be programmed to work with a specific vehicle, but they offer much longer range than factory transmitters. The only disadvantage to a three button transmitter is that they do not include additional buttons. This means that those who frequently use their transmitter to open the boot of their car may have to do so manually.

Installing a Remote Starter

Installing a remote starter can be quite difficult, especially with newer vehicles. This is because newer vehicles typically have many features that are designed to create greater security. While these cars are more secure, these features may interfere with the proper functions of a remote starter.

Computer Chips

Many cars made after the year 2000, including Toyotas, feature a computer chip as a part of the ignition key. Each car is designed only to start if the appropriate chip is placed in the ignition. If this is the case, it is much more difficult to install a remote starter. While a remote starter can do everything necessary to get the engine started, it still should not start until that computer chip is in place.

One of the only ways to use a remote starter with a computer chip is to take a chip from a key and have it placed in the ignition permanently when the remote starter is installed. This means that you can be without at least one key and your car may be less secure than it was before. A simpler option is for a shop to replicate your keys, then use one of those chips in your ignition.

Keyless Ignition

Some cars are equipped with keyless ignition, which means that the car can be started with the push of a button mounted inside the car. This type of ignition system is quite similar to a remote starter, but installing a remote starter is quite complex. High-end mechanics can do it, but they do need to make use of a data module. This is the same device that allows a shop to replicate a key with a computer chip. Keep in mind, the use of this machine can drive costs up somewhat.


In many cases, remote starters are equipped with fail-safes that help make a car more secure, even if the engine is running. One of these is found in the starters made by the Toyota corporation. This fail-safe should shut off the engine when the doors are opened. This prevents anyone from breaking into a car and then driving away because the engine is on.

Hood Pin Switch

The hood pin switch is a fail-safe that most installers should require be put in. The hood pin switch basically ensures that the engine cannot be started remotely if the bonnet of a car is open. This prevents mechanics and others working on the car from injury or worse if the engine starts while they are working under the bonnet.

Vehicle Run Time

Most remote starters do not allow the engine to be run indefinitely. This is to prevent accidents wherein someone or a child could engage the remote starter and leave the car running until it runs out of fuel. Of course, the vehicle run time fail-safe does not engage if the car is being driven. The timer only applies to cars that are left with their engines running for long periods of time.

Buying a Remote Starter for a Toyota on eBay

Toyota owners are lucky in that along with remote starters made by Toyotas, they can also use remote starters made by other companies. When it has been determined what type of remote starter is going to be the best bet for an individual vehicle, it can easily be found on eBay. The best way to find a remote starter is to simply use the search bar. This search bar can be accessed through any eBay page, and a multitude of search terms can bear results. For a simple search, 'Toyota remote starter' should do. More advanced searches can include the names of companies that manufacture remote starters.

Be Thorough

While many remote starters may claim to work with Toyotas, it is helpful to be thorough and do a bit of research in order to make certain that this is indeed the case. It is also helpful to read the product description closely in order to learn about a product's history, or if there are any defects or damage to be aware of. It is also possible to ask sellers questions. Learning everything possible about a product before buying can go a long way towards allowing you to make a confident purchase.


A remote starter is a remarkable device that can make it much easier for those who live in extreme climates to drive in safety and comfort. Toyota vehicles are easily compatible with remote starters, and in fact, Toyota makes remote starters themselves. When buying a remote starter, it is important to be aware of what kind of starter would work best. Some people only want one transmitter keychain in their pocket or purse, so it is necessary to either make use of an existing keychain or buy one that can be programmed to work with a specific car.

It is also possible to add a single button transmitter keychain to a set of keys without creating too much additional weight. There are a number of factors that can make installing a remote starter more difficult, including features that are designed to make a car more secure. When installing a remote starter in a newer car, it is helpful to find reliable professional help in order to combat these problems. With the right help and the right information, buying a remote starter for your Toyota is simple and easy when using eBay.

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