There has been a lot of buzz on the internet about remote start and gas usage. Some people say that start uses less gas, and some folks say that remote start actually burns more gas. Which one is it? Eager to find out more about this problem, I cleared my afternoon and did some research. Does remote start use more gas? Read on to find more.
Does Remote Start Use More Gas?
A remote start doesn’t use more gas than a regular start, it is the idling that actually burns more fuel. It takes around 1.2 to 1.5 milliliters to start a vehicle and then around 105 grams or 0.027 gallons (3.7 oz) of gas for just ten minutes of idling. While remote start can be beneficial, especially in the winter months when you start your vehicle without physically being in it, you will burn a lot more gas for idling.
A remote starter is a device that will start your vehicle’s engine without the physical presence of your vehicle’s key. The benefits of a remote starter are all about comfort and convenience. On a cold winter morning, a remote starter will warm the inside of your vehicle, defrost the windows, or melt any ice or snow on the roof of the car. In order to do this, a remote start module or system has to be installed in your vehicle.
Although the remote start is very convenient, your vehicle will actually burn more fuel while idling. It takes the same amount of fuel to start a car, regularly or with a remote start. However, it is idling that burns a lot of fuel. Let’s say you remote start your vehicle and you only intend to let it run for about a minute or just so the engine can warm up.
But then you get caught up with something in the house and you let your vehicle idle for about ten to twenty minutes. A standard four-cylinder engine will burn about 105 grams (0.027 gallons – 3.7 oz) of fuel every ten minutes or 0.630 grams/0.166 gallons for an hour.
Personally, I would be very cautious of using remote start as gas prices are skyrocketing. I would only use it in the winter months when it’s too cold to wait inside the car while the engine warms up.
Does Remote Start Use Gas or Battery?
The remote start uses both gas and battery to start up your vehicle. It is going to use the same amount of gas and electrical power as if you were starting the car with the key. The remote start technology consists of a start module or system that has to be installed in your vehicle. This module uses a technology called clone to mimic your vehicle’s key signal.
The remote start uses the same amount of gas and electrical power to start a vehicle as a regular start up.
Basically, the gas and electrical consumption required to start a vehicle are the same. The remote start only mimics the signal of your key. Therefore, it tricks your vehicle’s computer into thinking that the physical key is present.
The actual remote transmitter uses a battery. Depending on which remote start you will select for your vehicle, you will either get a USB rechargeable remote or a one with batteries built in it.
On an average four-cylinder vehicle it takes about 250 amps to be drawn for three seconds and 1.2 milliliters of gas for a vehicle to start. This amount of electrical power and gas is required regardless if you use a remote start or you physically start your vehicle with the original key. Once your vehicle is started, it will continue to idle with the presets that you have selected.
Most people use the remote start to warm up or cool down the vehicle’s cabin. I mean, it is the very reason why remote starters have been invented in the first place. You get up, it is freezing outside and you have to go to work. You remote start your vehicle and you select defrost. Easy peasy.
How Do Remote Starters Work
Remote starters work in a way that they mimic your actual vehicle’s key. They trick the vehicle into thinking that the original key is present in the vehicle. For this, the remote starter requires a control module to be installed into your vehicle and connected to the vehicle’s computer.
The control module also has a piece of hardware called a bypass module. It enables the starting of the vehicle without triggering any factory security systems that your vehicle might have.
So, with the hardware installed into your vehicle and connected to the main computer, the vehicle thinks that both you and the key are present in the vehicle. The car will start without no issues. However, the remote start has a safety feature. Let’s say that you start your vehicle from your bedroom window while you are still getting ready for work.
But, somehow, someone has seen that your vehicle is running and no one is inside. If someone gains access to your vehicle (which can be locked from the remote transmitter); the vehicle will shut down as soon as they press the gas pedal. This happens if the original key is not present in the vehicle.
There are a lot of remote starter packages on the market. Some of them are one way which basically tells your car to start up and that’s it. You don’t get a confirmation that your vehicle has started. There are also two-way remote starters where you get a confirmation back that your vehicle is up and running.
The best feature that most car owners like is the actual distance from where you can start your vehicle. I browsed a lot of remote start websites and I found that the 3000 feet distance is the greatest one. Imagine starting your vehicle from half a mile away. How cool is that?
Can Remote Start Damage Alternator
If your vehicle doesn’t have a factory remote start and you install an aftermarket model, if the installation of the remote start isn’t done correctly, it can cause damage to the alternator, the car’s battery, or the electrical system. However, a factory-installed remote start won’t cause any damage to the alternator.
Installing an aftermarket remote start on your vehicle requires connecting the control module of the remote start with your vehicle’s ignition wiring. There are a lot of wires that run through the wires that you will be working on. Installing a remote starter can be quite difficult and that is why it is not recommended as a DIY project.
If you or the person that you got to install the remote start on your vehicle misplaced even one wire, or doesn’t wrap the exposed wires, this can most definitely lead to a short and could cause damage to the alternator, starter, and the battery.
This is why you have to be very careful and always go to a professional. I know it can be a little bit pricier, but it is completely worth it.