Start Me Up

April 2015 Products Jeffrey V. Shirts

The history of the remote starter might be up to debate about who first created the idea, patented the technology—or didn’t patent the technology—and when it first started emerging into the market. However, whatever the complicated history of these devices might be, there is no denying that over the course of the last two to three decades the remote starter has emerged as one of the most desired and sought after improvements for most automobile owners.

Through the years remote starters have overcome a plethora of diverse complications and problems imposed by government regulation, automotive innovation, and consumer distrust. Early versions of the remote starter relied on transmitter and receivers built upon walkie-talkie technology, with some starters utilizing Rube Goldberg contraptions dreamt and designed by Wile E. Coyote innovators and his ACME ilk. However, with the advent and integration of internal computing and monitoring of automobiles, remote starters have become more practical, less zany, and ultimately more desired in all types of cars, especially those found in cool and cold climates.

Today most remote starters resemble remote locking and unlocking mechanisms, built upon similar secure transmissions interfacing with electronics and onboard computers. This new technology not only allows automobile owners the luxury of starting their car before they enter the vehicle, it has also advanced to the point where they are able to delay-start diesel engines, thus making them useful and utile for diesel owners as well.

Cranking A Diesel

After remote starter innovators overcame the initial hurtles as the technology offered both convenience and security to the automobile owner, these companies undertook the challenge of the diesel delayed start. Unlike gasoline-powered engines, a diesel engine typically requires an ignition delay before cranking. This delay is necessary for the atomization, vaporization, and mixing of air and fuel in the engine, and because of chemical delay attributed to pre-combustion reactions in the diesel engine.

Delay-starting of diesel engines is particularly important in colder areas, as diesel engines ignite fuel through the heat resulting from the compression of the air in the engine, therefore it is necessary to delay-start the engine to save from hard, noisy, dirty, and fuel inefficient starts. While starting a diesel engine in a loud and dirty fuel burn may appeal to some diesel owners, for those living in a city or with neighbors within earshot, this might be a cause for concern.

The problem for the remote starters, therefore, was developing a remote starter that predictably warmed up the engine without unwanted and unnecessary noise and pollution. In addition, people who want to have remote diesel starters are those who live in colder climates. It became apparent that research into the remote starter industry is necessary to ensure that a remote starter performs the desired function in the necessary sequence.

Today there are numerous models of diesel remote starters available on the market; however, after thorough research it becomes apparent that there are only four major manufacturers of diesel delayed starters. Before purchasing a delayed remote starter for a diesel engine we recommend taking the time to learn about the different manufacturers and selecting the product that will meet all needs and desires.


AstroStart offers a full range of two-way remote starters with security options similar to CompuStar and Viper; however, they separate themselves from their competitors by offering a streamlined product free of the clutter and optional features of other remote starter companies and brands. Offering the functionality to lock, unlock, and remote start any diesel, there is no feature offered by their competitors that they are unable to match. Further, like Viper, they have developed Smartphone apps to ensure the owners of 2-way Remote Starter have complete control over their systems and vehicles without actually being physically present in them.

Offering a more simplistic and streamlined product, the AstroStart Remote Starters are the least intrusive and cluttered of the different remote starters. This increases their portability without adding to the bulk and weight to a keychain, making them ideal for transportation in pockets everywhere. Further, with optional Smartphone app integration the need for any bulky extra electronics dangling from key chains is removed entirely.

As with any integrated electronic security system, it is necessary to install any security and remote starting system professionally. (800-361-7271/


Audiovox is a commercial manufacturer of consumer products, including cameras, tablets and docking stations, DVD players, and more. Audiovox also manufactures automotive products including over mobile video systems, headrest video systems, car alarms and security, and remote starters. Unlike other manufacturers featured in this list, Audiovox does not offer a range of different models, instead focusing on one model: the AS9234.

The Audiovox remote starter offers standard features, including on-board relay for flashing parking lights, accessory and heater relay, and Smartphone app support. It is important to note that the features and options of the Audiovox are straightforward and lacking customization, making this one of the simplest remote starters on this list. Cost of installation and purchase subject to individual installers. (800-252-6123/


Firstech, LLC., the parent company of Compustar, was founded in 1998 and is a pioneer in the aftermarket automotive security and remote start industry. Brands that fall under the umbrella of Firsttech, LLC., include CompuStar Pro, CompuStar, DroneMobile, Mercedes Remote Starters, NuStart, Arctic Start, and iDatalink.

For diesel engines CompuStar manufactures several two-way Remote Starters that are necessary for diesel engines to properly start. Several models boast an incredible range of one mile. CompuStar two-way Remote Starters offers are available in a range of different models, including impressive visual LCD and LED displays on the remote starter to alert the diesel owner of the condition of the vehicle as it ignites and cranks.

CompuStar two-way Remote Starters are also programmable to start diesels automatically when the temperature drops to preset temperatures. This is to ensure the chamber does not become excessively cold and more difficult to start when needed. This feature is especially useful in areas where the temperature regularly drops below freezing and the use and need of a dependable vehicle is required.

two-way Remote Starters are equipped to start manual transmissions, prime, and prevent turbos from excessive wear and more. Additionally, several models of CompuStar Two-way Remote Starters feature standard security measures, including locking and unlocking the vehicle, and a panic button. Cost and installation of the CompuStar 2-WAY 9000 will vary. (888-820-3690/

Sonic Electronix

Excalibur Remote Starters are part of the Sonic Electronix brand. The Sonic Electronix brand specializes in car electronics, marine audio, headphones, and home audio including portables. With a heavy emphasis in sound and audio products, presentation is a major concern of the company.

Excalibur two-way Remote Starters offer features common to all diesel remote starters, including an impressive operating range and keyless entry. To protect the wear on the engine, Excalibur Remote Starters include a built-in turbo timer, runtime extender, low volt auto-start, is compatible with manual transmission vehicles, and includes remote low temperature auto-start to ensure easier ignitions in cold temperatures.

Cost of the Excalibur Remote Starter and installation will depend on a variety of factors. (877-289-7664/


Viper is known throughout the industry as one of the most innovative vehicle security and remote-start brands. Integrating mobile Smartphone technology and software, Viper combines their system with your Smartphone to offer a wide range of features and benefits directly at the owner’s fingertips. Compatible with iPhones, Droids, BlackBerries, and Windows Smartphones, Viper has developed and released apps for all of the major Smartphone brands in use today.

As is typical of diesel remote starters, diesel engines require a two-way system for remote starting. Different models of the Viper two-way include the SmartStart System, LCD two-way, LED two-way, and a Value two-way to fit any budget.

Features of the Viper SmartStart System, which uses Smartphones, include: virtually unlimited range; four aux channels; Viper SmartKey to lock and unlock vehicles; audio sensors to detect if the integrity of the windshield or windows are compromised; digital tilt motion sensors in case a vehicle is towed without the owner knowing; backup battery systems to sound an alarm if the primary battery is disconnected; and other security and safety features. Professional installation required; therefore, costs may vary. (800-753-0800/


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