Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Start Me Up!

As our first big snowfall of the season accumulates outside, I'm reminded of the joys of my garage. With the Green Monster tucked safely away in storage, the Blue Devil is free to get cozy in its new home just downstairs.

Were it not for this situation, I'd once again be pining for a remote start system. I've always wanted one, and since I bought a car with an automatic transmission, it's more of a reality than ever before. But one major obstacle still remains--aside from cost. That's the car's immobilizer system.

Modern cars (except for some cheap Chrysler products) all have immobilizer chips embedded in the ignition key. If you hotwire the car, it'll start up, but then sense that the chip isn't around, and shut right back down. I can only imagine how car thieves are attempting to get around this.

What it means for aftermarket remote start systems, though, is that in order for them to work, a key needs to be permanently installed in the car so it'll start up even when you're inside the house. Obviously this makes the immobilizer system useless, which in turn increases the likelihood that your car will get jacked.

The answer to this issue is factory-installed remote start systems. GM has been offering these on their cars for years, with nicely integrated buttons right on the key fob.

Well, Ford announced a few days ago that they would finally begin offering the feature for 2011. I really wish more manufacturers would follow suit, but I guess I'll always be waiting for the next big thing to get to my car of choice, like Bluetooth streaming audio and voice recognition. Here's to wishin!

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