Dear Car Talk:
I am hoping to install a remote-start system in my 2012 Audi A4. It’s actually an anniversary gift for my husband.
Anyway, I worry about getting it installed and then having electrical issues with the car later on.
We bought the car used from a dealership if that helps at all. — Mary
Must be your 11th wedding anniversary, Mary; that’s the remote-starter anniversary. If you want to get a jump on next year, I think 12 is the velour seat covers.
If it’s professionally installed, Mary (I’d avoid the guys in the supermarket parking lots), you shouldn’t have any future electrical issues. These things have been around for a while now, and they work pretty well.
One option is to find a reputable car stereo and alarm place. Almost all shops that install alarms also sell and install remote-starter kits. The problem is that stereo and alarm shops really run the gamut in terms of quality of work. So you need to do your homework.
You’ll want to spend some time online, reading reviews of area alarm and stereo shops, and see if you can find one in your area that seems to have an excellent reputation.
It would be even better to get a professional recommendation. If you have a regular mechanic you really like, ask him which alarm shop he trusts in the area.
Or you could call your Audi dealership and tell them what you’re hoping to do. Ask the folks at the parts department or service department if they have an alarm company in the area that they recommend.
They may tell you that they do alarm and remote-starter work. Using the dealer would be a pretty good way to ensure that the work is done correctly. Or if it isn’t done correctly for some reason, at least you’ll know where to find them and get it corrected. Dealerships can’t close up and move quickly.
It’s also possible that your dealer “subcontracts” this kind of work out to an alarm shop. If they do, they may not want to share the name of the shop, since you could then go there directly and eliminate the $100 markup that the dealership tacks on. If that’s the case, you’ll have to use the dealership and pay a little more, or rely on your other research.
But it’s not a complicated job for a conscientious, professional installer, Mary. And if worse comes to worst, they’ll set the car on fire, and your husband’s anniversary present will be a brand-new Audi A4. Happy anniversary.
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