How to Program Your Remote Car Starter Key FOB

In 1885 when he first patented the “Benz Motorcar,” Karl Benz was focused on one thing.  He wanted to create a machine that would transport humans from point A to point B without the use of a horse, but rather “horsepower.”  A seemingly unpretentious ambition to those of us living in an age of “smart cars,” this moment in history marked a huge step forward for humankind.  Over the many years that have passed since this historical moment, engineers have taken the simple idea of a car, and turned it into something much greater than a “means of transportation.”  Nowadays, the focus is on efficiency and luxury. 

One of these luxuries is the invention of the remote-control starter.  Although the idea of starting a 2007 Mazda from the dinner table may sound compelling, it does not come without frustration.  The truth is, installing a remote-control car starter is a bit more difficult than one might imagine.

The Basics of Remote-Control Car Starters

The fundamental idea of remote control car keys is the radio signal between the key fob and the receiver unit in the car.  Most receiver units in cars have a range anywhere between 5 and 20 meters, and perform simple commands such as “lock,” “unlock,” “open trunk,” etc.

To most, these basic functions are enough, but those interested in increased functionality and flexibility must turn to the “universal remote starters” such as the Avital 4103LX.  In the most basic form, these remote starters are devices that turn older cars into interactive pieces of technology that can start themselves with a click of a button, or even remind the user that they have left their rear door open.

As cool as this may sound, any inquisitive person may wonder how it is possible to program a universal remote to a car without compromising the security of the vehicle?  Why can’t the average car thief simply purchase one of these remote starters, program it to their car of choice, and drive away into the sunset?

This is a valid question, and the answer requires one to understand the installation process of a remote starter.

How to Program a Remote Starter System for your Car

Determine the Make and Model of the Car

The very first step in programming a universal remote control car key is determining what car it is being programmed to.  If you are purchasing the car from a dealership, they will most likely provide a remote-key that is pre-programmed to the car, but for those seeking a higher level of customization, programming a starter is an unavoidable task.

Fortunately, most remote starters (and all high-quality starters) are compatible with nearly ANY car model.  Nevertheless, it is still useful to know the specific car you are working with; as each remote starter may have different procedures for different car brands/models.

The Bypass/Canbus Module

The second consideration one must make is whether the car model being programmed requires a “bypass/canbus module” to complete the installation process.  As mentioned earlier, car manufacturers don’t take the topic of security lightly, and this often leads to such advanced car security systems that a module (purchased separately from the remote starter) is required to override the existing security system.

Remember that concern about car thieves?  It turns out, car manufacturers thought about this problem long ago, and have implemented complex security systems to avert such scenarios.

The process of overriding an existing security system can be an intricate process, and often requires the manipulation of several wires in the car’s existing framework.  It may be wise to consult a trained professional for this step or check out one of many instructional videos that have been published on the web for additional guidance.


The Installation Process

Most cars follow the same general process for installing a remote starter.  Once you have overridden the existing security system (if necessary), it is time to program the remote.

As an additional security feature, most remote systems require the user to be sitting inside the car with the factory key in the “on” position.  By following the instruction manual for the remote starter, the user will then go through a series of programming steps which will effectively link the remote with the car’s receiver unit.

After a successful installation, the user will be able to perform various functions which their previous key fob could not dream of doing.  Depending on the quality of the remote starter, you could find your outdated vehicle keeping up with modern technologies without the hassle of acquiring a loan and putting a down-payment on an expensive car!


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