Do Remote-Start Devices Work with Manual Transmissions?

On cold winter mornings or hot summer days, remote-starting a vehicle’s engine is the best way to ensure that a vehicle is perfectly heated or cooled. Remote starters safely start a vehicle’s engine by simulating the presence of the vehicle’s key within the vehicle.

While the engine is running, the vehicle’s A/C or heating units are activated, bringing the cabin temperature to the driver’s preferred level of comfort. Most importantly, remote starters are safe, as the vehicle cannot be put into the gear without the presence of the actual key.

While remote starters are widely available for most vehicles, there is a commonly held perception that manual-transmission are not remote start-friendly. There are a couple explanations for this perception:

  1. “You can’t start a car without your foot on the clutch.”
  2. “Your car could start moving if it is left in gear or if the parking brake fails.”
  3. “Somebody can steal your car while the engine is remote-started.”

remote start for manual transmission

All of these concerns are valid, which is why most OEM and aftermarket manufacturers do not produce remote starters for manual-transmission vehicles. However, stick-shift drivers are not out of luck.

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Compustar, a brand of aftermarket remote starters made by Firstech, offers solutions for over 90 percent of vehicles on the road, including manual transmissions. These solutions center around the company’s CM7-Series control modules, which address each of the concerns mentioned above.

Compustar remote starters simulate the clutch pedal to remotely start the engine.

When installing a Compustar remote starter on a manual-transmission vehicle, an additional clutch bypass connection is required. This connection simulates the electronic signal produced by the clutch pedal, normally a ground signal sent to the vehicle’s ignition system. This allows the engine to be remote-started even without the driver’s foot on the clutch.

Compustar remote starters won’t start your vehicle unless it’s absolutely safe.

In order to remote-start a manual-transmission vehicle, the driver must activate reservation mode. The purpose of reservation mode is to confirm that the vehicle is safe to remote-start. Reservation mode can be activated by doing all of the following:

  • Fully securing the emergency brake;
  • Pulling the key from the ignition. The engine will continue to run, confirming that reservation mode is in the process of being activated;
  • Exit the vehicle. Shortly thereafter, the engine will shut off, confirming that reservation mode has been set.

If any of the doors in the vehicle are reopened after activating reservation mode, reservation mode will be cancelled, preventing the vehicle from being remote-started. The reason for this is that someone-for example, a child-reenters a vehicle after it has been put into reservation mode, there is the slight chance that the parking brake may be disengaged. Thus, Compustar systems will only remote-start the engine if it is 100-percent safe.

Do Remote-Start Devices Work with Manual Transmissions? | THE SHOP

As an additional failsafe, Compustar remote start systems installed onto manual-transmission vehicles require an FT-DAS security sensor. This sensor has a built-in accelerometer that will immediately shut off your remote starter if it detects forward movement without the presence of the actual key inside of the vehicle.

Vehicles can’t be driven while remote started without the vehicle’s original key.

Key takeover is a feature of all Compustar remote starter systems that ensures that a vehicle cannot be driven without the physical presence of the actual key or fob. If the brake pedal is pressed to put the vehicle into gear, the system will detect whether or not the key is present inside of the vehicle. If not, the engine will immediately shut off.

Key takeover protects your vehicle from theft in the event of a break-in during remote start.

Compustar remote starters are the safest solutions for manual-transmission vehicles. This is possible because of the additional safety features that Firstech has built into the company’s CM7-Series control modules. While these additional safety features may result in a $50-$100 added fee on remote start installation, stick-shift drivers will find that investment to be well worth it when they can remote-start their vehicle with confidence and peace of mind.

To learn more about Compustar remote starters, or Firstech’s smartphone-connected solution for remote start, DroneMobile, please visit www.compustar.com.

Jef White

Jef White is the executive editor of THE SHOP magazine.

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