Black Ridge Customs
Customizing and Accessorizing Your Cars  Since 1998
Bringing you the best Keyless Entry Systems, Shaved Door Handle Kits, Car Alarms, Remote Car Starters, Power Door Lock Kits, Power Window Kits, Power Reverse Hood Kits, Switch Kits and Automatic Transmission Computers / Controllers.


 Home  Website Policies  

Your orders are processed securely online!
Additional privacy information

Safe Surf Symbol  


Remote Car Starters Install

As always we recommend hiring a qualified professional with excellent references going back at least 3 years. Also check their BBB rating for any and I mean any problems.
The following article includes pertinent information that may cause you to reconsider what you thought you understood. The most important thing is to study with an open mind and be willing to revise your understanding if necessary.

NOTE: The information on this sheet is provided to you on an "as is" basis with no representation or warranty of accuracy whatsoever. It is the sole responsibility of the installer to check and verify any circuit before connecting to it. Only a computer safe logic probe or digital multi-meter should be used. Black Ridge and/or any other associated or unassociated individual or corporation who furnishes this document assumes absolutely no liability or responsibility whatsoever pertaining to the accuracy or currency of the information supplied. The installation in each and every case is the sole responsibility of the installer performing the work and/or any other associated or unassociated individual or corporation assumes no liability or responsibility whatsoever resulting from any type of installation, whether performed properly, improperly or in any other way. The information supplied is a guide only.

The following information is provided as a reference guide for remote starter installation. We will discuss the most common characteristics of the wires you must locate and connect to in the vehicle for this type of installation. As always, we recommend that you use a digital voltmeter to perform all wire tests. Test lights can seriously damage vehicles on board computers and cost you big MONEY. We also recommend that all wiring connections be soldered to assure a solid lasting connection. (eventually most non-soldered connections will come loose) Avoid routing any wires near any sharp objects under the dashboard, pay special attention to wires routed through the firewall. Split looming is a good idea for wires running through the engine compartment, if you don't have any available to you, taping the full length of the wire will also add some protection. Tape the junctions where wire leaves and enters the split loom. Rubber grommets are best for new holes in the firewall

Before getting started
When a customer's vehicle enters your installation bay you should take a few moments to give it the once over. Check all the switches and systems in the vehicle as well as the exterior lights to make sure that they are working properly and report any defect to the customer before beginning your installation. In the case of a remote starter installation you should also listen to the engine to make sure that it is running properly.

Ignition switch wiring
The major connections for your remote starter are done at the key switch, IGNITION, ACCESSORY, STARTER and in most cases POWER. These wires are usually easy to find, coming off the vehicle's ignition switch. These wires are typically large in gauge however; they can be small gauges as some cars use these wires to control remote relays for all the vehicles operations instead of the wires themselves.

Power wire
The power wire for your car starter should be connected either directly at the battery or to the wire that supplies power to the vehicle's ignition switch. Some vehicle's have more than one wire supplying the key switch but may be fused differently. A good example of this is the dodge intrepid, there are 2 constant power wires at the ignition switch, both are the same gauge, RED & PINK/BLACK. The RED wire is fused at 20 amps and the PINK/BLACK is fused at 40 amps, connecting a remote starters power lead to the RED wire would eventually result in a blown fuse as most remote car starters draw much more than 20 amps. If your remote car starter has 2 power wires you can connect 1 power wire to each of the vehicles power wires. Determine which one is used to supply the accessory output and connect that wire to the power wire that can handle the higher load.
You may also consider a hidden motorcycle battery for those more exotic installations. Use a high power diode circuit to bleed voltage in to charge the little battery but not allow the current to go back to the source. This way if the main battery is disabled by the thieves then the alarm and some other functions will still work. I think particularly about the 2 - way alarms that notify the owner in case of problems.

Ignition wire
This wire supplies power to the vehicle's ignition system and fuel pump, it shows between 10 and 14 volts with the key in the RUN and CRANK positions of the key switch. Some vehicles have more than one ignition wire; all ignition wires should be connected when installing a remote starter. Use relays for connecting additional ignition wires.

Second Ignition wire
Some vehicles have more than one ignition wire; all ignition wires should be connected when installing a remote starter. Use relays for connecting additional ignition wires. This Second ignition wires must be connected to an additional relay and can not be tied in with the original ignition wire. Just connect the new relay using the first ignition relay negative trigger wire and connect the B+ to a known good 12V source.

Accessory wire
This wire supplies power to the vehicle's blower and heater/Ac controls. It shows between 11.5v and 14v with the key in the ACCESSORY and RUN positions of the key switch. Some vehicles have multiple accessory wires to control all the heater and a/c functions. If it is necessary to connect a second accessory wire, use a relay!

Starter wire
This wire supplies power to the starter solenoid to crank the engine. It shows between 11.5v and 14v with the key in the START position of the key switch. Many of today's vehicles have a second starter wire which control a sensor that help starting in cold weather, this wire should always be connected. If it is necessary to connect more than 1 starter wire, use a relay!

Once you begin to move beyond basic background information, you begin to realize that there's more to remote car starters than you may have first thought.

Parking light wire
The wire that supplies voltage to the vehicle's parking lights can usually be found at the vehicle's light switch or in the harness of wires going to the rear of the vehicle. This wire shows voltage when the parking lights are turned on. Some vehicles have independent left and right parking light wires. Diodes will be needed to isolate the 2 wires from each other. Some Volkswagen cars need to have the parking light wire isolated from the light switch or the wipers and heater will come on when voltage is applied to the park light wire.

Brake wire
This wire can be found at the switch harness above the brake pedal, it shows between 11.5v and 14v when the brake pedal is depressed. This wire can also be found in the harness going to the rear of the vehicle or at the brake light itself.

Ground wire
Proper connection of your ground wire is essential for your car starter to function properly as it relies as much on this wire as it does on the Tachometer wire to start the vehicle properly and read tachometer pulses. This wire should always be connected to a clean unpainted metal surface in the kick panel or firewall. Grounding directly at the battery terminal is not recommended.

Tachometer wire
Your remote starter requires a tachometer reference signal to monitor when the vehicle has started so it can disengage the starter. The vehicle's tachometer reference wire can usually be found on the engine distributor or coil pack or at the ECM (power control module) or PCM (power control module). References to these modules are often found in Wire Magic. First look for the vehicle's ignition coil or coil pack by following the spark plug wires (if possible) to where they junction together at a distributor. You can usually located a small wire harness at this location were a tachometer reference can be found. If the distributor appears to be supplied via a spark plug wire from another module this will be the coil and will also have a tachometer reference wire. A fuel injector is also a source of tachometer pulses, however this provides a signal for only 1 cylinder so make sure the car starter you are installing can be programmed for this setting. Tachometer reference can almost always be found at the vehicle's computer but this is not always easy to access, see the vehicle's data sheet for the recommended tachometer wire and location.

Factory security
Most factory installed security systems can be disarmed by turning the key in the driver's door to the unlock position. In these cases there will be a wire coming from the door that can be pulsed to shut the security down and allow the vehicle to start without tripping the factory alarm system, this wire can usually be located in the kick panel. If the security system does not disarm with the key, check the vehicle's owner's manual or e-mail us on the vehicle you are working on.

Passive anti-theft systems
Some vehicle's are equipped anti-theft systems that are based on security against tampering with the ignition switch and hot wiring of the vehicle such as GM's Passkey/V.a.t.s, Passkey 3, Passlock I, Passlock II or Ford P.A.T.S similar systems found on other makes and models.

Always make all your connections before installing you main power fuse and be sure to program and test all functions properly before closing up your installation.

In closing Use tie wraps or screw down type cable containment to properly secure the starter module and keep the wiring away from any moving parts such as parking brakes or steering column shafts. Mount any switches in a good accessible location where they won't get kicked or hit accidentally.

Take the time to properly explain all functions and features to the customer before they leave the premises. Most comebacks are the result of misunderstandings about how a product works or performs. Doing this will save time and money.

Those who only know one or two facts about remote car starters can be confused by misleading information. The best way to help those who are misled is to gently correct them with the truths you're learning here.

You may be a Do It Yourselfer but we recommend trained professional installers for these types of jobs.

I do know that installing remote car starters is very technical and you really don't want to mess up doing it. Newer cars have all kinds of critical things like airbags and anti-theft devices that if interfered with can render the car inoperable. You will want very good wiring diagrams for your car at the very least. The folks at may be able to help you here if you are determined to do it yourself.

  • compare remote car starters
    Compare Remote Car Starters We looked all over and could not find one single source of unbiased comparisons for any remote car starters. Every source we found was selling them or linking to someone...
  • programming methods
    Remote starter programming methods Programming Method Type A When no other working key for the car is available: Type A 1. Put the newly cut Master key into...
  • Remote Starter Info
    Remote Starters Remote Starters are becoming more and more common. They are really convenient for people who do not park their car in a garage. With the push of a button, the car can be...
  • remote starter nonsense
    remote car starters The following article lists some simple, informative tips that will help you have a better experience with remote starters. Aftermarket remote start systems for cars seem very...
  • stupid remote starter
    remote car starters When you think about remote starters, what do you think of first? Which aspects of remote starters are important, which are essential, and which ones can you take or leave? You be...



Shaved Door Handles
2 Door Shaved Door Handle Kits
4 Door Shaved Door Handle Kits
Auto Articles
Information Center