I'm looking for an inexpensive autostart. Preferably something that can be installed easily without service help. Winter temperature is usually 5-15F during the day. I need a long-range autostart, preferrably 1-mile. There are millions of autostarts out there and I'm not really sure what to look for while shopping. What is a good brand? 2-way or 1-way? How hard is the installation?

The car is a 2001 Dodge stratus if it matters.

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    One mile? You'll probably have to get your amateur radio license and customize something if you want that kind of distance. – Jeff Ferland Oct 11 '11 at 20:06
  • okay. Maybe not 1 mile. But I've seen they sell $199 1-mile autostart. Basically, I'm located on 6 floor of the building and car is parked 300-500 feet from the building. It would be nice if I could start my ar right from the office without the need to go to first floor or something. – user194076 Oct 11 '11 at 20:55
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    bear in mind that radio systems work best with a clear line-of-sight, so you'd probably get a better range from the 6th floor than the first as there will be less things in the way (especially if you can see your car from your window) – Nick C Oct 12 '11 at 8:36
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    Note that many "high E" windows in buildings will do a very effective job of blocking RF. I've noticed that some buildings I can't unlock my car through the windows, even if it's right outside. – Sean Reifschneider Oct 13 '11 at 2:22
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    I just wanna throw out there that I have a Viper with this remote: viper.com/Images/items/Thumbnail/488V.jpg I curse the thing every day. Replacement remote, last I checked: $75 on EBay. I get about a year out of mine before they are completely hosed, but they start falling apart after only a couple months. I only get a year with solder and tape added. – quentin-starin Oct 13 '11 at 21:37

Newer cars have an Immobilizer which requires the key to be in the vehicle to start it. The after-factory starters for them tend to require that you mount a key in the car to bypass the immobilizer, which of course makes the car easier to steal... I would expect your Stratus to have an immobilizer, this page says they were equipped from 1998 onwards, but it sounds like it is an immobilizer bypass: Remote start bypass applications

If you want long range, I would think you want a two-way, because then you can be sure that it's started.

Then you pretty much just need to pick one of the available remote kits. I know there are a lot of them out there, but you just need to take a look at the ones with the features you want and pick. :-) Maybe try a search for what other Stratus owners have had luck with? I liked the look of the results searching google for: stratus "remote start"

If you aren't going to install it, you probably want to pick your installer, and they'll have ones that they prefer to work on and can make recommendations based on that.

Personally, after looking at the available options, I decided to just forget the remote start. I didn't like having to bypass the immobilizer...

  • I'd consider bypassing the immobilizer a plus; after doing that you can make duplicate keys for $5 instead of $150 anytime you like. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Oct 15 '11 at 4:26
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    Sure, but it also means that someone with $1 for a key blank and a little time with a file can make a sawtooth key that will open and start your car. Mechanical keys are NOT secure, which is why the industry has been going with immobilizers. Even Medco high-security locks aren't secure because of the mechanics, they're secure largely because the patents on the mechanical tweaks means that they control it so you can't buy blanks (or so says a co-worker who used to be a locksmith). – Sean Reifschneider Oct 17 '11 at 4:22

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