By Cristel Mohrman

Remote car starters can be convenient, especially on really cold or hot days. You can use them to heat up or cool off your car before you get into it so you can have a more pleasant ride. But are there any safety concerns associated with using a remote car starter?

Factors like theft, accidental starting and fumes may all be worries if you aren’t familiar with these devices. Most remote car starters have built-in safety features to prevent some of these incidents, but being extra careful is always a good idea. To get more out of your remote ignition system with less risk, follow these remote car starter safety tips.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Remote car starters trigger your car to idle, which releases exhaust. The Environmental Defense Fund notes vehicle exhaust is bad for your health and increases air pollution. Among the toxins in exhaust is carbon monoxide, which, if inhaled, can be dangerous, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To help keep your family safe from vehicle fumes while your car is idling, Businessweek says you should make sure the car is outside before starting it remotely. This will help prevent toxic gases from accumulating in the building. When away from home and on busy streets, Businessweek says it is best not to use the remote starter, as not only will it add pollution, but could cost you money since some municipalities have ordinances prohibiting unattended cars from idling on public roads.

Consider Safety Features

Depending on the vehicle or after-market remote starter you choose, different safety features may be included in the system. For example, Businessweek notes that many starters have automatic door locks that engage when the car is remotely started so no one can enter without the key, which reduces the likelihood of theft. Other remote starters will shut the car off after 10 minutes if there is no key in the ignition, according to the Star Tribune. Businessweek says other safety features you may want to look for when purchasing a remote starter include:

  • Having to press and hold a combination of buttons on the remote to avoid accidental starting.
  • Safeguards that monitor the mechanics of the vehicle and stop the engine when there’s a mechanical failure or problem.
  • Hood-hinge cutoff switches that disable the remote system if the hood is popped. This prevents the vehicle from starting when someone is working under the hood.
  • A system reset that turns off the engine when someone taps the brakes. This can prevent a child or thief from driving away, as the engine will stay off until it is turned back on with the key.

Having a remote car starter can make traveling in the extremes a little easier. If you use one, remember these tips to help keep you and your car safe.

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