THE DOCTOR IS IN! REMOTE STARTER, ALARM & KEYLESS ENTRY TROUBLESHOOTING BLOG
REPORT YOUR REMOTE STARTER, KEYLESS ENTRY or ALARM PROBLEMS HERE!
Read about common and not-so-common problems experienced with remote starters, car alarms and keyless entry systems.
Having a problem with a remote starter installation? Purchased a vehicle with an existing system and having some problems with it? Need a little direction or advice? Report your situation to us and we will be happy to try to help! With 30 years of installing car alarms and remote starter systems, there's a good chance we have seen the same problem before and can provide some recommendations and/or the fix you're looking for.
TO ASK ABOUT A SITUATION YOU HAVE: CLICK-ON ENVELOPE ICON ABOVE
SITUATION: "My remote doesn’t work anymore. I replaced the battery and still no luck. Is it possible to replace them?
ANSWER: With most automotive remotes yes, it can be replaced. You just need to provide us with the FCC ID off the back of the remote with the number of buttons on the remote, or, what brand and model of the system you have installed in your vehicle, and we can assist you with what exact replacement remote you need. For phone assistance, you can call our "Tech-Direct" support line at 1-586-315-4005 M-F: 9am-7pm, Sat: 9am-5pm, and Sun: 9am-3pm, Eastern Time.
TOPIC: "I have a Prestige remote starter remote and I need to replace the battery inside but I don't see any screws on the back of it to take out? How do I take it apart?"
ANSWER: They just snap apart. If you look around the side edges of the remote you should see a small rectangular slot where you can put a small flat head screwdriver in, and then slightly twist the screwdriver clockwise which should snap that spot apart. From there, you can just use your fingernail to slide down the open slot to completely separate the back of the case away from the front.
SITUATION: "Have a new used vehicle with a Pursuit 095BPR remote start, keyless entry, and alarm system, and the system sounds the siren every time I use the remote to lock and unlock the doors. Is there an easy way to turn this off so it will silently lock and unlock the doors?"
ANSWER: Yes, on most systems that have the Prestige 095BP or the Pursuit 095BPR remotes, try turning the ignition ON (do not start the vehicle), and within 10 seconds, press and release the button that's built into the system's antenna that's commonly found mounted on the windshield in the top center on the glass directly behind the rear-view mirror, 3 times: The system will sound 2 short pulses for CHIRPS OFF. Now, just press and release the lock then the unlock button on the remote and it should stop and just silently lock and unlock the doors. If you wanted to turn them back ON, just repeat the same procedure, and the system will this time sound just 1 short pulse for CHIRPS ON. On a technical note, if for whatever reason you have to disconnect the vehicle's battery, you may have to go back and repeat this procedure after you reconnect the vehicle's battery.
PROBLEM: "I went to program the Ford remote part number 2W7Z-15K601-BA that we ordered from MotorCityRemotes.com and come to find out, the systems little programming button is broken (there's no button, just a silver piece with a hole in the middle)... is there a replacement remote programming button available? and if there is, is there any other way I can program it while I'm waiting for the new programming button to be delivered?"
ANSWER: Yes, and yes: You can order a new programming button through our website by clicking on HERE. And in the meantime, if you have a small metal eyeglass type Phillips screwdriver that fits snugly into the hole of the programming button's silver base where the hole is (where the buttons spring and button cap went in), substitute where the programming instructions say to "press & hold the programming button in" with sliding the screwdriver into the hole where the button assembly was...your simply wanting to "short" the two small brown wires that are seen running into the back of the button mounting base together...then, whenever the instructions indicate to release the button, simply remove the screwdriver...
Now, if you don't have a screwdriver that fits into the hole, you'll have to cut the wires away from the back of the programming button's mounting base and instead strip&twist them temporarily together when the programming manual indicates to "press & hold the button in"...then separate them when the programming guide indicates to "release the button".
TOPIC: "My keys were lost or stolen and they had my Code Alarm remotes on them, is there a way I can erase the remotes that were lost or stolen after I get my new set of remotes"?
ANSWER: YES! And it's easy. Code Alarm, Prestige, and Pursuit Brand systems can work with up to 4 remotes at the same time (as with most other brand name systems also). Following your specific systems remote programming procedure, if you have 2 new remotes, simply program each remote two times, if you have just one remote, program it 4 times in a row, 3 remotes...program 2 remotes once and one remote twice.
TOPIC:"How do you turn off the car's alarm when your key fob transmitter battery died?"
ANSWER: On factory-installed alarm systems, you should be able to turn off the alarm when your key FOBs are dead by turning the driver’s door key cylinder to the unlock position with a key. On aftermarket alarm systems, they have an emergency override button installed somewhere under the driver’s dash, but it's in no specific spot, it depends on the model of the vehicle and the installer's preference where he puts it. But, they are all found on the driver’s side under the dash area.
TOPIC: "Older 5 button Prestige and Pursuit model remote (example remote models: 07SP and 08SPR) not working properly after programming it to the system. After a successful programming procedure, only the LOCK button on the remote works. The UNLOCK and the remote start buttons don't do anything. And if I press the LOCK button 2 times, it will also UNLOCK the doors."
ANSWER: With the older higher-end Prestige and Pursuit systems, the newer standard Prestige and Pursuit remote programming procedure where you turn the ignition ON, press the systems valet/programming button 3 times, then press the LOCK button on the remote, and then turn the ignition OFF doesn't apply. The older systems don't have 1 button programming. They have separate channels for each button on the remote that need to be programmed independently. This is what you do: Same beginning as the 1 button programming, turn the ignition ON, press and release the systems valet/programming button 3X (the system should sound in response)...now, leaving the ignition ON, press the LOCK button on the remote, again, the system should sound in response. Next, press and release the systems valet/programming button just 1X (now you are in channel 2 programming) press the UNLOCK button on the remote and the system will sound again...now again, press and release the programming button to go to channel 3 and press the button with the TRUNK/KEY icon...and finally, press and release the programming button again to go to channel 4 and again press and release the same remotes TRUNK/KEY button: Turn the ignition OFF and now test the remote (additional buttons marked 1 and 2 are not mandatory to program).
Hope this helps!
Derek W. General Manager @MotorCityRemotes.com
PROBLEM: "I have an 06 Ford Explorer I bought used and come to find out it has a car alarm system in the vehicle and I have no remote keyless entry remotes to the vehicle. The red light on the alarm system flashes when I turn the vehicle off. Then when I try to start it now that red light flashes 1000 times and it's stopping me from starting the vehicle. On the Code Alarm module, it says CA–530. Is there somehow I can bypass the system to get my vehicle to start? Thank you.
REPLY: Just so you know, there are replacement remotes available for a CA-530 system, you can order them by clicking on HERE...If it is the system causing the vehicle not to "crank over" (because if the vehicle does crank over but doesn't start, it's not the system) you can bypass the system by putting a jumper across both the Solid PURPLE wire and the PURPLE w/RED TRACE wires coming from the center plug, then pull the 5A fuse out from under the access panel on top of the module. After this is done, if the vehicle still doesn't start, it wasn't the system preventing the vehicle from starting...it's something electrical or mechanical with the vehicle itself. By the way, a CA-530 system is not an alarm system, it's a remote starter with keyless entry and with a built-in starter-kill/anti-grind feature (which is the part of the system that could prevent the vehicle from cranking without having any remotes to the system).
TECH TIP : Also, if you don't want to totally bypass the system, or are unable to do the work, thE two thin Solid BROWN wires also coming from the center plug should lead you to a small black push-button switch at the end of them. This is the system's "new remote programming button" and the system's "emergency bypass button"...if you press and hold the button, then while still holding the button in, crank the vehicle, and it should start (again if it's the system causing the problem) then release the button after the vehicle starts. But, without getting a new remote for the system or permanently bypassing the system as indicated above, you will have to press this button every time the vehicle won't start.
TOPIC: "My Code Alarm 2-way remote will only lock and unlock my doors...and the screen on the remote keeps displaying "Zzz" on it...I think this means "sleep mode"...but I don't know how to take it out of this mode?
REPLY:Try: turn your ignition ON (do not start the vehicle), look up at the systems' antenna (which is probably mounted at the top center of the windshield on the glass behind the rearview mirror)...see if the LED light that is built into the antenna lights up solid when you turn the ignition ON (not flashing)...if it is, press and hold the button that is also built into the antenna until the LED turns OFF then release the button...now try activating the remote starter. Maybe, somehow, your system was put into valet/service mode.
QUESTION:"I'm installing a remote starter system and I have 2 wires from the system that indicate main ignition 1 and ignition 2 and I'm finding 2 wires in the ignition harness that show power when the ignition is turned on, are these the ignition wires I need to connect to and which one is the main ignition and which is the 2nd?"
ANSWER: A "main" ignition wire (or a.k.a. "true" ignition wire) is always the wire that shows NO +12VDC power as soon as you probe the wire with the ignition OFF, and then it immediately shows +12VDC power with the ignition ON and during start/crank (the +12DC power does not drop out when your turning/moving the ignition from ON to start/crank). This is a vehicle's main ignition wire. Now, many, many vehicles have 2 ignition wires that will test exactly the same as just described, meaning that the vehicle basically has 2 main ignition wires, and it would not matter which 1st or 2nd ignition output wire from the system you used to connect to the 2 ignition wires that tested the same in the vehicle. And both these wires must be connected to when installing a remote starter system or you may find that the ignition will turn on when you go to test the remote starter installation, but the vehicle either won't crank or cranks but doesn't start.
TOPIC: "I just bought a used vehicle with a Code Alarm CAT1 remote starter in it. I would like to know if there's a timer for how long the vehicle will stay started. Will the vehicle turn off after a certain amount of time or remain running until I enter the vehicle"?
ANSWER: No matter what brand or model of a remote starter system, all remote starters will automatically shut off if the vehicle is not entered within a specific amount of time...the common run time is 15 minutes. Some may run longer (or even shorter), but all of them will automatically shut down when the vehicle is not entered within the pre-programmed run time.
QUESTION: Bought a 2003 Ford Explorer with a Code Alarm system in it. The car battery died, put a new battery in, and still, the car won't start. Just makes 1 click noise but no crank no nothing...?
ANSWER: If it's clicked at the starter motor then it's not the Code Alarm module causing the problem. The system can only completely stop all power from reaching the starter motor, you wouldn't even hear a click at the starter if it was the Code Alarms built-in kill-switch. Sounds like you may have additional problems like a bad or corroded ground wire or a bad starter motor. But, always press the unlock/disarm button on the Code Alarm remote before you try to start the vehicle.
TOPIC: "I bought a vehicle that came with a code alarm CA421 remote starter installed in it and the light on the antenna does not come on and has not worked since I got the car. What should I look for or where do I start to troubleshoot it? Please help!!"
Troubleshooting and diagnosing most remote starter problems can be a long process, especially when trying to use the internet to get some answers. And most of the time it's usually not something that can be easily fixed. Even if you installed the system yourself or you're a remote starter technician, contacting professional tech support by phone is the only efficient way of diagnosing the possible causes (which can be several). And if you’re not the installer or a technician, rarely is the fix a “DIY” situation. First, you need to know the make and model of the system that is installed in the vehicle. Then not only having the proper tools on hand, which includes some type of 12VDC test probe or digital multimeter, and 90% of the time you will need to locate where in the vehicle the systems’ main control module was installed to make any of the needed tests and/or check some connections (and that's the easy part). Basically, it can get a little extensive with the troubleshooting process.
QUESTION: "My remote stopped working so I changed the batteries in it and it still won't work, so I need to know how to reprogram the remote to my remote starter system. It's a Code Alarm system that I had installed back in 2016." THX!
ANSWER: Code Alarm systems do not lose their ability to work with the system if the battery dies and you change the batteries. Matter of fact, no brand of automotive remote loses their programming after just changing the batteries in them. Unfortunately, this usually means there's something wrong with the remote and you probably need a new one.
TOPIC:"Why isn't there a plug and play remote starter kit available for my vehicle?"
ANSWER: Mainly because older vehicles', and not-so-older vehicles', have a more conventional ignition/starting circuit where the vehicles' ECM or BCM (electronic control modules) isn't totally controlling the vehicle when started...for example, after you start a vehicle with the key that has a "conventional" starting circuit, and you were to turn the ignition to the start position again while the vehicle is running, the starter motor will grind against the flywheel. On vehicles with totally controlled ECM starting systems, this would not happen because no matter how long you were to hold the ignition in the start/crank position, all your doing is sending a momentary signal to the vehicle's ECM which actually controls the starting of the vehicle. You can look at it as the conventional ignitions are "analog" and the ECM-controlled ignitions are "digital".
TOPIC:2011-2014 Ford F-150 Remote Start Programming Problem on Fortin THAR-FORT4 module: Ignition stays ON between key changes during the programming procedure:
ANSWER: In this case, disconnect the red plug from the module and go through the reset-reprogram procedure without plugging in the red connector until after the 1st key is used the 2nd time and the module confirms successful programming; door locks will cycle, and when the LED on the module is seen quickly flashing blue, turn ignition off and remove the key. Then the LED will momentarily light yellow. Now, plug in the red connector.
TOPIC:"How do Remote Starters work on a Vehicle with a Manual Transmission?"
ANSWER:First, of course, you have to have a remote starter specifically designed to be installed on a vehicle with a manual transmission. These systems have what they call a safety “remote start ready mode”…basically meaning the vehicle could not be remote started if left in gear. Then, basically, it’s installed exactly as if the vehicle had an automatic transmission with a few additional connections. Which commonly are one more connection to the vehicle’s parking brake (or e-brake), one to the vehicle's clutch activation wire, and one to the driver’s door pin-switch…How it works: While the engine is still running with the keys, after you park, you set the parking brake, put the vehicle in neutral, and then press the remote starter activation button on the systems’ remote. The vehicle’s dash lights will flash and the horn will beep once indicating that the vehicle has entered the “remote start ready mode”. Then, when you turn off the ignition and remove the keys the vehicle will remain running…then you exit the vehicle, shut the door, and press the remote start button on the remote again. This will shut down the vehicle, now the vehicle is ready to be remotely started.
TOPIC: "REMOTE TRANSMITTER NOT WORKING RIGHT, HAVE TO PRESS THE BUTTONS SEVERAL TIMES"
ANSWER:When you have to press a button on any remote several times to activate the function, and it still gives you the same problems even after putting a fresh battery in it (also if you have a 2nd remote that doesn't give you the same problem), then the button(s) that you have to press several times on the remote is just starting to wear out and the remote needs replacing before it stops working altogether (especially if it's the only remote you have).
TOPIC: NO REMOTE START, JUST FLASHES PARKING LIGHTS 6 or 7 TIMES:
QUESTION: "Recently had my vehicle serviced and now when I go to activate my remote starter, instead of activating, it just flashes the parking lights 7X. It's my understanding that the remote starter system lost its tachometer signal programming...can I somehow reprogram it myself, and if so how, or do I have to take it into a shop?"
ANSWER: On all current and "not so current" Code Alarm, Prestige, and Pursuit remote starter systems you can re-program the tach signal to the system yourself. Each step has to be done rather quickly, here's what you do: Turn the ignition ON (Do not start the vehicle)...press and release the button on the systems' antenna 3X...then immediately turn the ignition OFF, Now, press and hold the button in on the antenna, and while still holding the button in, start the vehicle with the key...within a few seconds, while still holding the button in, the vehicle's dash lights will begin to flash 1X every few seconds...keep holding the button in for at least 6 flashes...the flashes mean that the system is reading the vehicle's tach signal...after 6 flashes are seen, release the button, the dash lights will turn ON solid for 2 seconds and then shut OFF (some systems may even beep the horn 1X). This is the indication that the system has learned the vehicle's tachometer signal. Now turn OFF the ignition, remove keys, and test remote start activation.
TECH TIP #55 UPDATE: Report of just 6 Flashes instead of remote starting: 6 flashes indicate a change in the vehicles' tachometer signal that the system is not recognizing. Re-programming the tach, as indicated above, should also fix the problem.
REPORT: IGNITION and DASH LIGHTS turn ON, but NO REMOTE START:
QUESTION: I recently bought a 2004 F-150 lariat that has a Code Alarm remote start CA-430 system. I don't see any programming switch or valet switch. If you press the lock button on the factory remote the vehicle goes through the process of lighting up the dash and turning on the ignition but gets to the point where it should start but doesn't and then the system tries automatically to remote start over again but with the same result. Noticed today that if I try it by pressing the button and slide the key into ignition it starts, any advice is appreciated."
ANSWER: When any brand or model of remote starter system stops working, but it will remotely start if you leave a key in the ignition (with the ignition OFF), this is a for-sure sign that the system's momentary anti-theft key bypass interface has either lost it's programming to the vehicle and needs reprogramming (a common occurrence after a vehicle has had some service done that required disconnecting the vehicle's battery), or is faulty and needs replacing, or depending on the type of bypass interface, just some adjustment. On the majority of Fords' since 1999, Ford vehicles have what is known as a PATS (Passive Anti-Theft System) transponder key system. This is where a transponder chip is embedded in the head of the vehicle's keys and when the vehicle's ignition is turned ON, an antenna ring mounted around the vehicle's ignition cylinder sends out a wireless signal that causes the chip in the key to vibrate or radiate at it's specific operating frequency which has been programmed into the vehicle's anti-theft system. When the vehicle's anti-theft system picks up and recognizes this pre-programmed frequency from the key, it turns off the anti-theft system and allows the vehicle to start. A transponder key bypass interface (like the Flashlogic FLTB1) is basically programmed to the vehicle as if it was a spare key which is turned ON by the remote starter when it's activated and basically "tricks" the vehicle's anti-theft system that it's being started with a key.