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MotorCityRemotes Remote Starter Car Alarm Troubleshooting BLOG


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.

Troubleshooting Remote Starter

Friday, May 08 2020


We receive continuous calls from vehicle owners which either had a Code Alarm system installed into their vehicle several years ago and now the company that installed it are either out-of-business or no longer sell & service Code Alarm systems, or purchased a vehicle with the system already installed, and are now either having issues with the system after the vehicle was serviced or looking for general information about the system. To contact the Code Alarm company to either answer questions about a current system or to locate a service facility in your area call: 1-800-421-3209 M-F 9am-5pm ET. 

Posted by: MCR AT 07:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, February 02 2020


Read each step before performing to familiarize yourself with the procedure. Each step has to be done within 5 seconds of the next step:

Turn the ignition ON (DO NOT start the vehicle): Press & release the systems programming button on the antenna 3X:

The system will flash the vehicle’s dash lights and beep the vehicle’s horn 1X:

After this is seen/heard, turn the ignition OFF then ON again: The system will sound 1 long and 2 short pulses:


After this is seen/heard, turn the ignition OFF then ON once more: The system will sound 1 long and 3 short pulses:

Next, leaving the ignition ON, slowly press and release the button on the antenna 5X in a row: The LED on the antenna will flash in a 5 flash/pause/5 flash pattern indicating you are in the ENGINE DETECTION MODE:


To change the setting, press and release the LOCK button on one of the systems remotes (or the one button on 1-button remotes) until the system beeps/flashes the same number of times as the desired setting below:


1 BEEP/FLASH = TACHOMETER INPUT (Must program tach signal after setting change)

2 BEEPS/FLASH = TACHLESS (Must start the vehicle 8X letting the vehicle rung for at least 10 secs. each time after setting change)




Once the desired setting is chosen, turn the ignition OFF, wait, the system will sound with a long pulse. Setting change is complete.

Posted by: MCR AT 11:13 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, January 21 2020

How to turn Up or Down your Prestige "Z" or APSRS Series Remote Start Run Time:

Tech Note: You have 5 seconds to perform each step, not all the steps within 5 seconds but each step to the next. 

Step 1: Turn the vehicle's ignition ON with a key (do not start the vehicle): Press & release the button on the system's antenna 3X slowly: The system will respond by flashing the dash lights and/or beeping the horn 1X depending on the model of system: After this is seen/heard:

Step 2: Turn the ignition OFF then ON again: The system will respond with 1 long pulse and 2 short pulses and/or 2 flashes: After this is seen/heard:

Step 3: Turn the ignition OFF then ON again: The system will respond with 1 long pulse and 3 short pulses and/or 3 flashes: After this is seen/heard:

Step 4: Next (leaving the ignition ON) Press & release the button on the system's antenna 3X slowly: The system will respond by flashing the LED built into the system's antenna in a 3 flash/pause/3 flash pattern indicating you are now in the "remote start run-time adjustment mode": 

Step 5: Now, press & release the LOCK button on the remote (or the 1 button on 1 button remotes) until the system responds with the number of flashes/beeps corresponding with the desired setting below:


Step 6: Once your at your desired setting, turn the ignition OFF. Wait, within a few seconds, the system will sound/flash. DONE.

Posted by: MCR AT 03:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 04 2019

How to determine if your vehicle is equipped with an OEM factory installed alarm system:

Step A: Roll down the driver’s door window: OEM alarms are set one of three ways depending on the model of vehicle:

#1 Close all vehicle’s doors and lock the doors using the factory remote or #2 press the power door lock switch in the vehicle while the driver’s door is open then close the door or #3 close the driver’s door and turn the driver’s door key cylinder to the lock position with a key.


Step B: After locking the vehicle's doors using one of the three procedures above, wait at least 1 minute then reach in through the open window and manually open the driver’s door from the inside (some vehicles may require pressing the power unlock switch first). If the vehicle is equipped with a factory alarm system the vehicle’s horn will start pulsing all most immediately after the driver’s door is opened.

Posted by: MCR AT 08:55 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, November 26 2019

How to Activate a Code Alarm and Prestige Remote Starter System:

To activate the remote starter, slowly press and release the CIRCLE ARROW button 2X (or key icon on some versions) within 3 seconds (if you have problems, try pressing the button 3X, if it activates after 3 presses it means your not pressing the button the 2X in the proper amount of time, either to fast or to slow)

When you enter the vehicle, turn the ignition key to the ON position (Do not crank the vehicle), then when you step on the brake pedal to shift into gear, the remote starter will automatically shut OFF but the vehicle will remain running because you turned the ignition on first...

So, if you step on the brake pedal before you turn the ignition on, the remote starter system will shut down and you will have to restart the vehicle with the key.

Posted by: MCR AT 08:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 29 2019

Programming Older Code Alarm & Chapman Remotes:

Many calls come in regarding problems with programming older Code Alarm and Chapman system remotes. It seems that either they can get the system into remote programming mode but can't get the system to accept the new remote or can't get the system into remote programming mode at all. Here's a couple of tips that have helped hundreds of customers in the past get their remote programmed:

#1 in the step where it states that after the system responds with 3 pulses/flashes release the programming button and then press the LOCK/ARM button on the remote, instead don't release the programming button after the 3 pulses/flashes are heard and while stile holding the programming button in, press the LOCK/ARM button on the remote and the system will respond with one pulse/flash indicating the remote has been programmed, then release the programming button and turn the ignition off...

#2 for systems that get no response at all, in the step where it states to press & hold the system's programming button in, instead close the vehicles doors and wait until the interior lights turn off then turn the ignition ON and turn the vehicle's dome light switch ON/OFF 3X (ON - OFF - ON - OFF - ON - OFF), if this is your type of system, your power door locks will cycle up and down 3X and/or flash the dash lights 3X indicating that you're in remote programming mode. Then quickly press the LOCK/ARM button on the new remote and the door locks and dash lights should cycle one more time, indicating that the remote was just programmed successfully. Turn ignition off and test remote.

Posted by: D. Weber AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, June 02 2019

Buyer Beware Before You Buy!: Not all remote starters offered online are DIY  (Do-It-Yourself) systems or can be taken to your local shop for installation

Almost on a daily basis, we receive calls for help with several different brands and models of remote starters and alarm system's that were bought online whereafter they were received the system didn't provide any information other than the basic wiring of the system, no specific information regarding how it's installed in the vehicle they wanted to install the system in or what additional parts may be required.... and with no technical support to call!

Although we try to help these DIY individuals as best we can within a margin of time, this has motivated me to post some "before-you-buy" information insights. After reading and following this information, you will be much more prepared to purchase any system online without the worry of any buyer's remorse. 

First things firstIf your not the car-savvy DIY type and you see a system on the internet that interests you unless the same company that is offering the system to you will install it for you too, don't buy it! It's that simple.

There are several reasons for this, but I will sum it up for you this way; you don't want to be driving around town walking into automotive accessory shops with the system under your arm trying to find someone to install it. Most won't, and for good reason. And that's another long list of why they won't, starting with that they are either just not familiar with the brand of the system and don't want to cause any headaches for you or them in case of any technical difficulties during installation or after. Rule #1: Always purchase the same system and the installation from the same facility if you're not going to install the system yourself!

Now, you may be the "DIY" type that's more than capable to install a remote car starter into your vehicle, but without the right information this can slow down your installation. Unless you are absolutely sure you know you can get the system in without anything other than a general installation manual for the system, with nothing about the wiring of your vehicle, then go for it!

But, even if are the car-savvy type...wouldn't you like a remote starter system that has all the parts and information that you need to install the system with no headaches?

For example, take our Prestige 901Z-VSS, it's the "Vehicle Specific System" version of Prestige's popular APS-901Z. The Prestige APS901Z is their universal line of remote starters that require additional parts, vehicle wiring information, and programming to be installed. It's the platform designed for the professional installer that is familiar not only with how the systems wired and programmed but also familiar with the wiring of the vehicle it's going to be installed into.

Additionally, you have to consider this; the APS901Z version will have no warranty unless sold and installed by an authorized dealer, or the distributor that the system was originally purchased from, directly offers warranty replacement. Generally, a manufacturer does not supply a warranty directly to the consumer, the manufacturer supplies warranty service to the distributor of the system. So any defective parts are returned to the provider (a.k.a. "seller"), the distributor warranties the part to the customer, and the distributor returns the defective part to the factory for credit or replacement. This is how it's handled here at MotorCityRemotes...

Posted by: D. Weber AT 05:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, May 17 2019

Code Alarm and Chapman Remote Starter and/or Alarm Systems LED Flashing 2X:

A common occurrence caused by accidentally pressing a button on the remote while the ignition is on (or a combination of buttons), causing the system to be placed into "Valet" mode. On many older model Code Alarm and Chapman remote starter systems, specifically, the Code Alarm CA530 and CA630 models also including the Chapman F50/55 & F60/65 models, if the lock button on the remote is pressed while the vehicle's ignition is on the system will be put in valet mode which will cause the dash-mounted LED to begin flashing in a 2 flash/pause/2 flash pattern and at the same time turn off the remote start and/or alarm features of the system. The only function that will remain is remote keyless entry.

Depending on the version of system, the same procedure that puts the system into valet mode is the same procedure to take it out of valet mode to resume the full functionality and features of the system. There will be 1 of 3 ways that will put the system in and out of valet mode: With the ignition ON (don't start the vehicle) press both the LOCK and UNLOCK buttons on the remote at the same time. If this is the correct procedure for your specific system the LED will stop flashing in the 2 flash pattern. If not, try pressing just the lock button with the ignition on and if this doesn't change the status, simply try pressing just the unlock button on the remote. One of these 3 ways should do it.


Posted by: Derek AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 07 2019

Check Engine Light comes on after Remote Starter Activation:

Technically, a few situations could cause this problem but below is by far the most common causes:

Even if this situation occurs after the system has been installed in the vehicle for a while and previously worked fine or if this is happening during a new install test, it is commonly caused by one of the remote starter's ignition activation output wires; On a new install, it can be that either a 2nd ignition wire in the vehicle needs to be powered up at the same time as the vehicle's 1st (or main/true ignition) wire or if a 2nd ignition wire was connected to during installation, the output timing of the 2nd ignition wire may not be providing the needed output at the same time as the remote starter's 1st ignition wire. We have even found some vehicles that required the 2nd ignition output to be turned off during crank/start (basically the same as an accessory output wire but a required connection to start. Most accessory output connections are not required to get the vehicle to remote start, they are only needed for HVAC activation).

Now on an existing installation that was previously working fine, the output timing would not change, so the first thing to check is the systems ignition outputs, check both for faulty connections to the vehicle's wiring and test the remote starter system's ignition output wires during remote start activation to confirm that the outputs are working properly. Other than this being the cause, we would have to get a little deeper into the situation which will be another post. 

Please leave any comments or questions below.

Posted by: MCR AT 11:26 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 03 2019

 Remote Starter in Valet Mode:

Lots of times people have called in saying that their remote starter all the sudden quit working, that it was working just fine yesterday and now all of the sudden all it does is flash the parking lights a number of times when they try to activate the remote starter. The common cause of this is that somehow indirectly the system was put into what is called the "valet" or "service mode" which inhibits the remote starter from being activated from the remote.

Depending on the brand and model of system installed in the vehicle, there are several ways a system can be put into and out of valet mode. In our experience, the same procedure that puts the system into valet mode is exactly the way it is taken out of valet mode. Here is a few of the most common ways we know of: 

Version A: There's a small ON/OFF toggle switch mounted underneath the driver's side dash somewhere that if installed to close to the driver's left foot or above the knees it could be accidentally bumped into when exiting the vehicle and switched into the OFF position. This commonly happens during cleaning of the vehicle when panels are wiped down and the switch is accidentally flipped into the opposite position. Additionally, on some systems, this switch may not function without the ignition being ON, so you would have to turn the ignition ON first before flipping the switch.

Version B: On most newer remote starter systems theres an antenna mounted on the upper inside of the windshield, top center, on the glass behind the rear-view mirror, or may be mounted in the upper left corner. On most of these systems you will find a push-button built into it. Commonly a small black or gray round disc that softly clicks when you press it. Now this button only works with the ignition ON, and on many systems as soon as you turn the ignition ON (don't start the vehicle) theres also a LED light built into the antenna and when the system is in valet mode, the LED on the antenna will turn ON solid almost as soon as you turn the ignition ON indicating that the vehicle is in valet/service mode. To turn off valet mode, with the ignition ON, simply press & hold this button in until the LED turns OFF (takes no more then 15 seconds). Then turn OFF the ignition, remove keys and test remote starter activation (never try to activate the remote starter with a key in the ignition).

Version C: Same in/out valet procedure as described in version B, but the button is not built into the antenna but instead mounted separately by itself under the driver's side dash like the toggle switch described in version A.

Version D: Almost the same in/out valet procedure as described in version B except you don'y have to hold the button in, you just press & release it 1X. And the button is built into the system's flashing LED mounted on the front of the driver's side dashboard, facing you, commonly located to the left of the steering column. Some can be found mounted thru the steering column covers on the steering column. You will know if the valet button is built into the LED when you can easily push the LED in and it immediately springs back out when you release the button.

Posted by: D. Weber AT 12:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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