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.
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TOPIC/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 vehicles' 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-N-PLAY TYPE SYSTEM 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 vehicles' 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-FOR4 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 like 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 vehicles' clutch activation wire, and one to the drivers’ 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.
QUESTION: "Hello I bought a used truck about four years ago it's a 04 f150 fx4 it had an ultrastart brand u1250 model remote start/ keyless entry system, it worked perfectly until about three weeks ago. When I go to unlock/ lock the doors the parking lights no longer flash if I'm in the truck and try I can hear the clicking which it does when the lights were working, also when I use the remote start the dash lights and parking lights no longer work again if I'm in the truck and remote start I hear the clicking it would normally do. I checked the inline fuses that I found 2 30 amp and 1 10amp and they all were fine. I checked for bad connections and none found, I looked at the module itself (the brain) no damage to the outside opened it up, and no burns or damage to the circuit board. I've got the user manual but it has no advice on what the problem is, the only thing I found online was that it could be a bad output to the lights which I have no idea is or how to fix it. Any help would be great thank you". From Semper Fi
ANSWER: OK, First, because you can hear "clicking" coming from the module when you use the remote means, "maybe" that one of those clicking sounds is coming from the systems' parking lights relay, meaning it may not be a bad output...the first thing you have to do is to get an automotive test light...nothing fancy, because your only testing for a +positive parking light output...first find where they connected to the vehicles parking lights...which will be a Solid BROWN wire in the vehicle and they either connected the systems' parking light output wire to the vehicles' Solid BROWN parking light wire right behind the vehicles' headlights switch OR at the trucks' trailer connector harness near the OBDII diagnostic connector (some even connect to it in a harness that runs towards the rear of the vehicle behind the drivers' side left kick panel)...then, connecting your test light to a CHASSIS GROUND, probe the vehicles' Solid BROWN parking lights wire...while the probe is connected, press lock and/or unlock on one of your remotes'...see if it lights the test light when you use the remote (probably, it won't) so, now move the probe over to the systems' parking lights output wire that's connected to the vehicles' Solid BROWN parking lights wire...and test it the same way...if the test light lights when you use the remote, all you have is a bad connection...if it doesn't, you have a bad parking lights output from the system...because you already checked the fuses. (If you don't have a test light, we have the perfect ones for your situation, and for any remote car starter, alarm, or keyless entry installation, click here: https://bit.ly/2UHBjhYto order one).
QUESTION: "I have heard that if you’re worried about additional wear and tear on your engine, then installing a remote starter is something to avoid?" Is this true?
Thank you, from Amanda.
ANSWER: Don't know why someone would tell you this or if you read it on the internet, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Let's answer with a little "common sense" and "logic"; First off, jumping into a vehicle, starting it up, and immediately driving off (especially in colder weather) is not the best thing to do. Even though newer vehicles get the vehicles' fluids flowing faster throughout the engine (and the warmer the weather the faster), you want to give the vehicle a minute in warmer weather and at least 5 minutes in colder climates for the vehicles' fluids to flow and evenly lubricate throughout the engine before taking off (again, especially in colder weather). That being said, immediately driving off, compared to having the vehicle idle for a minute or two, could cause slightly additional wear & tear than not warming up the vehicle at all. So, what would be the difference between starting the vehicle up with a key and letting it warm up or letting it warm up with a remote starter? NOTHING. Well, yea, there is one big difference, and it has nothing to do with "extra wear & tear" on the motor...with a remote starter, you don't have to go out into the cold to warm the vehicle up! (or cool the interior down). Fact is, vehicles are engineered and designed to "idle". The smoother the better! At least 1/3 of an engine's life is spent idling. Additional "wear & tear"? I don't think so. You're already pre-warming the engine with the key anyways. Where's the "additional"?
Have a different opinion or further insight? Feel free to comment below.
"I bought a used 2010 Ford F-150. It has power door locks but didn't come with any OEM keyless entry FOB's. How can I find out if it originally came with the factory remotes or if I have to have an aftermarket keyless entry system installed?"
ANSWER: To find out if your truck has a factory-installed remote keyless entry feature (most models did come with it), First, close all doors, then press the UNLOCK switch on the driver's door...Next, turn the ignition to ON (the last position it can go into without starting the vehicle) to OFF 8X ending with the ignition ON on the 8th time...if the vehicle is equipped with the RKE feature (a.k.a. Remote Keyless Entry), on the 8th time ending with the ignition ON, the vehicle's door locks will cycle from unlock to lock 1X indicating that the vehicle is in "remote programming mode". Now, turn the ignition OFF. Done. If the door locks cycled, then the vehicle is equipped with RKE and you can buy some remotes and program them yourself using the same procedure (after the door locks cycle, you would just press the lock button on each new remote, one after another, and the door locks will cycle after each remote's lock button is pressed indicating that you just successfully programmed the remote). For new Ford remotes with a 1-year new remote replacement warranty, click HERE. See the programming video below for a demonstration of how the programming procedure is done (a hard copy of the programming procedure is included in with our remotes).
"I have the old code alarm remote CRCX3 with the FCC ID: GOH-MM6-101890, and having problems trying to program it"
ANSWER: Click here for programming and troubleshooting tips (Adobe PDF.) for both the Code Alarm CRCX3 (a.k.a. GOH-MM6-101890) and the PT4 (the 4 button version of the CRCX3): If you still have programming problems call us at 1-866-244-8004.
ANSWER: Most Flashlogic and iDatalink bypass/interface modules reset the same way...no matter if it's a Flashlogic FLDL1, FLTB1, or FLCAN...same with the iDatalink's ADS-DL or ADS-TB, etc...and as long as you found the Flashlogic/iDatalink bypass/interface module in the vehicle you should be able to reset the module back to the state it was in when it was first installed into your vehicle (no need to pay a tech to do it, but you still have to reprogram it after resetting it)...The first thing to know is that it's a 50/50 chance that an aftermarket remote starter will not work after having your vehicle serviced...any service that required disconnecting the vehicle's battery could do it, IT'S NOT YOUR MECHANICS FAULT! He is NOT responsible for any aftermarket system installed on your vehicle that doesn't work after they repaired your vehicle just by disconnecting your vehicle's battery...the best analogy is blaming your mechanic for having to reset your preset radio stations on your radio after it being serviced (LOL)...Now, after that said, after you have found your bypass/interface module and read off of the module what model it is go to Flashlogic.com or iDatalink.com and put in your year, make, and model of vehicle...it will show you several bypass/interface kits that are compatible to your vehicle...click on the one that has your same part number, open the PDF. go to the back of the manual and under "reset" perform the reset procedure and then go to the "programming" module procedure...if the bypass/interface module was the problem, the vehicle will remote start.
"I have an old Code Alarm Elite 1100 system installed in my car, can I still get the same complete system to replace it?"
ANSWER: Unfortunately no, that system hasn't been manufactured for over at least 17 years. The only part that is still available is the remote controls for the system which are the CRCX3 remotes. Click here for replacement remotes: http://bit.ly/2N2Ve3s
"Hello, I have a question about programming my prestige remote. I have a 5BCR14SP remote and had to order a replacement. I didn't find your site until after I ordered it. Thanks for the help in advance."
ANSWER: Turn ignition ON, press & release the button on the system's antenna 3X (the system will sound) then press the LOCK button on the remote (the system will sound again), then turn the ignition off. Done.
"My vehicle will remote start fine but then it immediately shuts down exactly like as if someone stepped on the brake pedal although no ones in the vehicle. What could cause this?"
ANSWER: The two most common problems that can cause this situation is #1 (which is the most common) Somehow the remote starter's bypass interface kit lost it's programming and will need to be reset and reprogrammed to the vehicle (how this is done depends on the model of bypass/interface kit the installer used when he installed the system) or #2 the remote starter system's "tachometer input signal" need to be reprogrammed to the remote starter system (this procedure also depends on the brand and model of remote starter system).
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