Is a remote starter worth it?

Discussion in 'Prime Accessories and Modifications' started by lochnersm, Oct 6, 2020.

  1. lochnersm

    lochnersm Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2020
    33
    9
    0
    Location:
    NJ
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius Prime
    Model:
    XLE
    Just bought first prius - a 2020 prime. Part of deal agreement includes installation of remote starter, but I'm not sure I should go through with it. It seems the a/c button on key fob would do same thing as remote start, just through battery. So assuming I keep it charged is there anything different the remote start would add? Dealership has not been helpful.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    42,851
    14,323
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    The engine will provide more heat than the "Remote Climate" would so that's one benefit of a remote starter.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  3. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2015
    9,174
    7,302
    0
    Location:
    New England
    Vehicle:
    2021 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Limited
    In NJ winter temperature, the fob based climate pre-conditioning may be sufficient, but the heat pump alone running off of the traction battery is not effective at lower temperatures below 32F and non-functional at or below 14F. If you need to pre-heat the car at lower temperatures, then the remote engine-start maybe useful. However, one issue is that AFAIK, the remote engine-start will not work if you have the car plugged in due to the safety feature of the car. There really is no easy way to override this feature. Therefore, if you are planning to charge your car overnight, then the remote engine start will not work until you go to the car and unplug the charge cord and close the charge port. This defeats the very purpose of having a remote engine start. After long thought, I decided not to install the remote engine start in my car for that reason.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  4. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2018
    2,068
    1,473
    0
    Location:
    Taylors, SC
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    You'd be gambling on the quality of the install. Dealers may install the remote starter, buy another dealer may not warranty it.

    If you do, make sure you keep all of the installation instructions and manuals.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  5. lochnersm

    lochnersm Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2020
    33
    9
    0
    Location:
    NJ
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius Prime
    Model:
    XLE
    Thank you salamander. I'm really leaning towards not having the install as well. Just concerned that adding it could somehow impact the life of the traction battery. I'm guessing the remote start also won't allow the mirror/rear window defrost as well, correct?

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  6. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2015
    9,174
    7,302
    0
    Location:
    New England
    Vehicle:
    2021 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Limited
    Not sure if the remote engine start will have any effect on the traction battery, but it sure will waste gas which is the worst sin Prius owner can commit. LOL

    The remote climate only turns on the HVAC system at the last setting when you turn off the car. So, if you have the car set at temp70 AUTO, that will be the setting the remote climate will use. The mirror/rear window defrost will not work with remote climate, since the rear defog switch resets to off every time you turn off the car. Also, front defrost also will not work since it requires engine starting. However, if you have set your climate control to AUTO or manually set the direction to Window before you shut down the car, Auto will direct the warm air to the window as needed, and manual setting will send the air to window 100% of time. However, as I said in my initial comment, the heat pump is not very effective below 32F and inactive at or below 14F. So, if you need to deice the front windshield, the climate preconditioning do not help much when you really need it.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  7. m8547

    m8547 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    920
    601
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    The heat pump is effective below 32F, but for some reason pre-conditioning limits the power usage (I think to around 1-1.5kW), to the point where it is barely effective. It's a lot less effective when pre-conditioning than when driving. In one snowstorm I tested the heat pump on my commute. It was snowing and around 17F outside. I set it to the windshield plus floor setting, and the maximum temperature. Hybrid Assistant reported the cabin got up to around 85 degrees about halfway into my 30 minute drive. Of course it used 95% of the battery to go 15 miles, but I was very warm, and snow didn't freeze up the windshield.

    On snowy mornings I usually run the pre-conditioning three times to get the windshield to start thawing. I just hit the button when I wake up, while I'm having breakfast, etc.

    If I need to warm up the car more than pre-conditioning can do, whether it's in EV mode or with the engine on, it will usually be warm in the time it takes me to shovel the sidewalk and clear the snow off the car. So I don't see much need for remote start.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  8. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2018
    2,068
    1,473
    0
    Location:
    Taylors, SC
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    In the early days of automobiles, the electrical systems were analog and simple.

    Today, they are many very low amperage 5 volt digital microprocessor ecu's connected by ultra thin small gauge wiring,

    Adding a secondary unit, however, thoroughly tested, is asking for trouble.

    Even the OEM supplied ECU's have been subjected to recall oftentimes with almost all Prius models.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  9. lochnersm

    lochnersm Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2020
    33
    9
    0
    Location:
    NJ
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius Prime
    Model:
    XLE
    Thank you folks for your replies. I wish the heat pump was more useful in colder temps since that's really the only time I care about preconditioning. I may just bite the bullet and forego the remote start. I'll have to unplug anyway, so I may just start it at that point while I put my cord away and clean my wife's car 1st to give mine a chance to deice. Dealership is allowing me to wait and see how it works in winter 1st anyway, so I don't have to make my decision yet.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    Salamander_King likes this.
  10. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2015
    9,174
    7,302
    0
    Location:
    New England
    Vehicle:
    2021 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Limited
    If it's free offer from your dealer, and you think you will be needing to start the car to pre-warm the car in winter time, then engine block heater would be something you may consider negotiating to dealer for the free installation. TOYOTA has OEM engine block heater offered in Canada and Alaska, I think. It will be another plug you will need to plug in. And if you plan to plug in your traction battery charging cord during night, then you must have a circuit large enough to accommodate 12A for the battery charging and whatever the engine block heater would takes something like 3.47 amps IIRC. You will probably want to put the EBH on timer. It only need to be used 2-3 hours prior to your departure in the morning. You maybe able to get away with 15A circuit if you stagger the traction charge and EBH times, or if you have 20A circuit for both or separate circuits for each, you are OK to do the concurrent operation.

    In my climate, PP's heat pump has been almost useless for winter operation. During winter, I always started the car in HV mode to keep the engine warm. I wanted to install EBH on my previous PRIME but never got to it. Now, with COVID-19 restriction I am working from home. I don't think I need to install EBH on my new 2020 PP at least not for this winter.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  11. Tips

    Tips Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2019
    128
    64
    0
    Location:
    Grand Forks, B.C. Canada
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    With heated seats and and heated steering wheel you will be comfortable until the auto heating gets up too temperature!

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  12. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2015
    9,174
    7,302
    0
    Location:
    New England
    Vehicle:
    2021 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Limited
    No heated steering wheel on OP's XLE model. In the US, only Limited model has that feature. Heated seats are standard on all three trims.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  13. Tips

    Tips Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2019
    128
    64
    0
    Location:
    Grand Forks, B.C. Canada
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
  14. lochnersm

    lochnersm Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2020
    33
    9
    0
    Location:
    NJ
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius Prime
    Model:
    XLE
    I found this through a different part of the site. Not sure if it's up to date, but it seems toyota may have stopped making block heaters for newer models and decided it was better to go with remote starts...?

    PriusChat Shop

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.

    Salamander is correct that I don't have heated steering wheel. Even still, it's not the comfort factor I'm concerned with in getting in the car, it's the deicing/defogging. All I care about is being able to see out the windows, I can tolerate it being colder for a little bit while I'm driving and car warms up.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    #14 lochnersm, Oct 10, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2020
    pjm877 and Tips like this.
  15. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2015
    9,174
    7,302
    0
    Location:
    New England
    Vehicle:
    2021 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Limited
    I think those EBH are the same parts for all the models listed at the PC shop. AFAIK, the PC shop has not been updated frequently, so it is not surprising to see no new models listed there. IIRC, the Canadian Toyota site lets you configure a new car purchase with optional EBH installed at the factory. For the most part, the EBH is not needed for starting today's cars, but having it may increase the efficiency of heating in a very cold climate.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
  16. lochnersm

    lochnersm Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2020
    33
    9
    0
    Location:
    NJ
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius Prime
    Model:
    XLE
  17. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2015
    9,174
    7,302
    0
    Location:
    New England
    Vehicle:
    2021 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Limited
  18. m8547

    m8547 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    920
    601
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    I put a block heater in my other car (Toyota 4Runner V8), and I didn't find it to be worth the hassle. It would save a couple minutes off the warm up time, so maybe it would take 7 minutes instead of 10. I don't think it was worth the effort of plugging in or the cost of extra electricity used, unless you're somewhere colder than here (Colorado). It might be worth it to reduce wear on the engine, but that's hard to quantify.

    Maybe with the much smaller engine in the Prius it would get the engine warmer in less time?
     
  19. lochnersm

    lochnersm Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2020
    33
    9
    0
    Location:
    NJ
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius Prime
    Model:
    XLE
    Is there a way to quantify how much engine life is saved? I try to get about 10 years of life out of my cars from model year. Wife and I each got about 12 out of our last vehicles, both hondas. She had a remote starter on hers, but somewhere along the lines there was a problem and it got disconnected. The problems with her car weren't engine related when we traded it in. Steering rack and rusting at the cat. Instead of putting like $3k more into it, figured we'd trade it for my prime. This is our 1st hybrid so I have no idea what kind of stress these engines go through.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  20. m8547

    m8547 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    920
    601
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    It's a Toyota. The engine will easily last 10 years.
     
    lochnersm likes this.
Loading...