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Glossary of Remote Starter, Vehicle Security, & Keyless Entry Terms

Definitions ("Terms-of-the-Trade") and Abbreviations Explained


The Most Comprehensive List of Terms all about
Car Alarms, Remote Starters, and Keyless Entry Systems

What a Feature Means and How the Feature Works
(Click-On Underlined Terms for additional examples, photos, and information)

  • 2-STAGE SHOCK SENSOR: A sensor commonly included with car alarm systems that detects two levels of impacts made to a vehicle, When a lite vibration or impact is made to the vehicle (1st stage), warn-away chips or horn pulses are emitted from the alarm system to "warn" any would-be intruder that the vehicle is equipped with an alarm system. Heavier impacts made to the vehicle (the 2nd stage) will fully trigger the alarm.
  • 1-WAY SYSTEMThe industry-standard remote transmitter (a.k.a. FOB) that can lock, unlock, remote start, etc. a vehicle but with no other indication other than the visual confirmation of the vehicles' parking lights flashing and/or sound of the horn beeping to indicate that the remotes signal made it to the vehicle.
  • 2-WAY SYSTEM: A remote transmitter that receives a signal back from the vehicle to confirm that the feature has been successfully activated or not activated (out-of-range) by means of audio chimes and LCD display or LED indicators. No need to have the vehicle in the line of sight to visually confirm feature activation.
  • 5-WIRE POWER DOOR LOCKS CIRCUIT (also "TYPE-C"): Common power door locks circuit found on older vehicles where the power door lock and unlock wires in the vehicle need to be interrupted (cut-in-half) and, depending on the aftermarket system, may require 2 external automotive relays in order for the aftermarket keyless entry system to control the vehicles' power door locks remotely.
  • 40 & 80-BIT KEYS: Type of Ford anti-theft transponder key. Ford introduced 80-bit transponder key technology on many of their vehicles back in 2011. The 80-bit technology expands the operational capabilities while increasing the security features. To identify the difference between the 40 and 80-bit transponder keys, the 80-bit keys will have the letters “SA” stamped on the blade and the 40-bit keys have the letter “S” stamped on the blade. Vehicles equipped with 80-bit "SA" keys cannot be replaced with 40-bit "S" keys.
  • ACCESSORY WIRE: When installing a remote car starter, the wire in the vehicle, that only shows a +12VDC (or slightly more) when the vehicles' ignition is in the ON and Accessory position, but not during starting/cranking the vehicle (power drops out during starting of the vehicle). And the output from a remote starter system that activates the vehicles' HVAC circuit commonly around 10 seconds after the vehicle has been remote started.
  • ACTIVE or ACTIVE ARMING: In relation to vehicle security, anti-theft, and alarm systems, it means the system will only set, or arm, when manually or physically turned ON, it will not turn ON automatically.
  • ACTUATOR: Found in each of a vehicles' doors that has power door locks; The mechanism that is electronically controlled and responsible for locking and unlocking the vehicles' power door locks when the power door lock switches in the vehicle are pressed.
  • AFTERMARKET: Any component or accessory found in a vehicle that was not installed at the factory during vehicle assembly.
  • ANTI-CODE GRABBING (a.k.a. "Code Hopping, Anti-Scan, or Scan Deterrent): A feature found on higher-end vehicle security and remote starter systems where if a thief tries to use a device known as a code grabber, which is designed to read and store the signal from a vehicles' transmitter in order retransmit the signal at a later time to disarm the system. "Anti-code Grabbing", or "Code Hopping" technology improves the integrity of the system by ensuring that the transmitted code sent from the transmitter to the system changes each and every time the transmitter is used. If the thief who grabbed your code attempts to retransmit that same code, the system will not respond because it is looking for the new "rolled-over" new code. And another factor is if a continuous improper R.F. signal is sent to the system, the system will shut down for a predetermined period of time, making scanning next to impossible.
  • ANTI-GRIND FEATURE: A feature, not needed so much on today's vehicles, but on older vehicles, where if you can start the vehicle with the key, and while the vehicle was running, you went to crank the vehicle again, the starter motor would momentarily grind against the flywheel...An anti-grind feature with remote car starters would prevent this from happening if after you remote start the vehicle and out of habit cranked the vehicle over again while it was running via the remote starter it will stop power from reaching the starter motor.
  • ANTI-THEFT CIRCUIT: An optional output found on most aftermarket alarm systems (that usually requires an additional external relay) that will activate when the alarm is triggered and prevent the vehicle from being started even with the vehicle's keys (prevents power from reaching the starter motor when the ignition is turned to the start/crank position).
  • A-PILLAR: The “A” pillar refers to a brace in the vehicle located on the front left of the drivers' door and the front right of the passenger door. These pillars travel from the floor to the windshield and are the braces that supports the front of the roof and windshield.
  • AUTOMATIC REMOTE START: An optional feature found on remote starter systems where the system can be set to automatically start the vehicle every few hours for 24 hours. Timing choices vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
  • AUXILIARY INPUT (also External Trigger Input):
  • ATV FEATURE: Stands for "Automatic Transmitter Verification". A system feature that can report to the vehicle owner the number of transmitters that are currently programmed to the system (commonly indicated through the systems' status LED). This advantage is for the vehicle owner who may have become concerned about another person, mechanic, or a valet who has had access to their vehicle with the suspicion of unauthorized programming of another remote to the system. 
  • B-PILLAR: The “B” pillar is a body support located just behind the front seats. This pillar runs from the floor to the roofline. The “B” pillar commonly contains the seat belt retraction device.
  • BYPASS KITA separate component needed to be installed along with the remote starter system for most vehicles on the road today. The majority of vehicles have some type of factory-installed (OEM) anti-theft key system. The remote starter activates the bypass kit so it can momentarily turn off the vehicles' anti-theft system so the vehicle can be remotely started.
  • CAR-FINDER FEATURE: If equipped, a feature on many systems' where you would press a specific button on the remote that would cause the vehicles' horn to beep and flash the parking lights a few times to help locate your vehicle in crowded parking lots.
  • CITY MODE: A feature on some car alarm systems where you can temporarily turn off just the systems' shock/vibration sensor and retain the rest of the systems' alarm protection in order to prevent false alarms when parking the vehicle in busy, noisy, downtown, or under-construction type areas.
  • CUSTOM-CODE: A more secure emergency-override procedure the provides the vehicle owner with an option to disarm the system using a private code they programmed into the system. If in the case of a broken or lost transmitter, the pre-programmed code can be entered into the system by using the systems' programming/emergency-override push button (or toggle valet switch) along with the key in the ignition to turn off the alarm system until another working remote is available.
  • DATA PROTOCOL: Depending on the brand of bypass interface kit and brand of a remote starter system, the protocol platform (or "language") through which the bypass kit and remote starter components communicate. Commonly found as either "DBI" or "ADS".
  • DBI MODULE: Stands for "Data Bus Interface". Same as a bypass kit or interface module just the module operates under the DBI protocol (the "language" the module and the system communicates by).
  • DIGITAL TILT-SENSORA car alarm sensor that automatically adjusts to any incline that the vehicle was parked in and then detects the degree of change from that angle and immediately sends a signal that triggers the alarm system. Great for alarming and protecting a vehicles' tires and wheels, and from being towed.
  • DOME LIGHT SUPERVISION OUTPUT: A timed-latched output wire from an aftermarket car alarm, keyless entry, or remote starter system used to activate an external relay that is wired to the vehicles' dome/interior lights. At the same time, the unlock button on the remote is pressed, this output turns on and activates the relay which in turn turns the vehicles' interior lights on for a predetermined time (commonly for 30-60 secs).
  • DOOR-JAMB BOOT: The wiring harness that runs in from a vehicles' door into the vehicle. Commonly covered in a rubber boot that tucks in on both ends, with the door open, it can be seen usually right below the top door hinge.
  • DRIVER PRIORITY UNLOCK: A very common OEM feature found on today's vehicle's that can also be an option provided by many aftermarket keyless entry systems (although extra parts and labor would be required) that simply unlocks just the drivers' door with just one press of the remotes unlock button and unlocks the rest of the vehicles' doors with a 2nd press within 3 seconds.
  • ECM: "Electronic Control Module". An OEMs' reference to an electronic control module located in a vehicle. Also found in reference to a specific wires' location when consulting a vehicle-specific wiring guide pertaining to installing aftermarket electronics into a vehicle.
  • EMERGENCY OVERRIDE BUTTONA spring-loaded push button found on aftermarket alarm systems that work in conjunction with the vehicles' ignition to provide a way of overriding the alarm system is triggered during the loss of or broken remote. These e-override buttons are commonly mounted in an inconspicuous spot by the installer, under the drivers' side dash area, and can be difficult to locate if you were not originally instructed by the installer of where the switch was placed.
  • FAILSAFE DESIGN: In the event of a system failure or vehicle electrical problems, the aftermarket vehicle security or remote starter system cannot prevent the vehicle from being started normally with the key.
  • GLASS BREAK SENSOR (also Ultrasonic Shock Sensor): As the name indicates, a car alarm sensor only detects the sound frequency range of breaking glass. 
  • GPS"Global Positioning System". Utilizing satellites in Earth's orbit, it transmits tracking information which measures' the distance between the satellite and the GPS module installed in the vehicle, and its location within just a few meters.
  • HYBRID MODE: A programmable setting found in the programming menu of higher-end remote starter systems that enables' the remote starter system to be installed on electric vehicles and vehicles with the combination of gas & electric engines.
  • HVAC OUTPUTS: Onboard, or built-in relay connections from a remote starter system that provides activation of a vehicle's heat and AC circuit automatically after the vehicle has been remote started.
  • IGNITION CONTROLLED DOORLOCKS: An optional feature provided by most aftermarket systems with remote keyless entry, where the system can be set to automatically lock the vehicles' door when the ignition is turned on and unlock when the ignition is turned off.
  • ILLUMINATED ENTRY: An optional feature found on many aftermarket systems with remote keyless entry that can turn on either the vehicle's parking lights or interior/dome lights (or both) at the same time one of the systems' remotes are used to unlock the doors.
  • KEY-FOB: The combination of both an automotive key and remote keyless entry transmitter integrated together.
  • KILL-SWITCH: Popular "DIY", "Old-School" anti-theft set-up, which involved a high-voltage (a.k.a. Heavy Duty) ON/OFF toggle switch (sometimes involving an additional relay in the set-up) that simply interrupted the vehicles' starter wire stopping power from reaching the starter motor when the vehicles' ignition is in the crank/start position. 
  • LAST-DOOR-ARMING: A car alarm system where the alarm will not set until all the doors to the vehicle are closed.
  • LCD REMOTE TRANSMITTER"Liquid Crystal Display". A 2-way remote transmitter that has a small screen on it that will audibly chime, visually confirm, and display an icon representing that a specific function to a remote starter or alarm system has been activated or not (out-of-range).
  • LED: "Light Emitting Diode". A low-voltage, low-amperage indicator light is used in electronic applications.
  • LED REMOTE TRANSMITTER"Light Emitting Diode". A 2-way remote transmitter that utilizes LEDs that flash on the remote with audible chimes to visually confirm on the remote that a specific function to a remote starter or alarm system has been activated or not (out-of-range).
  • LoRa: Stands for "Long-Range". LoRa enables long-range transmissions between the frequencies of 902-928 MHz (in the US) with lower power consumption. It is based on spread spectrum modulation design techniques. When applied to vehicle security and remote starter systems, the outcome has reported a range of over one-mile and faster 2-way response time.
  • MAIN IGNITION WIRE (also, 1st IGN, Primary, or "True Ignition"): The wire found in a vehicles' ignition switch wiring harness that shows a positive (+) DCV only when the ignition is turned ON and when the vehicle is being started. The power does not drop out when the ignition moves from ON to START/CRANK.
  • MICROWAVE SENSOR (also Motion Sensor):
  • MULTIPLEXED CIRCUIT: One wire in a vehicle that provides at least two different functions that can be activated by just one wire in the vehicle.
  • MUTI-TONE SIREN: An aftermarket car alarm siren that has multiple different sounds or tones when triggered. Most multi-tone sirens are equipped with 6 different sounds.
  • OBDII CONNECTOR: 2nd Generation "On-Board Diagnostics". The 2nd generation of automotive diagnostic capability made mandatory on all vehicles built since January 1st, 1996. A 16-pin plug mounted below the drivers' side under-dash area that's used by automotive service facilities when diagnosing vehicles requiring repair.
  • OEM: Stands for "Original Equipment Manufacturer". Commonly known in the automotive industry as a standard or optional feature provided on a vehicle that was installed at the factory during vehicle assembly. Also, any replacement part or component provided directly by the manufacturer of the original part being replaced.
  • OPEN DOOR TRIGGER: Trigger input wires to an aftermarket alarm system that are connected to either a vehicles' door pin-switch, door latch, or interior/dome light wire(s) that show either a 12V negative or 12V positive polarity only when a door is open (and on most vehicles when the interior/dome lights are ON). And show NO VOLTAGE when all the vehicles' doors are closed and the interior lights turn off (some vehicles have a delayed "theatre diming delay). Commonly, most aftermarket alarm systems have both negative and positive door trigger input wires and only one is used per vehicle, and which one is used, depends on the polarity of the vehicles' door switches'. Some newer systems have only one door trigger input wire where the open door trigger polarity is set in the systems' programming settings.
  • PANIC MODE: A feature commonly found on aftermarket car alarms and OEM remotes, a button on the remote when pressed and held for 3 seconds, activates the systems' siren or pulses a vehicles' horn. This feature is provided for if when approaching or near the vehicle, and any unknown, or unwanted individuals are nearing or around the vehicle, triggering the panic mode could bring some attention to the situation and the vehicle.
  • PARKING LIGHTS FLASH: A standard feature provided with aftermarket and OEM keyless entry and alarm systems. Every time a feature to the vehicle is activated via the remote transmitter, a visual confirmation by a flash of the vehicles' parking lights is seen.
  • PASSIVE ARMING: In relation to vehicle security, anti-theft, and alarm systems, it means the system will automatically turn ON usually within a few minutes of exiting the vehicle, and the last door to the vehicle is closed. 
  • PASSKEY-III ANTI-THEFT KEY (also, PK3): An anti-theft transponder ignition key found on many GM vehicles (the blade of the key will have "PK3" engraved on it). After the ignition is turned ON, the keys' preprogrammed frequency signal is transmitted to the vehicles' theft deterrent control module. When the keys signal is recognized by the theft deterrent control module, it will turn off the anti-theft circuit to the vehicles' PCM and allow power to reach the starter motor and the fuel pump. Vehicles equipped with this type of key would require an additional FLTB1 transponder key bypass kit when installing any brand and model of remote starter system.
  • PASSKEY III+: Another generation of anti-theft ignition key found on many GM vehicles (the blade of the key will have "+" sign engraved on it). These keys have a "double-layer" of anti-theft protection due to GMs' integrated design of both their earlier PASSLOCK II and PASSKEY III systems.
  • PATS-KEY: 
  • PCM:
  • PIT-STOP MODE (also Quick-Stop Mode): A remote starter feature that allows you to keep your vehicle running when exiting the vehicle without having to leave your keys in the ignition; Example: After parking, you activate the remote starter as you normally do but while the vehicle is still running with the vehicles' keys. In response, the vehicles' dash lights will flash. Now when you turn off the ignition, the vehicle will remain running for the full remote start run-time allowing you to keep the vehicles' interior warm or cool as you run into the coffee shop!
  • PLUG & PLAY: Any plug-in component, accessory, or upgrade, etc. made to any working mechanical, electronic, or digital system that does not require any further connections, programming, software, or firmware to complete the installation. Example: A plug & play mouse for a PC.
  • POWER DOOR LOCKS INTERFACE MODULESame as a bypass kit module with the addition of the built-in ability to control a vehicles' power door locks by data information sent to the vehicle through one wire running into the rear of the vehicles' OBDII connector.
  • RELAY:
  • RKE: Stands for "Remote Keyless Entry". A vehicle, or system that has remote control transmitters that lock and unlock the vehicles' doors without the need of having to place a key in the door to unlock and enter the vehicle.
  • SHOCK SENSOR (also "2-Stage Shock Sensor):
  • SINGLE-STAGE SENSOR: Any type of aftermarket sensor connected to a vehicle security system that will instantly trigger the alarm.
  • SMARTPHONE INTERFACE (also "Smartphone Control"):
  • SST:
  • STATUS LED: "Light Emitting Diode". A low-voltage, low-amperage indicator light used in vehicle security systems as a theft deterrent and remote starter systems 
  • TIP-KEY (also Tipstart Key): A type of key-fob designed by Chrysler that's without a conventional key blade.
  • TRANSPONDER KEY (also "Chip" key):
  • ULTRASONIC SHOCK SENSOR: Same as a glass break detector. A sensor specifically designed to only detect the sound frequencies made by breaking glass.
  • VALET MODE (also "service-mode"): A push-button or toggle switch to an alarm or remote starter system that works in conjunction with the vehicles' ignition that will temporarily turn off and inhibit a specific function(s) from being activated while the vehicle is being serviced or valet parked.
  • VATS ANTI-THEFT KEYStands for "Vehicle Anti-Theft System". GMs' first generation of anti-theft keys. Found on many GM manufactured vehicles made in the mid-1980s' into the early 2000s. These keys are easily identified by a resistor-based chip seen embedded on the blade of the key with a small dot or minus sign on it.
  • VOLTAGE MODE: A "tachless" programming setting found in remote car starter installation manuals that is chosen or set when a physical tachometer wire connection in a vehicle is not available or difficult to access.
  • VSS: "Vehicle Specific System". A car alarm or remote starter system, or a combination of the both, that is set up and designed for installation into a specific year, make, and model of a vehicle (or a few years of the same vehicle) and does not require any additional parts or information to complete the installation.
  • WARN-AWAY SENSOR: The 1st stage of a 2-stage alarm sensor that just "chirps" a siren or pulses a vehicles' horn a few times when the vehicle is being lightly tampered with to deter any further attempts of intrusion.


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