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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

Wednesday, March 27 2019

Reported Problem: Aftermarket Kill-Switch. No Power Reaches Starter Motor when trying to Crank/Start (all other functions on the vehicle work fine):

We get this call periodically, especially when after someone has purchased a used vehicle with no knowledge of an alarm system even being on it and no remotes came with the vehicle:

Commonly known to happen on aftermarket alarm systems when a remote transmitter (a.k.a. FOB) is lost or broken. Normally before the vehicle is entered the unlock or disarm button on the remote is pressed which unlocks the vehicle's doors while at the same time disengages the system's internal or external anti-theft starter-kill circuit (a.k.a. kill-switch).

This can cause a problem after the remotes are lost or broken if the system was last locked/armed with the remote before the remote was lost or broken and you are now entering the vehicle using a key. Or the vehicle was serviced and the service required disconnecting the vehicle's battery and upon reconnecting the vehicle's battery, the alarm triggered (main reason why to always have a spare remote).

Without a working remote the only way to fix the problem will be to get to the wiring from the system that's stopping power from reaching the vehicle's starter motor. This almost always requires dropping down the vehicle's knee-bolster panel (the panel that's directly across from your knees when your sitting in the driver's seat) and locating the aftermarket system's main control module. 

After the system's main control module is found you will want to look on the module for the brand and model numbers on it. Most system module's will have this information on it, but not all. Knowing the brand and model of system will make it easier to find out what type of anti-theft circuit the system has. If your module doesn't't have any descriptions as to what the brand and/or model it is, not all is lost. There's commonly only 2 types of aftermarket anti-theft circuit designs, internal and external.

If you have a system with an internal (or built-in) starter-defeat circuit (usually found on older systems) you will find 2 wires of the same gauge (size or thickness) and color (one of the two wires may have a color trace or stripe on it). Commonly these wires will be found running into a separate plug on the module or at least side-by-side when found mixed in with other wiring running into the module. But again, they are going to be the same color and gauge no matter how they are found. When you think you found these wires, one way to test to see if you found the correct wires is using an appropriate 12V test probe connected to chassis ground, only one of the two wires will show momentary +12V power only when you try to start the vehicle, the other will show no changes.

After confirmation simple apply a jumper across these two wires so the power from the one wire will reach the other wire during starting of the vehicle. Finally, if the alarm also keeps sounding, just look for some inline fuses on some of the system's wiring and pull them out. Now you can leave the system like this until you get a new remote without having any further starting problems or the alarm triggering.

Now on system's with external starter defeat circuits you will commonly find an external automotive relay with just one wire running from the system to the relay harness. This one wire from the system is the output that is triggering the starter-defeat relay when the alarm is triggered and preventing the vehicle from starting. Commonly found on most systems as a thin gauge Solid ORANGE wire, all that is required is to cut this wire in half then, as with the internal relay types, locate any fuses to the system and pull them out to prevent the system from sounding/triggering.

Posted by: D. Weber AT 11:33 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 26 2019

Reported Problem: My Remote Car Starter Won't Start!

We get this report almost daily but the main problem is when reported we to be supplied with just a little bit more details. Lets explain; First there's dozens of different situations that can cause a remote starter system to stop functioning properly so the more details you can supply the better so we can pin-point what may be causing the problem and what's not causing the problem.

Details like, what other features does your system have? Does it have keyless entry also? If so, does that feature on the remote work? What about having a 2nd remote, does your 2nd remote get the same response? Did you notice if you get any response from the vehicle when you try to activate the remote starter, like just the parking lights flashing? Or does it turn the ignition on but doesn't crank? Or does crank but doesn't start or starts and then stalls? Or lastly but not final, are you just not getting any response at all from the vehicle when you try to use your remote?...

As you can see this list can go on quite a bit. And sometimes the fix can be as simple as somehow the system was put in valet mode or a worn out button on the remote, or even just the battery in the remote needs replacing. Then sometime's (commonly after after the vehicle was serviced) the system lost it's programming and may need to be taken into a service facility for reprogramming. But regardless of the problem, your probably not going to get to many answers typing in the general term "remote car starter won't start" into Google (unless we pop up!). There's not only 100 different brands and models of remote starters out there, there's even more websites that sell them, and only a handful of those website's can actually supply tech support.

When you do find someone to assist you, have a remote in hand, any information you have on the system that's installed in your vehicle (e.g. brand and model of system) and all the details as to what the system and vehicle is doing or not doing.

Posted by: MCR AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, March 24 2019

In any situation where the Flashlogic module does not program properly due to a mistake made during the programming procedure or from a faulty or wrong connection or servicing of the vehicle, it is required to reset and reprogram the Flashlogic module to the vehicle using the procedure below:

Step 1: Unplug all harnesses away from the Flashlogic module making sure you unplug the black 4-pin plug last:

Step 2: First, Press & hold in the small black push button on the Flashlogic module, while still holding in the button, plug in just the black 4-pin plug: Response: The LED on the Flashlogic module will begin flashing RED when this is seen release the button:  Response: The LED will turn ON Solid RED for a few seconds then turn OFF, after this is seen, plug in the remaining harnesses to the Flashlogic module:

Step 3: The LED on the Flashlogic module will be steadily flashing GREEN. While the LED is steadily Flashing GREEN, press & hold in the small black push button on the Flashlogic module until the LED lights up Solid GREEN for 1 second and turns OFF, then release the button. The module is now reset and ready for vehicle-specific programming to the vehicle: Repeat the vehicle-specific FLASHLOGIC PROGRAMMING to the vehicle in your manual or visit for vehicle-specific module programming.

Posted by: MCR AT 09:26 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, March 23 2019

Yes, but to insure safe remote starting of a vehicle with a manual transmission it requires a remote starter system specifically designed to be installed into vehicle's with a manual transmission. These systems install identically to a system for automatic transmissions with the addition of a couple extra outputs & connections (1 connection to the vehicle's parking brake and 1 connection to the vehicle's clutch activation wire) with a manual transmission compatibility setting. Known as a "Remote Start Ready Mode", this feature requires the driver to enable the vehicle to be remote started after the vehicle is parked; you can't just randomly remote start the vehicle anytime you want like you can with a remote starter on a automatic trans vehicle, you have to prepare the vehicle to be remote started...

While the vehicle is still running with the keys, the driver places the vehicle in neutral, set's the parking brake and then press and holds in the button on the remote until the dash lights flash (activation procedures will vary). Then the driver turns off the ignition, removes the keys, and exits the vehicle. When the remote start ready mode is set correctly, the vehicle will remain running while exiting the vehicle. Once the driver's door is closed the driver presses the button on the remote 1X which will lock the vehicle's doors (if equipped with factory power door locks, otherwise it will just shut down the vehicle) and it will automatically shut down the engine. The vehicle is now ready to be safely remote started.

In the event that the driver re-enters the vehicle without activating the remote starter, opening the driver's door will cancel out the remote start ready mode and the driver would have to perform the remote start ready mode procedure again.

Posted by: MCR AT 04:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 22 2019

You may not see the need to go beyond your garage or driveway to remote start your car, but increased range with 2-way confirmation is definitely an advantage when your parked at work, out shopping or in a restaurant, especially when the weather is bad.

With standard remotes, you're looking out the window to see if your parking lights are on (or you can see the exhaust when it's cold) or the horn to beep to confirm that you successfully activated the remote starter. With a 2-way remote, the advantage is when your vehicle is out of sight you can be sitting at your table in a restaurant or in the checkout line at the grocery store and have visual LCD screen or LED's and sound confirmation right on your remote that your vehicle has remote started, or not! Even double check that you locked the vehicle's doors and more!

Posted by: MCR AT 05:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 21 2019

Reported Problem: New Prestige Z Series Install. Negative parking brake input connection good. Turbo-timer turned ON and set for 3 minutes in programming but the turbo cool-down mode will not activate.

Possible Fix: This feature must be activated after installation is completed. This is only required the first time the turbo timer is needed. After activation the system will always automatically enter turbo timer mode when the parking brake is activated: With the vehicles engine running for more than 15 seconds: Activate Parking Brake: Press the programming button on the antenna 2X: The parking lights will flash 2X to indicate turbo timer mode has been activated.

Posted by: MCR AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 20 2019

#1 Most Common Remote Starter Installation Problem

After 30 years of being under a dash installing everything from old-school kill-switches, anti-theft coded key-pads, auto alarms and later remote starter systems, there's not many problems that I haven't seen, heard of, read about in manufacturer's technical bulletins or actually caused myself, that installers I've provided tech support to over the last 17 years that have reported a new installation problem to me;

So, that being said, in my experience, I have to say that the #1 problem that I have found to be the cause of a "oddly-working", "barely working" or "blame it on the system, not the installer" problem is due to a faulty or bad chassis ground to the system...

It's not as easy to find and confirm a good negative -12V chassis ground source in a vehicle as it is to locate a positive +12V source. Simply put, most ground sources in a vehicle fluctuate (and I'm confident that most professional automotive audio installers can testify to this statement). This is why you can't tap into any existing factory ground wires in the vehicle, dash support brackets or most steering column supports either.

Without indepth explanation (I've learned it's not so much what's causing the problem, it's "how to fix it"!) alway's use a self-tapping screw through any metal that is painted the same color as the exterior of the vehicle. Example places I personally place my grounds; behind the left kick-panel or on the firewall. And don't over tighten and strip the self-tapping screw!

Posted by: D. Weber AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 19 2019

Reported Issue: New install. Ignition turns ON, no crank at all then the ignition turns off and the system automatically tries 3 more times but still no crank.

Possible Causes:
#1: One of the systems constant input power wires (which is the feed output for the system's crank/start output wire) is not receiving constant power.
#2: Wrong or bad connection from the system to vehicle's starter wire (this would be the wire in the vehicle's ignition harness that only shows +12 Volts only when the vehicle is being cranked/started with the key).
#3: Vehicle's bypass interface kit needed or not properly programmed.

Posted by: MCR AT 08:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 18 2019

Reported Issue: LED on Flashlogic Module will not light up as indicated during programming after ignition is turned ON

Possible Fix: This is good indication that the Flashlogic module's ignition input wire (Solid PINK wire) is not receiving power when the ignition is turned on. Check the connection.

Posted by: MCR AT 12:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 11 2019

1. Turn the vehicle’s ignition to the full ON position (the last position the ignition can be in before actually starting the vehicle. Do not start the vehicle) within 10 seconds:

2. Press and hold in the system’s programming button that’s built into the system’s antenna (commonly mounted on the inside top center of windshield) until the system sounds 3X then release the button, on remote starter only systems, just the dash lights will flash 3X, then within 10 seconds:

3. Press and hold the LOCK button on the transmitter (or CIRCLE ARROW button on 1 button remotes): the system will sound 1X (or dash lights will flash 1X on remote starter only systems) within 3 seconds indicating the transmitter has been programmed:

4. Repeat just step 3 on any additional transmitters at this time, up to a total of 4 transmitters can be programmed at a time. Turn the ignition off, remove keys and test remote.

Do not allow more than 10 seconds to lapse between steps or the program mode will automatically turn off and you will have to start over.

Posted by: NCR AT 04:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email

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