Using a Remote Car Starter With a Manual Transmission

The safe installation of a remote car starter in a vehicle with a manual transmission has certain special challenges despite the fact that remote car starts are comparatively simple technologies.

Remote Car Starter

The problem is that since mechanical shift links are used in the majority of manual gearboxes, it is impossible to determine if the transmission is neutral without the aid of a sensor. Without that, a remote starter might activate while the transmission is in gear, which might have disastrous consequences.

Problems With Manual Transmissions and Remote Car Starters

An automatic starter normally verifies two things before starting the engine when it is installed in a car with an automatic gearbox: that the transmission is in a park and that the parking brake is engaged. Only the transmission’s park position is verified in some systems.

The absence of a park position is the primary drawback of manual transmissions. Although the transmission may freewheel, they only have neutral, which functions somewhat like the park. The part of automatic gearboxes that secures the transmission in place, the parking pawl, is absent from this transmission.

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How to Get a Remote Starter to Operate on a Manual Transmission

The clutch interlock switch is the cause of the inability to start a manual transmission car without depressing the clutch pedal. It is simple to work around this switch since it prevents the engine from starting until the clutch foot is fully engaged.

The clutch interlock is a safety mechanism that limits the driver’s ability to start the car while the transmission is in gear, but this presents a dilemma. Additionally, the interlock stops children from carelessly sliding the car into a building or into oncoming traffic if they are unattended.

The engine might lurch forward or backward depending on the gear it was left in, but it’s unlikely that it would start in those circumstances. Under those conditions, the car could easily collide with another car even with the parking brake on. The car might roll into a structure, onto a road, or into a person if the parking brake is not engaged.

This means that a remote car starter must perform the following three tasks if it is placed in a vehicle with a manual transmission:

  • Disable the clutch interlock.
  • Verify the transmission is neutral.
  • Verify that the parking brake is activated.

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Fixing the Manual Transmission Issues with Remote Car Starters

The clutch interlock switch is the most straightforward problem to fix. The remote car starting needs to be hooked into the clutch interlock in order to avoid the requirement that someone press the clutch pedal.

The mechanism turns off the interlock before turning on the starter when you push the start button on the remote. The device can also be connected to the parking brake switch that turns on the parking brake light in your dash using a similar procedure. It is possible to completely disable the remote starter if that switch is not turned on.

There have been numerous methods over the years for the more challenging problem of confirming that the transmission is neutral. Modern remote auto starters, however, benefit from many years of experimentation and failure because the majority of previous systems were unnecessarily complex and prone to failure.

Ensure That Your Car Is Started in Neutral

There are several methods for making sure the car is in neutral, but one of the safest ones requires a multi-step process that makes it difficult for the car to start by accident while in gear.

In this configuration, the remote starter is wired so that the vehicle must remain neutral when you park it. The remote starter modifies the way you shut off your car in order to do this. Additionally, the door switches need to be wired with them.

What happens when a remote car starter of this kind is installed?

  • Drive your car as you normally would.
  • Locate a parking spot and maneuver into it.
  • Shift into neutral, and engage the parking brake.
  • Turn off the ignition, and remove the keys.
  • Due to the way the remote starter is wired, the engine will continue to run.
  • Exit the vehicle, shut the door, and the engine will shut off.

How, and Why, Does This Work?

Remote Car Starter

This may seem like a tedious operation, and it is, but it guarantees that the parking brake is engaged and the transmission is in neutral—and that both remain in that position. Since the remote starter cannot be armed without the transmission is in neutral, there is no need for a sophisticated position sensor on the transmission linkage.

A system that is configured in this way will reset if any of the doors are opened before the remote is turned on as an additional security measure. The remote car starter will therefore be disabled if someone unlocks the door and maybe pushes the transmission into gear.

This system’s flaw is that you can’t use a convertible while using it securely, and you also can’t drive with the windows down.

Other Remote Car Starter Issues

Even though some vehicles are more problematic than others, a knowledgeable mechanic can almost always come up with a secure workaround.

For instance, the architecture of some manual transmission cars requires that the key be removed only when the transmission is in reverse. That won’t do for a remote starter, but a skilled technician can usually change the wiring to make it function.

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The best course of action is to leave the maintenance and repair of other vehicles with carburetors or anti-theft devices to experts who have the necessary tools and experience. Even yet, a workable alternative is almost always accessible, even if there isn’t an available remote start kit.

You might need a special solution if you still want remote auto-starting if you drive a convertible or a car that has any of these additional problems.

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