Chevy to make remote-start standard on its new Malibu

Car: The feature lets an owner warm up the engine at touch of a button, but locks thieves out.

Remote Patrol

January 02, 2003|By Michelle Krebs | Michelle Krebs,NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

When it's bitter cold outside, wouldn't it be nice to be able to start your car and warm it up from inside your house?

Chevrolet, betting that buyers will appreciate this idea, is making a remote-start feature standard on its new Malibu this year.

It will be the industry's first factory-installed remote-start system. (A consumer can now buy a remote starter from an auto parts store for about $70 and have it installed, but it won't be covered under the car's warranty or tied into its anti-theft system.)

The system is a logical partner of the remote garage door opener - the driver can take care of both opening the garage to vent carbon monoxide and starting the car without braving the cold.

To start the Malibu, push the lock button on the remote key fob, then press and hold the remote-start button for 1 1/2 seconds. The two-step process is intended to prevent accidental activation. It also ensures that the car is locked and that the anti-theft system is engaged. The remote-start system receives an ever-changing radio frequency code, intended to thwart thieves, from the key fob.

Thieves can't break in and run off with the car as it warms up; the key still has to turn in the ignition before the car can be driven away. If the driver doesn't drive off after 10 minutes, the engine shuts off. The engine can also be stopped remotely.

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