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Reminder: Remote Starter + Manual Transmission = Bad Idea

Posted in FAIL, General, Mustang by Kurt Ernst | March 24th, 2010 | 7 Responses |

A Mustang GT owner in Florida brought his car to the local dealer for repair of a bad clutch. Told that parts wouldn’t be in for a few days, the man went to pick up his ride; all was well until the service advisor used the remote starter to fire it up. Guess what? The car was in gear, with the emergency brake off, and shot across the parking lot before plunging into a retention pond. Bummer.

I’m not a big fan of remote starters, because they add weight, cost money and don’t make the car go any faster. If you live up north, suck it up and climb into a cold car like I did for 20+ years. If you live down south, suck it up and jump into a hot car like I’m currently doing.

Every remote starter kit I’ve ever seen comes with a disclaimer about installation on a manual transmission car. If I remember correctly, some ever have an interlock that prevents starting unless the car is in neutral. In any case, the owner of the Mustang is screwed, because the Ford dealer is saying, “not our problem”. Whoever installed the remote either didn’t do it properly, or failed to give the car’s owner the multi-page disclaimer that absolves them from responsibility when installed on a manual transmission vehicle. Of course, it could also be that the car’s owner just chose to ignore the warning. In any case, it’s not between him and his insurance company to work out the details.

If you’ve been driving your manual transmission car in a spirited manner and the brakes are hot, it’s best to put the car in first gear (if parked uphill) or reverse (if parked on a level surface or downhill) with the handbrake off when parking. This allows your brake rotors to cool evenly, without the brake pads making contact with the rotors. If you apply the handbrake to hot rotors, you run the risk of rotor warpage, since the metal cools and contracts at a different rate. Under normal circumstances, apply the handbrake and then put yout manual transmission car in first or reverse.

Source: Mustang Forums

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7 Responses

  1. DaveMofo says:

    It will be interesting to see which insurance co. pays for this.

    Dealer’s, or driver’s? It’ll probably have to go to court.

  2. Jim Walker says:

    Here’s what will happen. He’ll go in and say it was there fault and ask for there insurance. They’ll automatically deny everything. So you’re right. He’ll have to take it to court and fight to win. On top of that, if you don’t get some nit wit lawyer on your side, or a really good lawyer on there side, or a clueless judge. You might win. Moral of the story. Why I NEVER rely on someone else whenever possible. Whether it be working on the house, car, handling my food, growing my food. Maybe troublesome to some. But would rather do all that than get pissed off because of stupid stuff like that. Plus you usually save a few bucks in the process.

  3. SNAK3 says:

    i don’t understand why ford doesn’t make it where the car doesn’t start unless the clutch is fully engaged. That would render the remote start useless yes, but keep stupid people from doing stupid things. Like when the kid jumps in his dad’s new mustang turns it on and it goes through their house. I mean come on, that feature even comes on a Kia Rio…

  4. Kurt says:

    SNAK3, there is an existing interlock on manual transmission Fords, but this has to be disabled to install teh remote starter. One of two things happened: either the installer of the remote starter didn’t follow instructions and eliminated the safety switch, or the system was not designed for use on a manual transmission car but was bodged to work anyway.

    Jim, I’m with you. I avoid taking any of my vehicles to a shop unless I completely lack the skill set to do the job. I’ve never found a shop that did work up to my standards.

    Dave, looks like the guy’s insurance company is going to pay. I’m a little surprised by that, since the car was modified to defeat a pretty significant safety feature.

  5. DaveMofo says:

    It is surprising! I figured the driver’s ins. co. would tell him to stick his claim up his own ass!

  6. krice says:

    well… having a sweet ride like that it would have been wise for the owner of this vehicle to not even give the sales rep the remote starter at all!(or anyone for that matter) but instead just give him the keys, take the remote starting out of the equation when taking it to the shop. but hey, live and learn right?

  7. Brandon says:

    Hmmm…Just out of curiousity wouldn’t it be smart just to remove the remote start controller from the key chain. Ok, so you may have keyless entry on the same controller, but alot of remote start systems come with a second remote that is keyless entry only. I’m also willing to bet that a dealer would be able to shut off the alarm anyways and enter the vehicle with just the key. Most mistakes can be avoided if the owner planned ahead of time and did a little research.