How to Make Your Car Connected: Fully Loaded

If you’re looking for more features then what the OBD-II plugins offer, like remote start and door lock/unlock from your phone, you will want to look into getting an aftermarket alarm system. There are a few manufacturers that offer connected car alarms such as Directed’s SmartStart system (available for their Viper, Clifford and Python brands) and DroneMobile.                                                                              

There’s Levels to This

If you’re interested in the connected car alarm option we highly recommend visiting an authorized installer. When you get into things such as remote start you’ll want someone with experience doing the install. Nothing says fail like you starting your car remotely to only have it act like Uber’s self driving car and crashing.

While there is a plethora of choices for car alarms, we’re narrowing our focus to the Viper SmartStart VSS5X10 and the DroneMobile RSD-3AS.  Both alarms include everything you need to start your car remotely and lock/unlock your car from a phone app.

Viper, DroneMobile and CrimeStopper offer add-on modules that will let you attach these connected car features if you already had an alarm installed. These add-on modules sell for around $160 and are a great option if you didn't need to get a new alarm.

Price

Viper SmartStart VSS5X10: $599 MSRP + install labor (varies by vehicle)

DroneMobile RSD-3AS: $499 MSRP + install labor (varies by vehicle)

You will also need to sign up for a service plan that includes a cellular data plan, both start at under $6/month but to access all of the features you will need the premium packages. For Viper's plans click here and for DroneMobile click here.

Connected Car Features

We’re going to skip past the basic car alarm features; they both offer what you would expect in a standard car alarm.  Both require the purchase of a monthly service plan for all of the connected car features to work.  The monthly service plan includes a cellular data plan, which enables your phone be able to communicate with your car almost anywhere in the world.

One noticeable difference between the Viper and DroneMobile units compared to the OBD-II options is that while you are paying for a cellular data plan, you would not be able to create a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Viper SmartStart VSS5X10

Remote Start and Door Lock/Unlock: Using the phone app you can start or lock/unlock the car from anywhere in the world (as long as your car is in range of a cellular signal).

Location, Boundary and Speed Alerts*: Using the GPS signal you can see where your car is located within the phone app. You can also set the system to alert you if the car goes above a set speed as well as mark a geographic area that if car goes past you will receive an alert on your phone.

Security Alerts*: Your phone will be notified whenever your alarm goes off.

Vehicle Diagnostics: If your car is showing any check engine codes it will notify you in the app.

Viper Motor Club*: Roadside assistance in case your car needs to be towed or change a flat tire.

*To use this feature you must pay for the premium service plan.

DroneMobile RSD-3AS

Remote Start and Door Lock/Unlock: Using the phone app you can start or lock/unlock the car from anywhere in the world (as long as your car is in range of a cellular signal).

Security Alerts: Your phone will be notified whenever your alarm goes off.

Temperature: Monitors the temperature inside your vehicle.

Maintenance Reminders:  Set mileage based maintenance reminders.

Vehicle Status: From your phone app, you can check if your engine is running or if your doors are locked/unlocked.

Vehicle Location*:  Using the GPS signal you can see where your car is located within the phone app.

*To use this feature you must pay for the premium monthly service plan.

The Verdict

If you’re in the market for car alarm then the Viper and DroneMobile offerings are something you should take a look at.  Being able to connect to various features of your car alarm through the Internet does have a certain level of appeal, but it all boils down to how often you would actually use these features. These setups will cost $200-300 more then your standard alarm. Beyond the purchase price of these setups you’ll also want to factor in the labor for install as well as the monthly/yearly service plan. Depending on your vehicle it might require some additional modules and wiring harnesses to enable the remote start or door lock/unlock features. To use some of the vehicle tracking features you will need to sign up for the premium packages which will run around $100 per year. 

For those that don’t need all of these features, check out the plug and play options HERE.


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