There has been a lot of talk in Toyota fan circles these past few days about remote engine start.
Specifically, people are learning their remote engine start that is operated by key fobs does not stay free forever.
Toyota Remote Start
Beginning with 2018 model years, Toyota began introducing their Connected Services, which includes Remote Connect. Remote engine start, which works through the key fob as well as digitally, is tied to Remote Connect.
A free trial of Remote Connect, usually a 1-year free trial, is included in the purchase of many popular Toyota models. Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid are in the mix here.
VIDEO YOU MAY ENJOY: Demo of Toyota Remote Connect. I explain the remote start issue, including all details you may want to know.
When the free trial expires, customers will have the choice to pay for continuing Remote Connect, which includes remote engine start from the key. Or they can simply let the service lapse.
Remote Connect is normally present when a vehicle comes with either Audio Plus or Premium Audio multimedia systems.
Toyota models pre-2018 should still have their included remote engine start if they had it to begin with. There will be no subscription service.
Speaking of subscriptions, how about costs?
Cost for Toyota Remote Connect Subscription
Owners can continue their Remote Connect service for $8 per month. Most Toyota models (but not all), including RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid, allow for a cheaper monthly purchase by pre-paying $80 per year ($6.67 per month).
The question now becomes is it worth it for a person or family to add yet another fee to their budgets. This is a tough one. Is the value worth the cost?
Personally, I do not like the idea of charging for remote engine start through use of the key. Especially when that feature had been previously free up until 2018.
My wife owns a 2021 Highlander Limited and I own a 2021 Venza Limited. We both just paid $80 each for Remote Connect subscriptions.
You might think Toyota would consider a family discount or something for multiple vehicles within the same household.
But I do not make those calls. For us personally, we like the benefits of Remote Connect too much to let our services expire.
Benefits of Toyota Remote Connect
Many of the features offered in Remote Connect can be used from your smartphone, your smartwatch, and Alexa and Google Assistant devices.
You can start and stop your engine remotely, as well as lock and unlock your doors. These are the big ones for us, as we can get into a cooled-down car when it is hot and humid, and a warmed-up car when it is chilly.
You will get alerts if you leave any windows, doors, or moonroof open/unlocked. I also like knowing exactly how much gasoline I have left before running out.
Toyota Remote Connect also shows you the last parked location for your vehicle. This helps if you are out shopping at the mall and forget where you parked your Toyota RAV4 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
With Guest Driver feature, you can have alerts sent to you if your teenager (or a valet driver) exceeds your preset speeds, miles driven, or curfew.
What Models Have Remote Connect?
Click this link to the Toyota site showing exactly what models (like RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid and many others) qualify for Remote Connect. It will tell you how long the free trial lasts and how much it will cost you to subscribe.
I am also including pictures from the Toyota site for 2022 model year vehicles as a reference for your research.
I hope you find this helpful.
Toyota response to remote start issue
Motor1.com posted a response from Toyota about Remote Connected Services and the remote engine start issue. Check out their article here for more information.
“Toyota’s Connected Services offers an extensive list of convenience and safety features to our customers. We frequently incorporate feedback from customers to ensure we’re offering features that are useful and enhance their ownership experiences.
Select Connected Services features are available on applicable vehicles across our product line-up for a trial period from the date of new purchase and after with a paid subscription plan. With the Remote Connect trial and subscription plans customers can use convenience features within the Toyota app from their smart phone or smart watch for a variety of features, including remote vehicle start/stop, lock/unlock from the app.
Separately, remote start from the vehicle key fob is available during any active trial period*, including Service Connect, Remote Connect or Safety Connect. Key fob remote start is a convenience feature and will remain active for the duration of any open trial period. Trial period durations vary and may last up to 10 years. As we move to more digital experiences within the Toyota app, key fob remote start is not a feature we actively market. More information specific to model trial periods can be found here: https://www.toyota.com/connected-services/
Owners can review their vehicle's Connected Services within the Toyota app or by clicking here. They may also refer to the Owner's Manual.
10-year trial on certain 2020 model year and newer Toyota vehicles
3-year trial on certain 2018 through 2020 Toyota vehicles
Time for your remote start comments
Thanks for reading everyone.
Do you currently have remote engine start on your vehicle and how do you like it?
What do you think about the features offered in Remote Connect? Which ones are most beneficial to you?
Do you currently pay for Remote Connect, and if not, would you consider subscribing to this service for your vehicles?
Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I discuss the hot looking 2022 Camry TRD in Cavalry Blue.
Follow Jeff Teague on Social Media:
- My "AutoJeff Reviews" YouTube channel - Car reviews and people stories
- My Torque News / Toyota News column
- My "ToyotaJeff Reviews" YouTube channel
- My Toyotajeff website
- My Facebook page
- Instagram @toyotajeff1
- My Twitter page
Thank you everyone for following me.