How to Shop for a Remote Start
We thought it would be a good idea to share some experiences we’ve learned over the years and to share some mistakes we’ve seen customers make year after year when shopping for a remote start system. How to shop for a remote start? While you’ll say it’s not difficult, you just look around, buy one and get it installed, right? Well, yes and no. The thing is there are some guidelines you should try to observe if you can. You’ll end up avoiding some common mistakes. So here they are.
How to Shop for a Remote Start:
While everyone wants a good deal, Don’t Buy a Remote Start System online.
Sure, you say. You want my business so you’re just trying to get me to buy from you. Well, that’s not it.
a. If you buy online you won’t be getting any local warranty service or product guarantee. A remote starter isn’t a pair of shoes. It has lots of electrical parts and software. It needs to be installed and set up right and if it needs service now and then you need someone qualified. After all it’s being installed into the electronics of your car’s computer. If your online remote start is bad or needs service, you’ll have to pay a local shop to figure it out, but they won’t be able to replace any parts for you. You’ll have to send your parts back to somewhere?? to see if you can get them exchanged or repaired. Most online stores give no more than a 30 day warranty on your purchase.
b. You’re likely not to save much or any money since you’ll pay more for installation and have no local warranty on your parts once they’re installed. If you’re buying the remote start as a gift, do your loved one a favor and buy from a reputable local dealer who can take care of them and their car if there are any issues. Also if you buy online,s service, who’s going to warranty it for free in Kansas City. No one.
c. You’re likely to buy some wrong parts. Even when the guy on the phone at the online store tells you “yes it includes everything you need”, it often doesn’t or it includes the wrong parts for your make and model which you can’t exchange anywhere on the day you need it installed. We see this happen all the time. The guy on the phone didn’t realize your car required something a little different because he doesn’t install, lacks experience and didn’t read the tech notes on your vehicle.
d. Some manufacturer’s won’t warranty their product unless it’s installed by an authorized dealer. The local authorized dealer, if one does exist, is going to charge you more since you didn’t buy from him and he isn’t going to warranty your parts. If they need service, you’ll have to ship them off yourself.
e. If you need service later on, you’ll pay for it. Local shops won’t warranty you’re equipment. Just to troubleshoot it (find out what’s wrong if it isn’t working right) will cost you money.
f. During the busy Christmas or winter season you’re likely to have to wait longer to get your own product installed before a local shop has time to do it.
Buy your system from a dealer who can install it and who can warranty their work and all parts locally.
An installing dealer who does lots of remote car starter systems knows his product and should know your car. Installing dealers know you’ve come to them for your business and service so they have a vested interest in making your experience a good one and making sure everything works. After all, you’re not buying a pair of socks. A remote car starter needs expert knowledge to install and set it up right.
When you buy your product from the dealer, if for any reason a part isn’t working right he’ll exchange or replace it immediately. You’ll leave with a working system and if for any reason you do have to come back for service, you won’t hear them tell you “Your part is no good. You’ll have to send it back to where you bought it.”
Consider buying a Long Range Remote Start System
A common thing is most shoppers go for the most affordable system they can find. This isn’t bad. After all, on most late model cars remote start systems aren’t as cheap as they once were because of the interface parts required to work with your car’s computer and software. However, there isn’t really that much difference in cost now between a standard range remote start and a long range model, usually only around $50 to $70 is all, though two-way long range systems will add about double that to the price.
The difference in performance is that a longer range model will insure you can start your car at work or from inside a restaurant or from inside a large store like Walmart, etc. This makes a major difference in convenience. After all that’s a main reason why you’re buying it. When all is said and done, looking back, it’s worth having spend that little extra to get the better range. Most of the time you use your remote start will be away from your home where the extra range will help.
Given a choice, Buy an aftermarket remote start rather than one that comes with the new car from the maker
Why? 1. Because aftermarket remote start systems perform better and have much longer range, even our basic systems. An average aftermarket system will have a real world usable range of two to three times farther. This will make a major difference when you need to start your vehicle.
2. Also with an aftermarket remote start system you can turn your remote start on and off as often as you like from inside your home or work place without having to go back out to your car and reset the system. If you change your mind and decide not to leave right away, or you need more time and want your vehicle to warm up even more, you can start your aftermarket system again and again, or shut it off whenever you want and restart it later without going outside to reset your car.
3. You’ll get better after the sale service with aftermarket product bought from a reliable dealer. Instead of having to leave your vehicle at the dealership for the day, most aftermarket service at our store can be done within an hour once work is begun.
4. You can add extra benefits to many of our remote start packages whenever you want, like start your car by phone, ability to track your vehicle, rear seat defroster activation; see Remote Start Benefits.
Buy From a Dealer You Can Trust and Count On for a Quality Installation and After the Sale Service
All dealers are not the same. If you’re just buying an apple from the grocery store, you can shop anywhere. But expert installation and after the sale service and, equally important, recommending the right product in the first place is what we and other top shops do. A professional remote start dealer knows his product and handles lines he can back up to give you the service and performance you expect. A good dealer will listen to you, determining what it is you need and recommend the right solution.
We don’t carry one system to fit all customers. We have lots of remote start systems to fit different situations and customer needs. When you shop with us you will have a choice of different ways you can do your remote start package. After all it does depend on what you want. See our article on Remote Start Benefits to see options and all the many things a remote start system can do.
Don’t Let a Car Dealer Talk You Out of An Aftermarket Remote Start System
Where do car dealers go when they want to add a remote car starter system to their new vehicles if the car didn’t come with one? That’s right, they come to us or other stores like us. What do car dealers say to you when they don’t want you to buy one of our remote start systems? They say things like “Aftermarket systems can mess up your car and void your factory warranty.” So, you get the idea.
Of course it’s always possible an inexperienced installer or a bad install could hurt your car, but that’s no different from taking your vehicle to a bad mechanic for repairs. With the thousands of remote starts we and other dealers install throughout the United States each year it’s pretty clear they are not only safe but a great benefit.
In addition your factory warranty is protected – by Federal law called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Protection Act. The law says a car dealer can’t refuse you warranty service unless he can directly prove the aftermarket part installed has harmed your vehicle. You have the legal right to install any type of aftermarket parts to your car any time you want without jeopardizing your new car warranty. If a car dealer tells you your warranty will be in jeopardy, they are blowing smoke in your face and trying to mislead you for their own reasons.
National Auto Sound & Security
We have been selling and installing remote starters from the time they became available. Most of our installers are MECP certified in car audio and remote start electronics and ASE certified in automobile electronics. We have over 100 years of combined experience among our staff. We offer quality remote start installations daily. We’ll show you how you can start your car from your phone! We even have remote starts for manual transmission cars. How to shop for a Remote Start? Drop by anytime and we’ll show you.
Why buy Satellite Radio for your Car? Here’s Why:
Tons of great reasons! When you experience the convenience and pleasure of satellite radio in your car you won’t be asking why buy satellite radio. It’s that good! First, satellite radio reception comes from a satellite, not a radio station tower and not a cell phone tower. The satellite radio signal is good everywhere in the United States as long as you can see the clouds or the sky. Great for traveling. It doesn’t depend on cell phone reception or whether or not you’re in range of a particular radio station. You can be out in the middle of nowhere and still have great satellite radio reception. You won’t experience those annoying drop outs you get with cell reception or the fading in and out of a weak radio station.
Your selection of programs is incredible! Satellite radio programming gives you a unique choice of over 90 channels of commercial free music, + news, tons of sports, politics, talk radio of every description, comedy channels, religious and family radio and more. You can even listen to the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) and CBC (Canadian Broadcast Company) as well as many Spanish and latino stations for music, sports and news and other international channels.
You have touch screen control over your radio stations just like any other radio station on your car stereo receiver. You can see the name of the station, the artist and song title on your radio display.
Plus, You Get Special Features Available with Selected Car Radios and the SiriusXm SXV300vi Tuner:
Instead of asking why buy satellite radio for my car, you’ll ask yourself “Why didn’t I buy it sooner?”
- Traffic and Weather: depending on your subscription package and the car radio you have, traffic updates and alerts plus weather alerts and updates are available.
- Game Alert: Want to know if your favorite NFL, NBA, NHL or college football or basketball team is playing live? GameAlert™ will display an on-screen message if your favorite teams’ games are being broadcast. Jump to that station with the push of a button so you can listen to the game play by play. You can also get the latest score updates while you are listening to other stations.*
- SportsFlash is a feature you can set to be notified if a big play happens during a game with one of your favorite teams*
- Instant Replay: With the SiriusXM Replay™ function you can pause, rewind, and replay up to 60 minutes of live content. Listen to your favorite content again, or hear content you missed while listening to another channel.*
- TuneScan & TuneStart: Tune Scan and Tune Start are new SiriusXM features. The Tune Scan feature scans through songs from your music channel presets. You can end the Tune Scan and continue listening to the currently broadcast song in its entirety. With Tune Start, whenever you tune to a preset music channel, the current song will automatically start playing from the beginning. *
- Use TuneMix™ to hear a mix of songs from your favorite channel*
- Song Alert & Artist Alert: Get alerts when your favorite song, artist or team is playing. Want to make sure you hear your favorite music whenever it’s being played? With SongAlert™ and Artist Alert™ you can get notified when your favorite songs or artists are being broadcast on any SiriusXM station. With the push of a button, you can jump right to that broadcast and catch the songs you want to listen to.*
- Discover new music and tag for purchase with iTunes radio tagging: When you hear a song you like, simply press and hold down the Volume button for two seconds (depending on your radio). The iTunes® Tagging feature lets you Tag songs you hear on SiriusXM and stores the info on your iPhone®. The next time you connect your iPhone to iTunes, you will be able to preview your selections and then purchase and download them directly from iTunes.*
*Aftermarket car receivers that are SiriusXM ready from name brand manufacturers like Kenwood, Pioneer, Alpine, JVC, Sony, Clarion may vary from model to model as to which special siriusXm features they support. Ask your salesperson to check if there is a special feature or group of features you want.
Remote Start Benefits You Can Feel!
Having one of our National Auto Sound & Security Remote Convenience Packages installed in your vehicle is the best solution to get great remote start benefits and beat the cold, freezing and snowy winters that we face here in Kansas City. Imagine before coming out to your vehicle you just touch your smart phone or push a button on the car remote and like magic from the warmth of your house or office your vehicle starts, the heater blows hot air and the windows automatically defrost. It’s like sitting by a warm fireplace. Could there be anything you could do for you or your loved ones to make life more comfortable?
|Remote Start Your Vehicle – With a push of a button start your car from inside your home or office. Vehicle runs for a designated amount of time, usually around 15 to 25 minutes and automatically shuts off. Run time choices are programmable at time of installation. Remote start benefits begin with a quality remote start installation by National.|
|Two-Way Remote Start System – Many of our remote convenience packages have two -way communication between the car and you. When you lock your doors or start the car remotely, the remote start system pages you back and confirms it carried out your command. This way you know for sure your car really did start or you know that the doors are locked. Don’t you think it’s worth the peace of mind to have the confirmation that your car is locked and safe?|
|Turns your heater on – Leave your heater set before you exit the vehicle. When you remote start, your car will automatically warm up.|
|Defrost your windshield automatically so you don’t have to get out and scrape it. It make sense to get a remote convenience package from National and save time and energy scraping your windshield on those freezing days, don’t you think? Remote start benefits worth having.|
|Parking Lights – stay on when remote start is running. This is a visual indicator of remote start status.|
|Rear Window Defroster – while this option is not available for all vehicles, we can wire many cars to automatically defrost the rear window when you remote start. Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to scrape your rear window again?|
|Double the benefits by cooling down your car in Summer. Avoid a sweaty interior and hot seats. We forget how easy it is to use National’s remote start convenience packages in the summer to make you more comfortable before driving your otherwise hot car. I don’t know about you, but most people don’t like getting into a car that’s 105 degrees inside, do you? This is one feature people use all the time in the summer as part of their other remote start benefits.|
|Local Remote Start Warranty & Support from National Auto Sound & Security – Take advantage of our over 125 years of combined experience from our staff and the 48 years we’ve been in business serving clients like you. We want to keep earning your trust and your business, you want quality service and support. Do you see how our 125 years of combined service and experience could be of benefit to you?|
|Lock & Unlock Doors – This feature is called key-less entry. Many cars today already have this feature, but it doesn’t always come automatically with a remote start. It depends on your vehicle and sometimes on your choice of options. This feature can normally be added to any vehicle with working power door locks even if you don’t currently have keyless entry. Also, on some cars the existing keyless entry won’t unlock the doors when the car engine is running. But don’t worry. Our remote start convenience packages do. It’s nice to know we’ve got you covered, isn’t it?|
|Car Finder – option which allows you to use your car’s horn and lights to alert you to where your car is parked. The older we get the more forgetful we become. Where did I park my car anyway? Sound familiar? See, remote start benefits keep going and going.|
|Pathway illumination – option that we install which allows you to turn on vehicle headlights to illuminate area before approaching car or to help light the pathway to your front door. Its important to provide safety and security for your loved ones, wouldn’t you agree, when they are approaching or leaving their car?|
|Our Remote Take-Over Feature – Available on most of National’s remote convenience packages. When you pull up to your destination, this feature allows you to leave your car engine running while you take your keys, lock your vehicle and temporarily leave the car to buy gas, groceries or get the mail. Keeps the heater going so the car remains warm. I don’t know about you, but I use this feature all the time. Don’t you think it’s great getting back into a warm car when the cold wind is blowing?|
|National’s Vehicle Security Systems – full aftermarket security to protect against vandalism or break in. Installing a remote start security system doesn’t cost that much more and gives you lots of added benefits. Protect your vehicle contents from theft. Safeguards against broken windows and vandalism where factory security doesn’t. It’s no fun to loose your iPad, laptop, or business tools to vandalism. Is it worth all the hassles of loosing your valuable information or tools even if your home-owners insurance pays? And that’s after paying your deductible, finding your receipts and having the insurance company depreciate them.|
|Protect Expensive Wheels & Tires – National’s Digital Tilt Sensor trips the aftermarket security system whenever it senses your car being jacked up when someone is intending to steal your wheels and tires. We can add this to any of our remote start security systems. Short of posting a guard around your vehicle, there isn’t anything that gives you more security than that for your wheels or tires. Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to protect your investment? Remote start benefits worth having.|
|Our Extended Range Systems– All our remote convenience systems have range far superior to original equipment factory systems. Even then, we can install extended range systems having 2,000 to 5,000 feet of range. Five thousand feet is almost a mile! Perfect if you work in an area of questionable reception or greater distance. Wouldn’t it be great to start your car from your desk in your office with no need to run to the other side of the building or go outside?|
|Infinite Range + Start your Car from your Phone – If you have a smartphone, now you have the option to start your car, lock and unlock the doors, pop the trunk and also tie in vehicle security and tracking features to your phone so you have instant information or control at your fingertips. Can you think of a remote convenience package that’s more convenient than that? National installs these packages daily.|
|Pop your hatch from your phone or from the remote control. This is an option we can install with most of our remote systems if you have an electronic hatch or trunk release button in your vehicle. A helpful feature when you have an armload of kids or groceries, wouldn’t you agree?|
|Find the exact location of your car through GPS – Smartphone vehicle locating or tracking services are available from us in two different brands. They can be part of a remote start and vehicle security system or can operate separately. Want exact step by step directions back to your car? Where did I park that thing anyway? Concerned where a loved one is late at night? Ever wonder if your teen is speeding? Want a curfew alert for a teen? Want to know if your loved one has driven into a dangerous area or out of the area you want them to stay in? Want to know where their car is parked or where it has been parked? Want to learn more? Come in and talk with one of National’s experts about our vehicle tracking systems.|
|Text & Email Alerts – Did you know you can get instant notification on your phone or through your email about your car or the person who is driving it with optional Smart Start or Drone tracking packages? Has someone been speeding? = Text Alert. Did my security system go off? = Text Alert. Has my loved one driven into or out of a designated area? = Text Alert. Is it past their curfew? = Text alert. Security and tracking features can be part of the remote start benefits in a complete convenience package.|
|Low Battery Voltage Warning – This is a text alert that is automatically sent to your phone if your battery voltage drops to a dangerously low level. The alert does require the purchase of a smartphone GPS package. However, some of National’s remote start convenience packages can be set to automatically start your vehicle if your voltage gets too low so your battery remains charged, without the need to purchase a GPS system. This way the remote start system can keep your car battery charged so you can get to work the next day with no starting problems. You do want to go to work, don’t you?|
Smart Phone Connectivity; Connect Phone to Car Radio
Smart phones have changed the way people interact with the world for sure, and now with new innovations, they also have changed the way you interact with your in-car entertainment system. Now, all major smart phones can connect wired or wirelessly to interact with your car radio in ways that will completely transform your entertainment experience. We’ll give you a simplified overview so you can better understand Car Play, Android Auto, Car Bluetooth, HDMI/MHL connection, USB, or wireless dongle. Read ON.
Ways to Connect Phone to Car Radio
For iPhone users:
- USB Control:
Current aftermarket car stereos and car video receivers like the Alpine, Kenwood & Pioneer models we carry offer iPhone charging, music play, artist and song display across the screen and control of the song playing functions (play, pause, repeat, skip) by the car radio through the USB input connection. The radio becomes the center of control if you want it to, though you have the option of still controlling with your phone.
- APPLE CarPlay This is Apple’s way of pre-packaging the most commonly used iPhone features including navigation, podcasts, messaging. CarPlay takes the things you want to do with your iPhone while driving and puts them right on your car’s built-in display. You can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, listen to music, all in a way that allows you to stay focused on the road. Just plug in your iPhone to your USB and go. Your car radio must have Apple Car Play ability which many of the newer receivers do. See the CarPlay Video.
- Bluetooth expanded functionality:
With Bluetooth on your phone and in your video deck you can have hands-free interaction and control of selected music apps. Bluetooth isn’t used for video. The deck and phone are “paired” together first as part of our installation. Once they are wirelessly hooked you no longer have to plug your phone into the video deck to listen to your music, you can play your favorite Pandora™ Radio stations, Spotify, AHA Radio or any other internet radio source, talk on the phone hands-free while driving (without the frustrating ear buds) and even use other smart phone apps through the touch screen feature in your video deck. If the phone rings, don’t worry, the music sound will mute automatically and you can talk freely while driving. (The amount of Bluetooth control over your phones apps depends on the level of Bluetooth software you have in your car receiver)
- HDMI/MHL:Through a separate cable available from Apple for use with car receivers with HDMI/MHL jack in rear. However, this isn’t a preferred method for iPhone since the MHL input has limited functionality due to Apple’s restrictions placed on this method. Some information won’t display while driving while other information will display but can’t be controlled from the car receiver’s touchscreen, but only from the phone.
For Android users:
- ANDROID AUTO: This method connects through a standard USB cable connection, like Apple CarPlay. Requires car receiver with Android Auto ability and a compatible smart phone. Android Auto pre-packages the most common things you want to do while driving along with voice command into an easy to use User Interface for your larger car video touchscreen. Android Auto was designed with safety in mind. With a simple and intuitive interface, integrated steering wheel controls, and powerful new voice actions, it’s designed to minimize distraction so you can stay focused on the road. See the Android Auto video here.
- Bluetooth expanded functionality: With Bluetooth on your phone and in your video deck you can have hands-free interaction for music and control of selected music apps. Bluetooth isn’t used for video. The car receiver and phone are “paired” together first as part of our installation. Once they are wirelessly hooked you no longer have to plug your phone into the video deck to listen to your music, you can play your favorite Pandora™ Radio stations, iHeart Radio, AHA Radio or any other internet radio source, talk on the phone hands-free while driving (without the frustrating ear buds) and even use other smart phone apps through the touch screen feature in your video deck. If the phone rings, don’t worry, the music sound will mute automatically and you can talk freely while driving. (The amount of Bluetooth control over your phones apps depends on the level of Bluetooth software you have in your car receiver.)
- USB Control: will charge your Android and on some aftermarket radios it can be used for music input but not on all. Compatibility depends on the make of phone and the brand of aftermarket receiver. There’s no uniform standard for Android for music input through USB. Some manufacturers like Kenwood have their own Android apps that you download to your phone which enables increased USB functionality between your phone and the car receiver.
- MHL/HDMI input: For most current 2015-up aftermarket video receivers with an MHL/HDMI input, many brands of Android smart phones will Mirror Your Phone’s Screen on your car video receiver once the appropriate micro USB to MHL input cable is connected between the phone and the radio. All the icons and apps appear on your car radio just like they do on your phone. However currently in 2015 you can’t necessarily control the apps and icons from the car radio’s touch screen. It depends on the phone and the brand of radio. However you can always control the icons and apps from your phone and see all the content on the car radio’s screen.
Want to learn more about the newest Car Video Touch Screen Features? Click Here: Car Video Deck Features
Questions on connecting your phone to your car?
Come into Our Store and Speak with a real Car Audio Expert!
Remember, car receivers purchased online have no local warranty. Since we are authorized dealers for the brands we sell, we give a local warranty and local product support when you buy from us, especially if we install your purchase.
Great Reasons to Buy an In-Dash Navigation Deck
In-dash navigation systems represent the best technology available and many of these navigation decks are loaded with extra features for accessing your music and information from your smart phone, satellite radio, backup camera, etc. It’s neat to have everything built-in and at your fingertips, working smoothly as one unit not having to bother with cords to connect one thing to another to get the navigation to work right. And Wow! The LARGE screen is really easy on the eyes and fingers. Here are some of the advanced information and car audio features available with in dash navigation systems:
• In-Dash Navigation doesn’t drop out with weak 3G or 4G reception. It’s always there, Reliable! Not dependent on cell phone reception & the area you’re in.
• Real Time Traffic Alerts: Get real-time traffic updates to help you go around traffic problems before you get there. The traffic alert systems will alert you and can re-navigate you around the problem area automatically if you want. Some traffic programs require a subscription, others don’t.
• Split Screen View: Allows viewing the navigation screen on one side along with radio control window on the other. Toggle back and forth via touching the screen or a button.
• Lane Assist with Junction View – The Lane Assist function guides you to the appropriate lane to be in for upcoming junctions and interchanges, and Junction View displays a realistic view of upcoming road details facilitating a safer navigation experience.
• Advanced Speech Recognition (Voice Control) – The Advanced Speech Recognition or Voice Control feature allows for voice controlled operation of the navigation system and allows you to input an addresses and phone numbers, choosing menu options and points of interest by voice. Command the navigation system to “Find the nearest Starbucks” as an example. The voice control system can operate the audio and video systems, allowing the user to change between multiple sources, make phone calls, seek out music and video files and access station presets.
• Touchscreen control of navigation functions – Control your navigation with your fingertips from the large screen.
• iDataLink Maestro Rr: Some In-Dash Navigation receivers allow retention of Factory video display information like gauges, tire pressure, existing satellite radio system, climate information, rear seat entertainment through the iDataLink Maestro connection which is an optional software connection from the new aftermarket video receiver to the car.
• Accessing your Smartphone Apps on your Car Video Desktop: Yes, now you can have selected apps appear LARGE on your 6 to 7 inch car video screen where you can actually touchscreen control them like on an iPad or your smartphone. This is possible with some aftermarket car audio manufacturer’s APP Mode software with iPhones and Android plus Apple Car Play and Android Auto, pre-programmed into most of the new navigation radios to integrate your phone with your dashboard.
• Bluetooth expanded functionality: With Bluetooth on your phone and in your video deck you can have hands-free interaction. The deck and phone are “paired” together first as part of our installation of your purchase, and once they are wirelessly hooked you are ready to go. You can play your favorite Pandora™ Radio stations or any other internet radio source, talk on the phone hands-free while driving (without the frustrating ear buds) and even use other smart phone apps through the touch screen feature in your video deck. If the phone rings, don’t worry, the music sound will mute automatically and you can talk freely while driving.
• Satellite Radio option can be added to most navigation receivers to enjoy seamless radio station access while you drive across the US. If you already have factory satellite radio, it can be retained with most new aftermarket nav decks by the addition of the iDataLink Maestro described above.
Why Buy an In-Dash Navigation System?
Our Experts will answer all of your questions …..
“Which deck is the best for me and my family?”
“Do I have to pay a monthly service charge?”
“Can you connect it to my steering wheel controls?”
“Can you add a rear view camera to the video deck & where can it mount?”
“Do you need to do any custom dash work or modification to get it to fit?”
Questions on Why Buy an In-Dash Navigation system? Come into Our Store and Speak with a real Car Video & Navigation Expert!
Remember, car video products purchased online have no local warranty. Since we are authorized dealers for the brands we sell, we give a local warranty and local product support when you buy from us, especially if we install your purchase.
Choosing a Car Bass Amplifier
So, you’re beginning the process of choosing a car bass amplifier for your new subwoofer system. Your friend said you need at least 1,600 watts and his system sounds great so you shop around. You look at all kinds of amps at different prices. You’re wanting those watts but your wallet has only so much bucks to spend and you’re confused. How do you pick out the right amp?
It’s tough, especially because there’s no real way to compare car amps to one another based on what they say, and the sales people just want to sell you what they want or they don’t really know any more about it than you do (you think). So what do you do?. . . .
Of course I can just say “Come to National Auto Sound and Security where the sales people really do know what they’re talking about and no one will steer you wrong.” But I won’t say that. Instead I’ll try to explain what to be aware of to make a good choice.
First, realize that there exists the “the big lie” in advertising amp power with many brands of amps. Did you know that in car audio it is actually legal (no federal laws prohibits it) for the manufacturer to lie or deliberately mislead you about the power output of their amplifiers. Many o them do this and some brands do it with such exaggeration that it is laughable if you happen to know what is going on. Why do they do this? It’s simple. The bigger number of watts they can print on the the packaging and on the amp, the more likely you are to buy it!
So how to begin? Realistically, you need to take into account everything; the power amp, the woofers you are using or still need to buy, and the box (because all boxes are not the same). Also, don’t forget the installation, or the install parts you will need.
In our store we begin by finding out what result you want and what king of woofers you intend to use.
When choosing a car bass amplifier we try to match the real power output of the amp with the woofer requirements. It doesn’t make sense to spend all kinds of bucks on killer subwoofers that cost $300 each if you only have $150 to spend on the amp. But you say “The amp says 2000 watts. Isn’t that enough to drive my subs that are rated at 1000 watts each?” No! Remember that these manufacturers routinely over-rate their car amp power output specs, especially in the lower price ranges or with the non name brand amplifiers especially the brands you see at flea markets or in pawn shops or online on some sites. These amps are especially likely to be vastly over rated.
As an example, we sell a mono bass amp in a promotional brand that says 1600 watts on it and it sells for under $120. Great deal, right. Yes and no. It’s a good amp for an entry level bass system if paired with the right subs and box, but it won’t come close to driving those expensive subs. Why? Because amps in that price range, regardless of the rating printed on the box actually put out far less than they say. This amp, which can sound good in the entry level bass system puts out somewhere around 75 to 125 real RMS watts per channel. While that’s not a big number, it is actually enough to make affordable subs sound good and beat relatively hard in an economical system. So while you won’t have 1600 real watts, you will have a decent sounding bass system for a budget price if you’ve properly matched your woofers to your amp and bass box. But it takes experience and intelligence to match the products up right. Most customers will make a mistake doing it or will think that this cheap amp should sound like a real 1600 watts. You don’t get something for nothing.
How is the buyer to know how much power the car audio amplifier actually puts out?
Sometimes these car amps are independently rated in magazine articles or in on-line articles, but mostly not. Even online forums may be misleading because one person’s experience won’t necessarily apply to your circumstances and you won’t have enough knowledge to know that. That’s why seeking the advice of experienced car audio professionals will make a difference.
If the car audio manufacturer is a reputable name brand, then the RMS power ratings are fairly accurate. This makes choosing a car bass amplifier easier. However you will have to read the fine print. Often it is the max ratings that are printed on the amp. Max power ratings are made up figures strictly for advertising purposes. You can assume that many 1000 watt amps put out 75 to 250 real rms watts per channel, and the same for 1600 watt amps. We even have some manufacturers who put 3,000 watts max or 4,000 watts max on their car amps that sell for between $150 and $200. These amps are usually also in the same real power range of 100 to 200 real rms watts per channel, often have small fuses or even fake fuses that don’t do anything but mislead the customer into thinking the amp handles more current than it does. The only difference is some of these amps may be physically larger in size (even though the electronic parts inside the amp take up only a fraction of the available space, the rest of the space being empty!), have neater graphics, and portray the myth that they are more powerful when they’re not. Crazy. The buyer assumes he is getting a super deal and a really strong amp but he isn’t. Sorry Charlie. It ain’t happening.
In our store we will give you real world info as to how well the amplifier you are thinking of purchasing from us will work in your system based on our experience with installing it in many other systems. If you need 1,000 watts per woofer to make them hit hard then that’s what we’ll show you. We always recommend an amp we know will work best based on the subs, box and vehicle you have. That’s what working with experienced car audio pros like us will give you. You can’t pick that out of a catalog.
How many watts does it take to get good car stereo bass?
For beginning lower priced systems you can actually have good bass for the lower power ranges of 70 to 125 rms watts per channel even though most of these amps will say 300 to 1,000 watts on them, as long as the woofers are the right ones for the situation and the sub box is the right design to maximize power output. These are things we help you with in our store.
For stronger and louder bass systems, power goes up quickly. That’s because the human ear responds to sounds in a logarithmic way. That’s a mathematical way of saying that if you want to double your volume, you will need to quadruple your real rms power output. It is a car stereo industry acceptable standard that a noticeable or significant increase in sound or bass volume requires a doubling of your real output power! Even though the max rating may say 2,000 watts on your amp, if you have only a real 150 watts rms power per channel, changing to a 200 watt rms car amp (that says 3,000 watts on it) won’t help you much especially for the money you’ll spend and it’s not likely to be louder. Choosing a 300 watt rms per channel amp or a 600 watt mono rms car amplifier will double your power and give you a significant increase as long as your choosing a good brand. Obviously, we carry lots of amplifiers. There are differences in brands and amplifier design. Our experience in using and installing these car amps is the best way to get advice on making the right choice. This is a lot different than picking the amp because its price is cheap online or deciding on an amp because your friends have it.
For doubling your volume you’ve got to quadruple the output power. If you have a 300 watt mono bass amp this means going with a real 1200 watt rms amplifier to get the desired increase in volume. This will be a big jump in price, will require much stronger subwoofers, maybe a different bass enclosure and may require some upgrades to your charging system, like an additional car battery in the rear next to the car amplifiers.
There are other ways of improving sound and increasing volume. Different woofers, a different bass enclosure or subwoofer box design, a charging system upgrade with heavier power cable, extra battery can all make a difference. These are all things we can help you with in our store. We can quickly determine which course of action is likely to bring the biggest benefits for the least cost to you.
In short, the more bass power the better as far as increasing volume goes. Picking the best amp for the job depends on real power output, the type of sub woofers being uses, your box design and the vehicle. These are all factors that an experienced store will take into account in making recommendations. If this makes you feel like you could use a little help, it should. That’s what car audio pros like us do for a living. We solve peoples’ car audio sound problems. If we don’t do a good job, you won’t be back. How does that help either of us.
National Auto Sound & Security has a well earned reputation from many years of helping customers like yourself make the right purchase in choosing their bass amp and subs. We would like the opportunity to help you too. Please stop in. We’re here to serve you.
Example of LOCAL Service & Support from National Auto Sound & Security: A customer was shopping for an in-car video system. Because he was concerned about quality and customer service he decided to shop locally at our store. He knew we’ve been here for many years and had a good reputation for quality work. We showed him a brand we trust from our experience that had a locally serviceable warranty. He decided to purchase it and this qualified him for our full local service and support. He got a competitive National Price and he paid less for his install because he purchased his product here. In fact he got his purchase installed the same day and he didn’t need an appointment. While most customers may not need customer service, nothing man made is perfect, regardless of the brand. And that’s why Local Service and Support is so important.
When this customer unexpectedly had a problem 9 months later, we troubleshot his car video system at no charge to figure out what was wrong. When his equipment turned out to be defective, even 9 months after the sale, we were able to replace it with a new one of the same model. Without our local warranty service and support, the customer would have had to figure out what was wrong himself, remove it from the car himself, contact his manufacturer, box it up, pay the freight, send it in and then wait three to six weeks to get it back. But we replaced it the next day and he was on his way. His kids were happy too. As is human nature, he waited till the last minute to seek service. Yet he still had his replacement product installed in time for his road trip with his family later that week.
Not every incident of local service and support goes so quickly. But one thing is true. With our local support we’re in your corner trying to get your problem resolved as soon as possible. For more information on what our local installation service & customer support includes, click here.
Glossy Capacitive Touchscreen Displays
Now many of the top of the line in dash car video decks are coming with capacitive touchscreen display panels similar to those used on the top smartphone screens. They have several advantages over lower priced screens. The capacitive touchscreens are very quick with their response to your touch, the screens themselves are clearer with better resolution and often brighter, usually made of glass and easier to clean. Both Pioneer and Kenwood use capacitive touchscreen displays in their top models which are on display in our showroom. Certain top models in Kenwood and Pioneer use the newest glossy capacitive touchscreen technology giving higher quality resolution as well as the familiar pinch to zoom feature in the GPS maps & navigation mode just like on smartphones to increase the size of the navigation maps and information on the screen.