In the past, everything worked with a single key, and both starting the car and opening the doors had to be done physically. Today’s cars now allow you to unlock doors, open them, and even start the engine with the push of a button. The remote key, the remote control, the card or the hands-free key fobs that we see in high-end models and vehicles like the Tesla make these actions possible, such as starting your car remotely, but if it is from Toyota it will not be free forever.
Remote start in Toyota vehicles
A Toyota spokesperson confirmed to the web The Drive que If a Toyota model year 2018 or later is equipped with the brand’s Remote Connect functions, the vehicle “You must be enrolled in a valid subscription for the key fob to remotely start the car”. And we are not talking about a type of ignition based on mobile applications or online accounts, but the most classic proximity based radio frequency remote start system, in which a button on the remote is pressed to start the car while it is out of it at a certain distance; for example, from the door of the house to warm the vehicle at the entrance on a cold morning before entering.
The remote uses radio waves to communicate with the car, and no connection to Toyota servers is needed. But the feature will require a larger Remote Connect subscription to use it regularly. In this way, when you buy a new Toyota you have theoption to try Toyota Connected Services. These can include features such as emergency assistance, access point connectivity, and application-based services such as remote vehicle unlocking and starting.
Toyota Connected Services with free trial
The duration of the test of the Toyota Connected Services function depends on the vehicle in question as well as the audio package included in the vehicle. For example, vehicles equipped with Audio Plus have a trial of up to 3 years, while Premium Audio can be trialled for up to 10 yearss. Beyond that, drivers will have to pay a subscription to continue using the key fob remote start.
What makes this a bit confusing is the fact that only some Toyota models are compatible with the Audio Plus or Premium Audio packages With which the free trial is offered, and not all, so to know for sure how long you can have the free remote start depending on the car model you have to check it yourself in this PDF.
In the Toyota Remote Connect page It is not entirely clear that the remote start functionality of the key fob is included in the plan. It says that the Remote Connect service allows drivers to use their smartwatch, smart home devices or smartphone to start their cars, but the use of the key fob for remote starting is not mentioned.
And as The Drive points out, it seems that some users have been aware of it for years. In a thread dated 2019 on the Toyota Nation forum, users argue about the remote start functionality of the key fob – some users claim that their key fob can still start their car remotely, however most of the users in this thread have a Toyota from 2018 or newer which means that may still be covered by the free trial.