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How to Remote Start a Toyota Tacoma: Step by Step Guide

How to Remote Start a Toyota Tacoma: Step by Step Guide

Being able to start your Toyota Tacoma from a distance using a remote is arguably one of the most convenient features available. That said, a surprising number of owners don’t even know they can remote start their truck, let alone how. With a few simple steps, you can have your truck running and ready to go without even leaving the cozy indoors.

To remote start a Toyota Tacoma you must be within 80 feet of the truck and press the lock button on the key fob three times before pressing and holding the lock button a forth time until the truck starts. Press unlock on the key fob to turn it off.

Now that you know how to remote start your Toyota Tacoma with ease, read on to learn more about this feature. In this article, we are going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Toyota Tacoma’s remote start and even help solve common issues drivers experience.

Which Toyota Tacoma Model Year(s) Has Remote Start?

Before you stand outside your Toyota Tacoma and start mashing your key fob’s buttons, you might want to confirm that your model year actually has this feature.

Only Toyota Tacoma model years from 2020 to 2023 have the remote starter feature included in the vehicle’s base build via Toyota Connect.

This means that all 2020-2023 Toyota Tacoma models come with remote start built into the key fob without needing to purchase a hardware upgrade or any special package.

Fortunately, if you have a 2018 or 2019 Toyota Tacoma, you might be able to access Toyota Connect and purchase a hardware upgrade that comes with the remote start feature.

Here’s a video showing how to use the stock remote start feature on the Tacoma:

Check out the most popular Tacoma Accessories Here from Amazon

Can You Install a Remote Starter on Older Toyota Tacoma Models?

The answer to this question depends on the model year of your Toyota Tacoma.

If your Tacoma is from 2012 or later, you might be able to install a remote starter with the help of a certified automotive technician. However, if your Toyota Tacoma is older than 2012, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to install a remote starter without major automotive modifications.

Without these modifications, the remote starter system won’t be able to interface with the vehicle’s ECU (engine control unit).

In some cases, aftermarket remote starters may still be compatible with certain Tacoma models for personal installation without professional help. But this is usually a hit-or-miss affair and isn’t recommended unless you have experience in installing aftermarket electronics.

How Long Will a Toyota Tacoma Run After Using Remote Start?

The remote start feature might be convenient when you don’t want to walk out into the elements to turn on your car and have the cabin start heating up or cooling down, but what if you forget you’ve turned it on, or your morning routine is taking a bit longer than usual? Will your truck just idle away in the driveway indefinitely?

Fortunately, the answer is no. Your Toyota Tacoma will only idle for a maximum of 10 minutes before shutting off automatically. A select number of models from the Houston area can potentially idle for a maximum of 20 minutes if the owner presses the lock button on their key fob once more within those 10 minutes.

Remember that you can also turn your Toyota Tacoma remotely by pressing the key fob’s unlock button once, if you realize you won’t be driving it as soon as you initially planned.

Why Does My Toyota Tacoma Shut Off After I Open the Door?

One of the most common issues that perplexes Toyota Tacoma owners is when their truck automatically shuts off when they open the door after they’ve started it manually.

This is a safety feature that helps to prevent theft. When you open your door, the Tacoma’s computer will shut off all power to the vehicle to ensure it can’t be driven away by random individuals.

It will only restart when the start button on the dashboard is pushed, and its computers have confirmed that the connected key fob is present.

The follow-up question owners tend to have after discovering that this is a built-in safety feature is whether it can be disabled. The short answer is no. Some people have found ways to bypass the feature and keep their trucks running, but these methods are rarely safe for your vehicle’s overall systems and will leave it extremely vulnerable to theft.

Why Isn’t My Remote Start Working?

The remote start feature for your Toyota Tacoma quickly turns from one of convenience to one of frustration when you realize it isn’t working. Before you take your truck and key fob to a professional, try troubleshooting the problem yourself.

Some reasons why your remote start isn’t working include:

  • You aren’t pressing the lock button quickly enough or the necessary amount of times
  • You aren’t holding the lock button long enough for the truck to start
  • Your key fob’s batteries are low and need replacement
  • Your key fob is damaged and in need or repairs or replacement
  • You’re too far from your truck (must be within 80 feet)
  • A backup key fob is inside the truck

If you find that your remote start feature still isn’t working after troubleshooting the causes above, the next step would be to assess your truck for an explanation.

Easy places to start would be to confirm that your Toyota Tacoma is in park and that it’s hood is fully closed. Next, check your coolant and oil pressure to make sure the coolant temperature isn’t too high and/or the oil pressure isn’t too low.

All of these could disable your remote start until the issue is addressed.

The only thing left to do if these steps don’t fix your remote start is to get professional help. You might be able to start at your local automotive shop for a quick and cheap fix, but since this feature is connected to a lot of electrical wiring and computer systems, you’ll likely need a specialist, such as a mechanic or an individual at the nearest Toyota dealership.

Check out the most popular Tacoma Accessories Here from Amazon

Final Thoughts

Any proud owner of a Toyota Tacoma manufactured between 2020 and 2023 can use the built-in remote start feature with a few presses of your key fob’s buttons. If you find that yours isn’t working, make sure you follow the instructions for use properly and then refer to our troubleshooting options listed above.

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