Toyota's Key Fob Remote Start Will Now Require a Subscription Fee

Subscription-based features are taking over the automotive industry—and now they're coming for your key fob.

Posted: 12/29/2021
 Automotive    Toyota    Accessorize  


Toyota owners enjoying the remote start feature on their 2018 or later car may be in for an unpleasant surprise. They may have to pay an unexpected subscription fee to keep the feature working.

Remote start is one of the most convenient features available on modern cars. It lets owners turn their locked car on remotely from the key fob or, in some cases, an app on their phone. If you live where the winters are cold or the summers are hot, it lets you get the cabin to a reasonable temperature before you enter it.

Toyota's system works two ways. One is through an app on the driver's phone. The other is through a button on the key fob.

But thanks to a little-noticed change that may date back several years, neither will work indefinitely.

The News May Not Be New

The change was first spotted by an eagle-eyed Reddit user, then confirmed by The Drive.

On 2018 and later Toyotas, remote start is part of the Toyota Remote Connect suite of services. A Toyota spokesperson told the site, "the vehicle must be enrolled in a valid subscription in order for the key fob to start the car remotely."

It's not clear when the change began. Several automotive websites are reporting it as news this week, but we found a discussion of the issue on the ToyotaNation enthusiast forum as far back as 2019.

Subscription Includes Other Services

Buyers get a free trial of Toyota Remote Connect that ranges from three to 10 years on all new Toyotas, depending on the model. After the trial period expires, the service costs either $8 per month or $80 per year.

Toyota Remote Connect includes other features that might make it worth the investment. It features in-vehicle Wi-Fi, a function to help you find your parked car, a system that lets you check the odometer and fuel level remotely from your phone, and certain teen driver controls for parents.

Since most of us have lived most of our driving lives without remote start functionality, many Toyota owners could decide to let the feature expire. But the change is in keeping with a trend we expect to see more of in coming years. Automakers are increasingly focused on subscription services and other ways to make money from the cars they've already sold.

MARS Remote Start Options

This article is by Sean Tucker and provided by Kelly Blue Book originally posted:

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