Toyota owner’s of 2018 models or newer may find that one morning there car or truck will not start remotely when using the key fob. That’s because a lot of late model Toyota owners are not aware of the fact that the remote start feature is a subscription service and that their free trail time period just ran out.
The remote start feature is tied to an audio package call ed “Remote Connect” and the length of the free trail period depends on the audio package that’s included with the vehicle.
To make this situation even more confusing is only some Toyota models support the Audio Plus or Premium Audio packages that the free trail is offered with, kind of like satellite radio.
What this means is the key fobs remote start function is tied to the audio package that comes with the car and when the free trails period ends the vehicle owner will be required to pay a monthly subscription rate.
While a car with Audio Plus gives drivers the luxury of free remote start using a key fob for three years, a car purchased with Premium Audio offers free remote start for 10 years. After that, drivers will have to pay the $8 / month or $80 / year price for the full Remote Connect service, which includes the remote start feature for the key fob.
On Toyota’s Remote Connect page, it’s not entirely clear that the key fob’s remote start functionality is included within the plan. It says that the Remote Connect service lets drivers use their smartwatch, smart home devices, or smartphone to start their cars, but there isn’t any mention of using the key fob for remote starts.
And, it looks like some users have been aware of this for years. In a thread dated back to 2019 on the Toyota Nation forum, users discuss the key fob’s remote start functionality — some users claim that their key fob is still able to start their car remotely, however most of the users on this thread own a Toyota that’s 2018 or newer, which means they may still be covered by the free trial.
To view the entire Toyota Remote, Connect package information, double click on the PDF below.