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2020 OB Limited XT
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've read so many opinions about remote start & features my head is spinning. Having used the feature several times on the 2020 OB, I can offer some real-world myth-busting.

Test Setup
YMM:
2020 Subaru Outback (Limited XT)
Features: Starlink Safety & Security Plus (remote start key-fob accessory system NOT installed), Keyless Entry
Software: MySubaru app (iPhone 6s Plus), MySubaru Website

Myth #1: The engine shuts off when you open the door if the car has been started remotely.
Fact: The engine stays running when the driver door is unlocked and opened. The car cannot be placed in to drive until you press the start/stop button in the car, with the key fob present. The engine never stops running. Using the remote start key-fob accessory, the manual indicates the engine does shut off when the door is opened. The Starlink system does not work this way with the tested configuration. Adjustable run times are either 5 or 10 minutes.

Myth #2: The Starlink app has very low reviews in the store, must be garbage.
Fact: This is partially true. There are two apps available: Starlink and MySubaru. Both let you start the vehicle and set controls like the climate settings. The MySubaru app is current and works better. I've only had to put my password in one time. I enabled the feature in the MySubaru app to use Apple's Touch-ID (fingerprint) as the "pin" to start the car. The Starlink app does not have this feature, and is less user-friendly as a result. Starting the car with the MySubaru app is quite easy and works well. I recommend using that one.

Myth #3: You can disable auto-renewal for the Starlink subscription.
Fact: This is partially true. You can call Starlink support and they can remove your credit card information (only they can do this). This effectively prevents auto-renew from working as Subaru will have no way to charge you at renewal time. When calling Starlink support to turn off auto-renewal, ask to have your card data deleted instead. Technically, there isn't a way to have the card data on-file and auto-renew disabled. There is currently no way to switch from an auto-renewal plan to any other subscription term (they are all auto-renew). The only choice is to let it expire, then pick a new plan. Hopefully Subaru improves this!

Myth #4: You can adjust the climate settings remotely.
Fact: This is partially true. You can adjust a few of the climate controls prior to starting. Once the car is started, the controls cannot be modified without stopping the engine first and sending another start command. Only the phone app allows for climate setting adjustment prior to starting. The following settings can be adjusted prior to start (as of October, 2019) using the MySubaru app: Temperature, Manual or Full-Auto, Engine Runtime (5 or 10 minutes), Driver and Passenger Heated Seats, Rear Defroster. If "Manual" is selected, additional settings are available: Air Flow (e.g. face/feet, front defrost), Front Defroster, Fan Speed, Air Circulation (fresh, recirculate). Items that cannot be set: dual-zone settings, rear seat heaters, steering wheel heater. The same settings can be set on the main Remote Engine Start page on the MySubaru website. However, it is not possible to change these settings when starting via the MySubaru website "quck start" widget on the main home page. To find the full menu of climate options on the website, select "Starlink" and then "Starlink Remote services" then select "Remote Engine Start". The button looks exactly the same as the main home page remote start button, but now you will see the full list of settings from above.

Myth #5: You can use the regular keyless fob to start the car.
Fact: The manual makes it seem like you can use the regular key fob for the keyless system to start the vehicle (see page 333 in 2020 owners manual). This does not work if the remote-start accessory is not installed (different system than Starlink). You cannot use it to start the car as a "work-around" to the Starlink system or remote-start accessory. Having the Starlink Security Plus system enabled does not allow the fob to also start the car. The full remote-start accessory must be installed first. The feature on page 333 only allows the key fob to act as an "alternative" remote start transmitter, albeit one with less range. (The remote-start accessory includes a separate long-range transmitter fob for starting the car.)

Myth #6: It takes several days for the Starlink system to become activated.
Fact: This may be true in rare cases. In most cases (mine included) the Startlink Safety & Security Plus features worked within about 15 minutes of paying for it. It may depend on your access to the data network the Starlink system uses. If you are concerned about Starlink coverage in your area, I'd actually check with people who use AT&T cellular services in your region. They may know of network dead spots. The OB has an on-board cellular modem connected with AT&T to enable Starlink to work. (Note: This is the same modem used for the vehicle wifi hot-spot. You do not have to have the hot-spot subscription service for Starlink to function. I tested it in both configurations. The hot spot services does not impact Starlink in any way, as far as I can tell.)

Myth #7: You need to purchase the remote-start accessory for remote start to function.
Fact: The Starlink system and remote-start accessory can both remotely start the vehicle. The two systems are totally independent and do not rely on each other to function in any way. You do not need the remote start accessory installed for the Starlink remote start feature to work. The Remote-start Accessory uses a built in radio receiver installed in to the car. The owner must carry a second remote-start fob (which comes with the accessory). This fob is a long-range transmitter which can send a signal to the accessory, starting the car. The remote-start accessory is a two-way system. The remote-start fob can receive a signal back from the car indicating successful start. The Starlink Security Plus subscription also allows owners to remotely start their vehicles (as well as perform other functions). It uses a cellular modem built in to the car to function. As a result, its range is limited to the AT&T cellular network coverage area (which is gigantic). Using this system, it is possible to remote start the vehicle from around the world (as long as the car is in cellular coverage range).

FAQ #1: How long does it take to actually start the car?
Answer: It takes approximately 20 seconds from the moment you press start in the app to the car responding back indicating the engine was successfully started. It takes about 5-10 seconds for the engine to actually start (another 5-10 to get the message in the app). ATT&T cell coverage may affect performance as it uses the AT&T cellular modem built in to the car for the feature. You do not need to pay AT&T for this service, though many trims offer a separate data wifi hotspot that can be purchased from AT&T. This hotspot doesn't impact Starlink performance in any way and does not need to be purchased for any of the Starlink features to work.

FAQ #2: Can the steering wheel heater be turned on remotely?
Answer: The MySubaru app does not allow the user to turn on the steering wheel heater at this time. I also tested turning on the steering wheel heater prior to shut-off, then remote starting. The car starts with the heater off. See the climate settings myth above for a complete listing of all adjustable options.

FAQ #3: Does the car remember dual-zone climate settings with remote start?
Answer: When starting using the MySubaru iPhone app, the user must select climate control settings (it is not optional). This sets both zones to the selected temperature. It will override any previous settings set when the car was parked. Starting the car using the MySubaru website "home page" widget was harder to test. There is no way to select climate settings when starting using this feature, and it appears the last selected remote start climate settings will be used (overriding any settings set prior to turning off the vehicle). To set climate settings prior to remote start via the MySubaru website (different than the home page widget), see details in Myth #4 above.

FAQ #4: How many times can the car be started remotely? Can you request multiple starts at 10 minutes each?
Answer: After requesting a remote start duration of 10 minutes and letting the full 10 minutes pass, the engine will automatically shut off. There is a 20-30 second delay for the car status to be synchronized with the app, during which time the remote start feature of the app can't be used. The engine can then immediately be started remotely again for another 10 minutes. When attempting to start the car a third time, the user is given the following error message: "You have reached the maximum allotted run time of 20 minutes, the vehicle will need to be manually started." The remote start will not function until the vehicle is restarted normally.

FAQ #5: What remote start settings can be set via the MySubaru web site?
Answer: The same settings that are available via the app are available via the website, however they can be a little tricky to fine. The main home page has a button for "Remote Engine Start." Using this button, it is only possible to start the car. The last used climate settings will be set. To adjust climate settings prior to start via the website, navigate to "Starlink" and then "Starlink Remote services" then select "Remote Engine Start". The button looks exactly the same as the main home page button, but now you will see all available settings. See Myth #4 for more information.

FAQ #6: How much does Starlink Security Plus cost?
Answer: Without discounts, the feature costs $149/year. However, discounts and coupon codes are readily available. When purchasing a new vehicle, it is possible to get 7 years for $374.90. For better pricing, call the Starlink support line and work out a deal. The longer the subscription time, the better the deal is likely going to be. You can also ask in the forum for links to any discount codes.
 

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I've read so many opinions about remote start & features my head is spinning.
Internet forums can do that.
don't venture into vinyl record/turntable/audiophile forums and ask questions. It is a black rabbit hole of unmatched immensity in the differing opinions/"facts" you will get. haha. Makes these threads look rather simple. ;)

Thanks for this post!!
 

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Thanks for the post... a question from the time you tell app to start the car how long does it take for the car to actually start?

Thanks in Advance
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the post... a question from the time you tell app to start the car how long does it take for the car to actually start?

Thanks in Advance
Mike
Less than 30 seconds in a normal city setting, including full two-way communication. The app will show a spinning wheel while it connects to the vehicle and starts the car. It will tell you if it was successfully started. Typically for me: The vehicle starts in 5-10 seconds after pushing the button, then it takes another 5-10 seconds for the status to come back to the app and inform the user it was started. The website has a similar notification.
 

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Myth #1: The engine shuts off when you open the door if the car has been started remotely.
Fact: The engine stays running when the driver door is unlocked and opened. The car cannot be placed in to drive until you press the start/stop button in the car, with the key fob present. The engine never stops running. Using the remote key-fob system, the manual does indicate the engine shuts off when the door is opened. The Starlink system does not work this way with the tested configuration.
There is also a time associated with how long to run the engine. It will shut off after that period. It's possible this is what people were seeing and interpreted it as being a result of opening the car door. But yes, if you're within the engine run period, it won't shut off, and you can turn the full car on with a push of the button and the engine will not shut down and start back up.
 

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There is also a time associated with how long to run the engine. It will shut off after that period. It's possible this is what people were seeing and interpreted it as being a result of opening the car door. But yes, if you're within the engine run period, it won't shut off, and you can turn the full car on with a push of the button and the engine will not shut down and start back up.
Or the difference between the Subaru smart start remote vs using Starlink to do it.
 

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There is also a time associated with how long to run the engine. It will shut off after that period. It's possible this is what people were seeing and interpreted it as being a result of opening the car door. But yes, if you're within the engine run period, it won't shut off, and you can turn the full car on with a push of the button and the engine will not shut down and start back up.
Can you change that runtime somewhere, or is it fixed?
Good information here, thanks n2ow for starting this.
 

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Myth #1: The engine shuts off when you open the door if the car has been started remotely.
Fact: The engine stays running when the driver door is unlocked and opened. The car cannot be placed in to drive until you press the start/stop button in the car, with the key fob present. The engine never stops running. Using the remote key-fob system, the manual does indicate the engine shuts off when the door is opened. The Starlink system does not work this way with the tested configuration.
To me this sounds like the only advantage to using Starlink for remote starting. Since using a phone to start my car doesn't appeal to me I think I would be investigating aftermarket options over the Subaru remote start key-fob system. There were some aftermarket systems for the Gen 5 models that sounded pretty good so I imagine in time there will be some good options for the Gen 6 as well. The biggest issue with aftermarket is getting a competent installer that won't do a hack job on the install.
 

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To me this sounds like the only advantage to using Starlink for remote starting. Since using a phone to start my car doesn't appeal to me I think I would be investigating aftermarket options over the Subaru remote start key-fob system. There were some aftermarket systems for the Gen 5 models that sounded pretty good so I imagine in time there will be some good options for the Gen 6 as well. The biggest issue with aftermarket is getting a competent installer that won't do a hack job on the install.
All the climate control settings aren't an advantage to you? To me, that's the biggest one, especially in these weird Fall days where one day it's 85 degrees F and the next it's in the 50s, so you want to start it with A/C or heating depending on what mother nature has in store for the day.
 

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Yep. This is the setting. The available values are 5 or 10 minutes.

10 minutes is the max?
That seems very short! On cold winter days, this won't do much to the snow / ice on the windshield.
My thinking was more like a half hour?
Is the 10 minute max time there also with the purchased (installed) fob remote start?
 

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All the climate control settings aren't an advantage to you? To me, that's the biggest one, especially in these weird Fall days where one day it's 85 degrees F and the next it's in the 50s, so you want to start it with A/C or heating depending on what mother nature has in store for the day.
The Subaru remote start will do that, you just can’t customize it (with the automatic climate control). If outside is above the target temp, it cools the car (AC), if it's colder outside, it warms the car... and if it's below a certain temp (41 I Think) the defroster comes on as well as the heat. You don't think about it, you just start the car. BUT, since the target temp is set... if you like it really cold or really warm the starlink customization would be nice to have to override that default setting.
 

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All the climate control settings aren't an advantage to you? To me, that's the biggest one, especially in these weird Fall days where one day it's 85 degrees F and the next it's in the 50s, so you want to start it with A/C or heating depending on what mother nature has in store for the day.
On my 2017 the settings that come on with the remote start are just fine. When it is cold the heated seats, rear defrost/heated mirrors/heated windshield wiper well, front defroster all come on. What would I want to adjust? I've never used it for the AC when it is hot, and at 50 degrees I can't imagine why I would use remote start at all.
 

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10 minutes is the max?
That seems very short! On cold winter days, this won't do much to the snow / ice on the windshield.
My thinking was more like a half hour?
Is the 10 minute max time there also with the purchased (installed) fob remote start?
Yep, that's the max. Not sure about the fob remote option -- I didn't bother with it b/c of the smartphone function. We're "fortunate" enough to be giving up a small mortgage every month for garage parking in NYC, so we don't have to deal with ice/snow (just the cold and heat); 5-10 min is plenty for us. But I can see how it would be underwhelming if you needed to start melting ice from the car!
 

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On particularly frigid days an idling car is not enough to heat the interior enough to melt show on the windshield anyway. It needs revving the engine for a bit to get temperatures up sufficiently. The seats and steering are the ones that need to be warned up first which 10 minutes is enough I think..
 

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On particularly frigid days an idling car is not enough to heat the interior enough to melt show on the windshield anyway. It needs revving the engine for a bit to get temperatures up sufficiently. The seats and steering are the ones that need to be warned up first which 10 minutes is enough I think..
Works pretty good down to -30F in my experience. How cold does it get where you are? ?
 

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Works pretty good down to -30F in my experience. How cold does it get where you are? ?
-30F here in the midwest as well. My Impreza does not heat up at idle for a very long time (longer than I care to sit in the cold car). When the windshield has iced over snow melt from the day before, carefully driving around in the parking lot for 10 minutes (after cleaning the windshield with a scraper) is enough to start melting the ice.

The steering wheel takes at least 20 minutes of normal driving to warm up to tough with bare hands.
 
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