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Discussion Starter #1
This was posted on the Mazda6Tech forum, and I am pasting the original poster's message to save me from having to type the whole thing all over again.

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rrafig wrote: Figured I'd share my experience about the remote starter with you guys.

I got it installed when I bought the car. I like a few things about it but there are quite a few annoyances.
Sometimes it doesn't start the car if I'm too far away and I have no way of knowing since it's not 2 way. That doesn't happen very often, but it does if there are too many things between you and the car.
I've found the range to be surprisingly good. (I can start my car from the 10th floor before I head downstairs.)
I like the fact that the keyfob is very small, though I'd like to see it integrated on the car's key.

Now the problems I have with it:
As already pointed out, when the remote is active you can only open the driver's door.
This is SUCH, SUCH an inconvenience. I can't even describe how frustraded I've been with it. I actually think it was a bug some engineer found on late stage of productions and they made it into a "feature".

This is a big one and you have to be very careful with it. I live in Canada, winter is cold and that's why I have the remote starter.
Well, one morning I started the car via the remote, waited a little bit then I went to the car put the key in the ignition and turned it to the ON position. Walked out of the car and got the snow brush to clean the car. There was a lot of snow so I took 5 minutes to clean, when I was done the car had locked itself with the keys in the ignition. The car was still on, my keys inside and the house locked. I had to break a window to get inside my house to get my spare key. It was either that or freeze my ass off.
What happened was, after 10 or 15 minutes the remote shuts off, it doesn't check if the doors are open or not. It just locks by default when it shuts off the engine. Well, because the key was in the on position the car did not shut off but the doors still locked when the remote starter disengaged. Ok, now what kind of design is this that doesn't check if the key is in the ignition before locking the car???
What if I had a small child in the back seat? What kind of hazzard is this?
I mean, I drive 2hrs to work every day and the car never locks itself when it's moving but as soon as you walk out without your keys... BAM, it's locked. I've learned my lesson. Keep the keys with me at all times, but this is just a heads up for you guys.

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I tried re-creating the same conditions (with the exception of removing the snow, none here at the moment) and got the same result. Fortunately I had my spare key in hand. One more disturbing thing was that while the doors were indeed all locked with the key in the ignition and the car running my spare remote would NOT unlock the doors, and the spare remote start unit would not shut the car off. The only thing I could do was put the spare key in the door lock and unlock the car manually.
I realize this may be a bit of an unusual set of circumstances but still, I have to agree that there's something wrong if the car will lock itself with the key in the ignition.
 

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i would check the rs install/owners manual. with an aftermarket alarm/rs you can choose run time, etc.

i had a rs for years on a previous atx car & i've installed +100 of them. personally, i wouldn't run the car if i couldn't see it.

when activated, the rs must disable the factory alarm in order to start the car. so far as the driver's door being unlocked while the car is running, that sounds like an install problem. it sounds like instead of deactivating the alarm, the rs is unlocking the doors (& turning off the alarm). when the rs stops running, it rearms/locks the doors. it's possible to deactivate the factory alarm without unlocking the door.

it sounds like most of your symptoms are related to the install/options selected through the rs. you had the rs installed by the dealer? i'd have them figure out what's wrong & check the programming options.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i would check the rs install/owners manual. with an aftermarket alarm/rs you can choose run time, etc.

i had a rs for years on a previous atx car & i've installed +100 of them. personally, i wouldn't run the car if i couldn't see it.

when activated, the rs must disable the factory alarm in order to start the car. so far as the driver's door being unlocked while the car is running, that sounds like an install problem. it sounds like instead of deactivating the alarm, the rs is unlocking the doors (& turning off the alarm). when the rs stops running, it rearms/locks the doors. it's possible to deactivate the factory alarm without unlocking the door.

it sounds like most of your symptoms are related to the install/options selected through the rs. you had the rs installed by the dealer? i'd have them figure out what's wrong & check the programming options. [/b]
That is one of the drawbacks of the factory unit.......while most of the aftermarket systems are programmable by the installer and even some options by the end user, the Mazda unit is not. I have both the owners and the installation manuals and there are simply no options to change anything about how the system functions, neither by the installer or the end user. It is what it is as it comes from Mazda, and cannot be changed.

One example which is a major annoyance but not anywhere near the dangerous situation I've pointed out: With the car running on the RS, you are only able to unlock the drivers door with the remote. The only way you can unlock the other doors is to do it manually from the driver's door after unlocking it with the remote. Imagine having an infant/toddler in a car seat that you want to put in the back seat. You can't just walk to the rear door and unlock it without first doing it by way of the drivers door. It somehow defeats the factory keyless entry system feature of opening all the doors with the second press of the unlock button, and once again there is NO option to program anything.

Maybe somewhere there are some options that can be changed but there's no information about it in any of the user or installer literature.

I'm in the process of forwarding the information we've learned to Mazda to see what their comments about it are, and then ditching the factory system if there are no cures for these issues.
 

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I have the factory RS on a 2003 6s, and I AM able to unlock all the doors while the RS is activated.

I'm also pretty sure that I don't experience that "locking of the doors" issue either, but to get around that one would be easy. All you would have to do is, after inserting the key in the ignition and turning it to ON, just tap the brake, which turns off the RS and places the car into actually be on.
 

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still sounds like an install problem to me. the dealer may be able to adjust settings through the OBDII computer port. check with the dealer to see if rs settings are available through the dealer computer hookup.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have the factory RS on a 2003 6s, and I AM able to unlock all the doors while the RS is activated.

I'm also pretty sure that I don't experience that "locking of the doors" issue either, but to get around that one would be easy. All you would have to do is, after inserting the key in the ignition and turning it to ON, just tap the brake, which turns off the RS and places the car into actually be on. [/b]

Yep, but if you DON'T do that your doors will lock when the remote times out. When you put the ignition key to ON it *should* switch the car from the RS to normal running, I believe there's the bug.

Interesting that you have an earlier model that doesn't do the same thing, that was one question I had.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
still sounds like an install problem to me. the dealer may be able to adjust settings through the OBDII computer port. check with the dealer to see if rs settings are available through the dealer computer hookup. [/b]
I'm waiting to get a reply from the dealer about this, I've emailed all of the same information to the service manager.

I've sent the same information the Mazda North America also, I await any response from them.


I"ll tell you what, PM me an email address I will gladly send you the 18 page install manual in PDF file format. If you can find any reference to any programable functions/features or any reference to options that are able to be changed either by the end user or dealer by any method I'll try them. I've read it several times and find no such information. The owners manual is the same dumbed down style of instruction that any car owners manual is these days, and has absolutely no information like that. There is reference to a "programming button" but the only information given in the owner's manual is that it is used to program additional transmitter units to the system.
 

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When you put the ignition key to ON it *should* switch the car from the RS to normal running, I believe there's the bug.
[/b]
take-over usually occurs when the brake is applied. typically, when the brake is applied +12V is sensed at the rs brake input wire that lets the rs know to shut-off.
 

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Yep, but if you DON'T do that your doors will lock when the remote times out. When you put the ignition key to ON it *should* switch the car from the RS to normal running, I believe there's the bug.

Interesting that you have an earlier model that doesn't do the same thing, that was one question I had.


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I have an aftermarket remote start.. when I start my car, I hit unlock (which opens all four doors w/ just one press), put the key in the ignition, turn it all the way (it has an ignition retardant), and hit the brake. Once I hit the brake, the RS function from the aftermarket system deactivates, and it returns to normal.

If I put the key into the igition, and turn it to "on", but don't hit the brake, the alarm will re-activate, locking the doors. If I press the brake at this point in time, the alarm will sound, and I won't be able to put the car in gear.

This is a feature that nearly every aftermarket RS has, and I'm guessing it's the same w/ Mazda's RS. I don't really see it as a "design flaw", however it should be made aware to the customers.
 

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If you can find any reference to any programable functions/features or any reference to options that are able to be changed either by the end user or dealer by any method I'll try them. [/b]
dennis, the manual doesn't reference programmable functions, but i wouldn't rule them out until you speak with the dealer. odds are they'd have to connect the dealer computer system to the ODBII port & scroll through programmable options. i don't have firm knowledge that there are options to program, but i'd press them to connect & try none the less.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
dennis, the manual doesn't reference programmable functions, but i wouldn't rule them out until you speak with the dealer. odds are they'd have to connect the dealer computer system to the ODBII port & scroll through programmable options. i don't have firm knowledge that there are options to program, but i'd press them to connect & try none the less. [/b]
If and when they ever respond to me, or after I have to call to inquire, I'll ask if they have any knowledge of that. I'm also waiting for Mazda to get back to me, maybe they might know as well. Sometimes it seems like the dealers aren't all that familiar with the capabilities of their computers.
 

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Sometimes it seems like the dealers aren't all that familiar with the capabilities of their computers.
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precisely. nothing against the techs, but unless they tried, they probably don't know the possiblities.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
precisely. nothing against the techs, but unless they tried, they probably don't know the possiblities. [/b]
yep, one dealer close to my home (not the dealer I bought the car from) doesn't know how to turn off the seatbelt reminder chime using the computer. That's just sad, doesn't give you any confidence in their abilities to do anything more complex. I watched it done at my selling dealer, took all of 5 minutes and anyone who knows how to hook a laptop (with the correct software, sure wish I had a copy of that!!) to the diagnostic port of the car can accomplish the task.
I also suspect the RS units in these cars are simply purchased from some unnamed OEM vendor who got the contract to supply them to Mazda. They may well be very stripped versions of their more profitable aftermarket lines. Now if I could find out who that vendor was, maybe they might have some answers.

I'm still thinking its just simpler, if not cheaper, to look for a different system......one that lets me program it as I wish.
 

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reading through the directions it appears that the OEM unit was designed to run everything directly through the ECU by intercepting wire harnesses.

aftermarket rs provides a lot of features, but they are extremely intrusive and if installed poorly/improperly can ruin your car. anyone having a rs installed should have it done by a certified/qualified/licensed & bonded shop. a rs isn't a good install to learn on.
 

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yep, one dealer close to my home (not the dealer I bought the car from) doesn't know how to turn off the seatbelt reminder chime using the computer. That's just sad, doesn't give you any confidence in their abilities to do anything more complex. I watched it done at my selling dealer, took all of 5 minutes and anyone who knows how to hook a laptop (with the correct software, sure wish I had a copy of that!!) to the diagnostic port of the car can accomplish the task.
I also suspect the RS units in these cars are simply purchased from some unnamed OEM vendor who got the contract to supply them to Mazda. They may well be very stripped versions of their more profitable aftermarket lines. Now if I could find out who that vendor was, maybe they might have some answers.

I'm still thinking its just simpler, if not cheaper, to look for a different system......one that lets me program it as I wish.
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I actually used to work for the company that produces the OEM RS for Mazda (which is how, even though it wasn't officially an option, I got one installed on an '03). PM me if you want more information, I'm not sure how'd they feel about me naming them in a public forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
reading through the directions it appears that the OEM unit was designed to run everything directly through the ECU by intercepting wire harnesses.

aftermarket rs provides a lot of features, but they are extremely intrusive and if installed poorly/improperly can ruin your car. anyone having a rs installed should have it done by a certified/qualified/licensed & bonded shop. a rs isn't a good install to learn on. [/b]
agreed........i wouldn't even attempt it. :nono:
 

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Is it worth it to get the Mazda remote start, or should I get an aftermarket remote starter?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Is it worth it to get the Mazda remote start, or should I get an aftermarket remote starter? [/b]
I'm not the one to ask that question at this moment. The Mazda unit works well, for what it is. The disatvantages of it are its complete lack of any programmable features that are almost common in aftermarket units. its advantage is it works as designed with the vehicle's immobilizer system.
I don't know if any of the aftermarket companies like DEI have developed a suitable bypass for this car as of yet but have heard stories of some brands requiring the sacrifice of an ignition key to "fool" the immobilizer system, something I would not want to do.
For me, the real annoyances like not being able to program a run time, and most definitely not being able to open all 4 doors with the car running on the remote start would definitely steer me away if I had it to do all over again. If that isn't an issue to you then the Mazda unit is functionally a good one.




I actually used to work for the company that produces the OEM RS for Mazda (which is how, even though it wasn't officially an option, I got one installed on an '03). PM me if you want more information, I'm not sure how'd they feel about me naming them in a public forum. [/b]

Well, Well, Well.........in the meanwhile I did some searching of my own. If you look on the back of the remote starter fob for the '06 cars it had the name "Code Systems, Inc." This is apparently the company that makes the RS unit. They have a website, it has email and phone contact numbers for several departments including OEM questions. I've just sent an email to that contact person, I'll see what they say.

Maybe I'll get some answers :drool:
 

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there are a couple of transponder boxes available for the 6. DEI does not have one at the moment (unless it just came out). they run about $40, and "learn" the key PATS codes.
 
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