Smartkey StarterĀ® for Mercedes Benz: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SmartKey Starter®?

  • The SmartKey Starter is a seamless remote start solution for Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles and Sprinter vans.

How does it work?

  • Out of the box, the SmartKey Starter® will work off of the factory key fob.  All passenger vehicles can be remote started by hitting the ‘panic’ button one time.  The panic feature will work as designed by holding down the panic button.  The Sprinter van will remote start by hitting the ‘lock’ button on the factory remote three times.  There are also several ways to add extended range remote starting, lock, and unlocking capabilities.  The Compustar Drone  can be added to the Smartkey Starter® and will allow for operation from a smart phone or computer anywhere in the world.  Extended range RF remote kits from Compustar will also work with the SmartKey Starter®.  

How long will it run?

  • For all passenger vehicles, the remote start factory setting will run for 15 minutes.  For the Sprinter Van, the stand-alone remote start time is 1-hour.  If an alarm is being integrated with the Sprinter remote start, the run time will be controlled by the alarm brain.  For all Next Generation (NG) hardware units ( SKSNG166D3SKSNG166D4SKSNG204D3SKSNG204D4, and SKSNG221D3 ), the run-time is field programmable.  For all other SKU’s, custom run time needs to be programmed upon ordering. 

How is it insalled?

  • The SmartKey Starter® is a revolutionary way to install a remote starter.  Nearly all models are 100% plug-and-play and none of our units require any programming.  Once you install the system and run the engine for 30 seconds, remote start will work right away.  All SmartKey Starter® kits come with a T-harness that plugs in behind the Electronic Ignition Cylinder.  Our T-harnessing requires no cutting or soldering.  All of our harnessing comes with OEM connectors to ensure reliability and ease in installation.  Most vehicles with Keyless Go (push-button start) require a jumper harness to either a CAN distribution block or Keyless Go module.  This harness also requires no cutting of wires of soldering.  

Does the installation require any specialty tools?

  • In most cases, the tools required for the SmartKey Starter® installation are standard torx screwdrivers and panel removal tools.  However, for some models, removing the EIS (electronic ignitino cylinder) is either required or very helpful for the installation.  To remoe the EIS, some models require using an EIS removal tool to remove the metal ring that holds the EIS in the vehicle’s dash.  This tool is not required for all models. You can see the full list of required or recommended vehicles here. EIS removal tools are available for purchase form Compustar or from a Mercedes Benz dealer.  D4 units require EIS jumper modification.  EIS jumper modification requires a proper bench soldering station.  See EIS modification manual for example of required equipment for the EIS jumper. 

How will the control settings work?

  • Upon remote start, the climate control settings will remain the same was they were the last time the vehicle was shut off.  To ensure optimal comfort, set climate control to desired temperature before you shut vehicle off.  

Will heated seats turn on automatically?

  • For all Next Generation (NG) hardware units ( SKSNG166D3SKSNG166D4SKSNG204D3SKSNG204D4, and SKSNG221D3 ), the heated seats will turn on when the outside temperature is below a programmable threshold.  The default setting is < 41* F.  From the steering wheel, you can set the temperature threshold to <32* F or <50* F or return to the factory setting.  Any temperature can be set from a computer using a Compustar programmer and computer.

Will rear defroster come on?

What about cooling seats?

  • For all Next Generation (NG) hardware units with the exception of the W166 platform ( SKSNG166D3SKSNG166D4 ) cooling seats can be programmed to come on at a desired tempurature with using a Compustar programmer and a computer.  If you contact us, we can pre-program the unit to trigger the cooling seats at a desired temperature if your model is applicable.  

What is the warranty?

  • The warranty for the SmartKey Starter® is 4 years.  Please see owners manual for more warranty information.

How do I know if it is compatible with a vehicle?

  • Click here and choose your vehicle to purchase and get vehicle specific information.

Does the SmartKey Starter® effect the factory warranty?

  • No- installed correctly, the system does not affect the factory warranty.  Because the harnessing is plug-and-play, the integrity of the vehicle is not disrupted.  The system can be installed and removed with no signs of it being installed- there are no cut wires.  

What is the range of the factory key fob?

  • For passenger vehicles, Mercedes lists the factory key fob range at 200 feet.  The Sprinter is about 30 feet. The Smartkey Starter® will be effective from key fob at the same maximum distance that you can currently lock and unlock the doors using the factory remote.  If you find that your range is far below the Mercedes listed range, you may need to replace the battery in your remote. 

What if the  vehicle does not have a ‘panic’ button?

  • Vehicles without a panic buton that are covered by the SmartKey Starter® can still be remote started using the factory remote.  For passenger vehicles, there is a ‘lock-unlock-lock’ sequence that can be utilized for remote start.  The Sprinter Vans can be remote started by hitting the lock button three times.  

How do I program ‘lock-unlock’lock’ remote start sequence?

  • For all Next Generation (NG) hardware units (SKSNG166D3, SKSNG166D4, SKSNG204D3, SKSNG204D4, SKSNG221D3) if no panic button is detected, ‘lock-unlock-lock’ remote start sequence will be set automatically.  For all other passenger vehicles, please consult this application note for ‘lock-unlock-lock’ programming procedure.   Sprinter vans (SKS906) do not require programming to utilize lock-lock-lock remote start.  Once the system is installed and the valet switch on, start the vehicle manually and let run for 30 seconds- remove key, close all doors and attempt to remote start.

What if the vehicle needs to go into service?

  • While the SmartKey Starter® does not disrupt the Mercedes diagnostic process, it is required to put the system in valet mode before any service is done to the vehicle.  This is most important for safety reasons. For information on valet mode, see next question.

How do I put the SmartKey Starter® in valet mode?

Valet mode is required before any service is performed on a vehicle with SmartKey Starter® installed.  

  • For all Next Generation (NG) hardware units (SKSNG166D3, SKSNG166D4, SKSNG204D3, SKSNG204D4, SKSNG221D3): see options settings procedure in SKS NG Reference Manual
  • For all other SKS hardware (SKS906, SKS164, SKS211, SKS220): see SKS FT Owners Manual

What is the orange warning sticker in the kit for?

  • Every SmartKey Starter® kit comes with an orange and white warning label.  Installation of this label is required.  This label is to inform anyone performing service on the vehicle that there is a remote start system installed and to make sure that the system is in valet mode. If you did not get a sticker with your kit, please contact us.