Smartkey Starter® 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  or Directed Smart Start 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 either Compustar or Directed will also work with the SmartKey Starter®.  

Adding smart phone integration: will give you unlimited range.  As long as the module in your vehicle has a cell signal and you can get on the internet, you will be able to remote start, lock, unlock, and release trunk (if applicable).  This is the most popular way to extend range.  This feature is an additional module that can be plugged into the SmartKey Starter®.  The Compustar Drone is available for purchase at a discounted rate as a package with the SmartKey Starter®.  When adding to your cart, check the box for smart phone control.   There is a yearly fee for the Compustar Drone.  The Directed Smart Start is also compatible with the SmartKey Starter® and also gives you the same features.  There is a yearly fee for the Smart Start as well.  Both the Drone and Smart Start offer premium plans that allow for GPS services such as: vehicle tracking, speed notifications, geo-fencing, and more.  The SKSNG166D3SKSNG166D4SKSNG204D3SKSNG204D4, and SKSNG221D3 will work with both Compustar and Directed.  For all other models, orders for Directed compatible units will need to be placed over the phone at 312-421-1114.

Adding RF remote kits: RF remote kits are external fobs that can be used to operate the SmartKey Starter®.  Every Compustar remote kit will work with the SmartKey Starter®.  Adding Directed remotes requires an XL202 RF to data transmittor and any remote and antenna combination that works with the XL202.  Both manufacturers offer one way or two way remote options.  One way remotes transmit signal to the vehicle and two way remotes transmit information both to the vehicle and back to the remote.  

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.  

Who can install the SmartKey Starter®?

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 and purchase the EIS removal tool here.  The tool is $29 and is an OEM mercedes tool.

How will my climate 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 my 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 my rear defroster come on?

What about my 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?

  • Since our system is designed specifically for Mercedes Benz, we offer a warranty that is consistent with what is expected by Mercedes owners.  Our warranty for the SmartKey Starter® is 4 years.  Please see our owners manual for more warranty information.

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

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

Does the SmartKey Starter® effect my factory warranty?

  • No- installed correctly, our system does not affect your 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.  

Are you sure it won’t effect my warranty?

  • Yes.  In the United States, there is legislation known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that protects consumers from having their factory warranties unfairly terminated.

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.

Can the Mercedes factory key range be extended?

  • While the range of the Mercedes factory key cannot be extended, you can extend the range of the remote start using either smart phone integration or RF remote kits.

Adding smart phone integration: will give you unlimited range.  As long as the module in your vehicle has a cell signal and you can get on the internet, you will be able to remote start, lock, unlock, and release trunk (if applicable).  This is the most popular way to extend range.  This feature is an additional module that can be plugged into the SmartKey Starter®.  The Compustar Drone is available for purchase at a discounted rate as a package with the SmartKey Starter®.  When adding to your cart, check the box for smart phone control.   There is a yearly fee for the Compustar Drone.  The Directed Smart Start is also compatible with the SmartKey Starter® and also gives you the same features.  There is a yearly fee for the Smart Start as well.  Both the Drone and Smart Start offer premium plans that allow for GPS services such as: vehicle tracking, speed notifications, geo-fencing, and more.  The SKSNG166D3, SKSNG166D4, SKSNG204D3, SKSNG204D4, and SKSNG221D3 will work with both Compustar and Directed.  For all other models, orders for Directed compatible units will need to be placed over the phone at 312-421-1114.

Adding RF remote kits: RF remote kits are external fobs that can be used to operate the SmartKey Starter®.  Every Compustar remote kit will work with the SmartKey Starter®.  Adding Directed remotes requires an XL202 RF to data transmittor and any remote and antenna combination that works with the XL202.  Both manufacturers offer one way or two way remote options.  One way remotes transmit signal to the vehicle and two way remotes transmit information both to the vehicle and back to the remote.  

What if my 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 I am having trouble with my system?

  • If you are having any issues, questions, or concerns with our products, please visit our support page.  It is advised to consult any instruction/installation manuals, troubleshooting guides, or tech documents.  You can also contact us by phone at 312-421-1114 to speak to someone in technical support.  We are available M-F from 10-6 US Central Time.  

What if I need to take my vehicle 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 at 312-421-1114 or sales@midcityengineering.com with your order or invoice number and we will send you a new sticker right away. 

What is the return policy?

  • Returns are accepted within 30 days of original purchase date and may be subject to a restocking fee.