Installing a Remote Start / 2005 Kia Optima

Not open for further replies.
Jul 7, 2014
Western NY
Hi Everyone,

Hope this is an appropriate section to post this in...
Anyway, I got an Directed Avital remote start unit a few weeks ago. I was going to hire somebody to put it in but the guy I was going to go with has been tough to schedule with, so I started going on my own. So far I've broken the driver's side A-pillar trim
and successfully routed the antenna wire through the passenger side A-pillar trim. I've also figured out how to get most of the interior trim off.

I have a couple of questions I hope I can get some advice with...

The car is a 2005 Kia Optima 2.4l 4 cyl automatic

1) I need to run two wires through the firewall - for the tach, and for the hood open switch. With this car, I'm having a tough time finding a spot to drill through. I'd rather go through an existing grommet, but the only one I can find seems to lead to a mysterious compartment I can't get to from the interior. If I could find a landmark on both the interior and exterior I could measure to a spot that's 'blank' on both sides - but I can't find a common landmark! Any advice with this?

2) Where is the remote start box typically mounted? I was thinking about behind the dash, under the radio. There is a metal bar there I could get some screws into, and it would also be a good spot to mount my ground screw.

3) Are T-taps ever OK? I was thinking about soldering the high current wires (the two +30A current inputs, and the starter wire) and t-tapping into the door lock wires, trunk release, etc. Mainly because it sounds like a PITA to strip and solder tiny wires in a cramped space.

4) Any advice on how to set the defroster on when the car starts? My dash has a momentary button that when I press I hear a relay click. I've got a wire on my remote starter that I can make a pulsed ground - it will go to ground for 200ms after the car starts. I'm thinking that I can hit the hot side of that button and ground it for 200ms and have the defrost go on that way - is this typically how this works? Or would it be better to find the power wire for the defroster and put current directly to it? I've got a 2nd ACC output on my remote start that my car doesn't use - I suppose I could wire that to the defroster?

5) Anyone know where I can get wire diagrams online? I'll go buy a manual if I need to but free is better. And KGIS is no longer free so I can't get the diagrams there. And if I do need a manual, who is better for wiring diagrams? Haynes or Chilton, or another option?

6) Anybody know of a guide to getting the interior trim off? There's a panel by the driver's right foot I'd like to remove if I can

7) Finally, I might do this in stages. Does anyone know what bare minimum circuits need to be hooked up, just so I can get the bare minimum functionality working (car runs, climate control fan blows)? I'm guessing the 2 +30A power connections, ignition, the ACC connection (to get the fan blowing), hood open, brake light, and ground? I might hook up the bare minimum and do the rest (door locks, trunk release, etc). later. Depends on how smoothly things go when I get started.

Thanks everyone!
1. You can pull the tach from the OBD-ii plug, you can drill for the hood switch or you can put a big warning sticker under the hood and an override off switch under the dash.

2. Under the steering wheel

3. Yes, those small wires are a pain. I did not do any aux systems and carry two fobs. I would consider t taps if it were something I could live with if it stopped working. Quality of the taps is important.

4. That would be awesome to have working, but no I never looked into it.

5,6 sorry don't have a kia myself

7. I think I only did 7 wires, but my car doesn't have security fob to deal with. ig1, ig2, acc, brake, power, ground, disable (hood or otherwise).

This was on our 04. My advice even though my bulldog starter still works after 6 years (and was only 19 dollars) would be to forget it and install Dorman seat heaters instead. Same amount of time and the benefit is greater. That I've done on 3 cars now, never did another remote starter.
Originally Posted By: bepperb

This was on our 04. My advice even though my bulldog starter still works after 6 years (and was only 19 dollars) would be to forget it and install Dorman seat heaters instead. Same amount of time and the benefit is greater. That I've done on 3 cars now, never did another remote starter.

Thanks for the reply. I have a plug-in cigarette lighter powered seat heater that's not too bad. It's not the blazing hot heat my departed Volvo had, but it's comparable with the VW's, BMWs and Cadillacs with seat heaters I've ridden in.

My wife has a remote start she won in a raffle and I'm jealous of her frost-free windows and nice warm steering wheel. I don't know what Kia used for their steering wheel material, but it gets painfully hot in the summer and unbelievably cold in the winter. And it's slick as can be in every pair of gloves I own.

Edit: And that's a great idea about the disable switch in place of the hood switch. I'll pick up the tach from the ECU or cluster, and put a toggle somewhere unobtrusive to take the place of the hood switch
Last edited:
A good source for wiring info is You may even find your defroster interface directions there. Look under the "Relays" tab. You may also find wiring info at

To get through the firewall take look at the firewall from inside the car. If a manual transmission was available for your car there should be room to drill the firewall on the left side of the brake pedal bracketry. There is probably a rubber coated foam sound deadening material on your inside firewall. Get a good flashlight and you will probably see a knockout plug in the sound deadening material to your left side of the brake. Pull it off and you may even see dimples in the firewall itself where the clutch would be if you had one. You can tap this area with a long punch and hammer, just dimple it and find the dimple on the engine side of the firewall to be sure it is a safe spot to drill.

The kickpanel is a better and easier ground point. Just ground the unit to clean bare metal under an existing bolt or nut. A good ground is vital for a good trouble free installation. T taps are ok if properly installed. Use 3M t taps only. No other brand is near as good as 3M. For larger wire gauges it is best to use butt connectors or solder and tape. T taps may not stay connected very well on bigger wires. Use only 3M electrical tape. Since you live where it gets real cold it would be best to use 3M Super 88.
Not open for further replies.