PhotoGuy asks: "I went to install a remote car starter in our Honda last week, which used to be kind of an elegant hack (like a controlled hot-wiring of your car), only to find out that additional expensive parts and modules were required, due to the anti-theft system on the vehicle, where the car's computer would not let it start, unless it received the right code from the magnetic encoding on the key! In order to install a car starter, you have to actually put a spare key to the vehicle *in* the add-on module to let the car starter do it's thing. Yeah, that makes me more comfortable, leaving a key installed the remote car starter. That sucker went back to the store pretty quickly, that's way too much work, when a dealership can do it for me. Is the slight reduction in risk of theft of your vehicle, worth that much loss of freedom of choice and control?"
"Ever since electronic ignitions, and especially ones controlled by computers, it seems the "hackability" and user-maintainability of cars has been declining. Your neighborhood grease monkey can't do much to a modern car without a bunch of electronic gear interfacing to the car's computer. It's almost a little anti-competitive.
Carbeurators, and the other mechanical systems which were fairly standard and visible and self-evident, really seem to be the equivalent of "open source", while the new computer-based systems seem to be more closed and proprietary. I know in the early days of cars with computers, there were third party ROM upgrades for performance tweaking; I'm guessing that's falling by the wayside more and more, as these systems get more and more complex.
It almost seems like a Microsoft-like statement, to tell you they're doing all of this to reduce theft, while really they're doing it to ensure you are forced into coming back to their dealerships..."