Safe to add remote start to 2013 Jetta with new instrument cluster?

Due to health issues I’m really into temerature control. I usually park my car on a sunny street and though I do use a sunshade and sometimes crack the windows open, it’s usually not enough. Also, the winters are cold around here. So I would like a remote start so that in both summer and winter I can set the temperature controls the night before and then turn it on a few minutes early (or several if necessary) so that I have a more comfortable car when I get in.

I got the instrument cluster replaced on my Jetta two weeks ago (cost $1000) due to intermittent failure to start. I’ve been driving it a lot, including many starts and stops because I sometimes deliver food, and it has been starting nicely and the Service Engine light has not come on at all.

The funny thing is, the electrician who earlier this year successfully replaced the shift assembly, battery and starter in the car due to battery corrosion insisted that an instrument panel couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the car starting or not, and even explained to me how it couldn’t (in a way I can’t remember but made sense at the time.)

Anyway, the dealers said it was due to the security system shutting down my car because it thought someone was trying to steal it, and you couldn’t fix this without replacing the instrument cluster. They replaced it, and now it’s fine.

SO, if I add a remote start, what does it attach to and how does it affect everything? Is it worth taking the risk? Could it cause a fuse to blow? Could it cause the cluster to think I’m stealing the car again or something?

For the sake of this question, don’t ask me if I plan to sell my car soon, or how expensive the remote start will be. I’m mostly concerned about car usability and desire not to screw anything up.

This site and many others get lots of posts from people having trouble with the after market Remote Start systems they have added . I say forget this idea . You don’t really need the problems you might have it the system goes haywire.


Volkswagens are weird beasts. I’m not sure how an instrument cluster could keep your car from starting, and because of that, I’m not comfortable saying that your original problem was fixed with the new cluster.

If a remote start is what you want, then go for it. Find a good, reputable place to install it, though. No Pep-boys, no $1 install places, find quality and pay for that.
Cheap, lazy installs will cause you a ton of problems down the line.

Remotes usually tie into some the same feeds that the dash cluster will- Oil pressure, temps, and then the neutral safety switch, but these are usually not done at the cluster itself.

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I’d avoid the remote start. As you’ve already found out, VW electrical system are complex and prone to failure. Why tempt fate?


I will second @eddo advise: if you want it, it can be done and it can run trouble-free for years, as long as you do not do it cheaply and hastily.

I had something like 5 or 6 cars where I installed “security + remote start” systems myself, and I had a very good experience with Omega’s “Excalibur” systems: they lasted long and I never had problem with them draining the car battery excessively.

Something like 7-8 years back I tried “CrimeStopper” brand and I was really disappointed, replacing it with Excalibur after something like year and half - it plain and simple failed on me. CrimeStopper now seems to be owned by Omega, so hopefully quality will improve.

I’m sure there are other reputable manufacturers, it’s just that once I found something what works, I’m not into searching for more troubles on my back

Installation-wise, here are few notes:

  • I’m 100% positive your VW will have the immobilizer and a chip in the key
  • it will require the special “car BCM interface” of some sort, for example Omega does it as a “blade”
  • it gets programmed to properly read door/hood/trunk sensors, controls doors, engine, etc…
  • installation becomes much faster, compatibility is almost guaranteed

Myself, I’m paranoid and go for all connections to be soldered into the vehicle wiring with no wires cut, as it also contributes to how the system work after few years, when “quick tap” connectors may get oxidized.