How to Program a VW Key Fob

by Ashley HayUpdated August 14, 2023
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There are two types of Volkswagen key fobs: individual and integrated. With both versions, you can open, close and unlock the trunk of your Volkswagen at the touch of a button. In addition, electronic ignition keys are becoming increasingly popular as an added convenience and safety feature and can only be used if programmed into the vehicle's engine and starting system. Whether you have a switch or a key fob, the programming process is basically the same on all Volkswagen models.

How to Program Your VW (Volkswagen) Key Fob and Ignition Key

1. Get the VW key and Lock All Doors

Get into your Volkswagen with the key and lock all the doors. Put the key in the ignition switch, but do not start the engine. Turn the key forward until it clicks once.

2. Exit the Vehicle

Exit the Volkswagen and make sure all doors are closed. Lock the driver's door manually with the key and avoid using the remote control. Leave the key in the door lock.

3. Unlock During Programming

During programming, press the "Unlock" button on the remote control. A single horn beep indicates that the programming process has started and the doors are unlocking. If you are programming multiple remotes, repeat this step by pressing the Unlock button twice for the third remote and three times for the fourth remote.

4. Get back in the Vehicle

To program the ignition key, get back in the car, make sure all the doors are closed and turn on the ignition. Press the "Unlock" button on the radio key and wait six seconds.

5. Press Unlock Second Time

Press the unlock button a second time and wait for the horn to sound.This is the sign of successful programming.

6. Turn off Engine

Turn off the ignition and remove the key. You must also remove the key from the door lock to exit programming mode.


You may need to reprogram all key fobs when you reprogram a single key fob.

Dealership Programming vs. Do it yourself: Key Cutting and Programming Process for your Volkswagen

When it comes to programming or pre-cutting a key for your Volkswagen, you have two main options: visit a showroom or do it yourself. Here's what you need to know about each method:

Dealership programming:

For many retailers, this is a one-stop solution for all their essential needs. Whether it's a standard key or a high tech remote, your dealership has the tools, experience and genuine OEM parts to ensure everything meets specifications.

Benefits of In-Deal Programming:

  • Expert Service:‌ Dealership technicians are specially trained for Volkswagen models.
  • OEM parts:‌ You are guaranteed to receive a genuine key specially designed for your specific model.
  • Warranty coverage:‌ Many dealerships offer a warranty on the new key and the programming procedure.
  • Additional Services:‌ Many dealerships may offer additional services such as battery replacement or duplicate key programming at a reduced cost.

Disadvantages of Dealership Programming:

  • Cost:‌ Typically, the dealership will charge more for key cutting and programming than the home improvement or local locksmith.
  • Time:‌ Depending on dealership schedules, an appointment may be required and service may take longer.

DIY programming procedure:

For those who are busier, the do-it-yourself approach offers a potentially inexpensive alternative. This method is based on a specific programming operation that you can carry out from the driver's seat of your Volkswagen, as explained earlier in this article.

Advantages of self-programming:

Cost Savings:‌ You can save big by avoiding merchant fees.

Convenience:‌ You can carry out the programming process at home at a time that suits you.

Personalization:‌ You can choose to purchase a second key or a die-cut keychain to suit your preferences. (I had my key fob with a Mercedes futuristic style customization)

Disadvantages of self-programming:

Possible errors:‌ Without professional advice, there is a risk of errors in the programming process.

No Guarantee:‌ If something goes wrong, you may not get the same protection that your dealership offers.


Choosing between a dealership or a do-it-yourself approach to a milling key or a programming procedure depends on your needs, skills and budget. While the reseller offers a professional and potentially hassle-free experience, the do-it-yourself approach offers flexibility and potential savings. If you are not sure whether you can carry out the programming process yourself or whether the cut key requires complex technology such as an immobilizer or a transponder, the best thing to do is to seek professional help from a dealer. Always consider the specific Volkswagen model, the type of key required and refer to your vehicle's owner's manual to make the best decision for your situation.

Remember that in order to program another remote control in your Volkswagen, you must program at least one remote control. If not, your local dealership can offer you alternatives. Programming a Volkswagen key or fob is a simple process that should only take a few minutes from the driver's seat.

How to Reprogram Your VW Key Fob and Ignition Key Including Replacement Keys and Battery Replacement

What is a VW Remote Key?

A VW remote key is a sophisticated device that combines traditional car keys with modern technology. In addition to starting your vehicle, a VW remote key allows you to control various functions, such as unlocking and locking doors, opening the trunk, and sometimes even remote starting the vehicle. It includes features like keyless entry, and may come with transponders for added security. Models like the Passat, Jetta, and VW Golf often come equipped with these smart keys.

What is the Cost for Key Programming?

The cost for key programming for your Volkswagen model, such as a new key fob or replacement keys, can vary widely depending on the specific key type, location, and whether you opt for a dealership, locksmith, or DIY approach. Typically, professional programming ranges from $50 to $200. If it includes a cut key or other specialized features like an immobilizer, the price may be higher.

Can You Program a Key Fob Without Going to the Dealership?

Yes, you can program a key fob, even a VW key fob, without going to the dealership. While dealerships have specialized tools like VCDS to make the process efficient, many Volkswagen models allow you to program a new key or keyless entry system using a relatively simple procedure as described above.

Can I Program a VW Key Myself?

Certainly! With the proper know-how and following the right programming procedure, you can program both the VW key and key fob yourself. It’s essential to follow the specific steps and use the original key when required. If you need to resync or reprogram aftermarket keys, the process may differ slightly, so always consult your vehicle’s manual or online resources.

How Do I Resync My VW Key to My Car?

Resyncing your VW key to your car is a straightforward process and usually involves the following steps:

1. Get Inside Your Vehicle:

With your key, enter the vehicle, close the driver’s door, and ensure all other doors are closed.

2. Insert the Key:

Put the key into the ignition but do not turn it.

3. Press the Unlock Button:

On your key fob, press the unlock button not the lock button, and hold it down.

4. Turn the Key:

While holding the unlock button, turn the ignition to the "on" position but do not start the engine.

5. Release the Unlock Button:

Release the unlock button and then press it again.

6. Turn Off the Ignition:

Turn off the ignition and remove the key. Test the key to ensure it has been resynced. Exit programming mode by disabling the Immo functionIf you experience difficulties, you may need to consult your vehicle’s manual, a professional locksmith, or your local VW dealer for assistance.Whether you're dealing with a VW Golf, GTI, or any other Volkswagen model, programming, resyncing, or replacing keys and key fobs doesn’t have to be complicated. These convenient devices, available also in other brands like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes, are essential for modern driving and offer convenience and security. Understanding the intricacies a

Video: How to Program a VW Keyfob

Helpful comment from this video:

  • Fabulous! Thank you so much. It saved me loads of money trying to get my 2007 VW Polo key reprogrammed. Awesome.
  • This worked perfectly on my older model Tiguan. Thank you!! Later, when my other key fob stopped working (while at the mall, so no second key fob), I did the exact same procedure, except I opened the driver's side door, locked the central lock (on the door), unlocked, closed the door, then pressed the unlock button on the key fob twice (no horn, but after removing key, the key fob works). So for my Tiguan, the procedure works, except you don't need the second key, instead, use the central lock on the door.

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