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VW Key Fob not Working: Unlocking the Mystery

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VW Key Fob not Working

Your Volkswagen remote control vehicle key is a convenient device that allows you to lock and unlock your vehicle’s doors from a short distance. If it gets malfunctioned, it can be a disturbing matter for Volkswagen users.

So, why is VW key fob not working? Well, if the battery is dead, it won’t work. Or, sometimes the key functionality might be another reason. In this case, reprogramming, or resyncing should be the resolution.

In this guide, we will explore common problems and provide step-by-step instructions to help you resolve the problem. We will also explain how a remote fob works in a Volkswagen. Other associated information will also be shared as well. So, keep on reading!

VW Key Fobs: How They Work?

The Volkswagen (VW) key fob, or remote control, is a component of a remote keyless system (RKS). This RKS includes both remote keyless entry (RKE) and remote keyless ignition (RKI). 

Likewise, the key fob emits a radio frequency signal that includes a digital identity code. This signal is captured by sensors installed in the car. Then, the sensor recognizes the code associated with the key fob and performs a function, such as locking or unlocking doors. 

VW Key Fobs

When the signal is received and recognized, the car’s security system initiates the corresponding action requested by the key fob button.

The keyless entry system for VW vehicles makes use of capacitive proximity sensors, which operate on a similar premise. The system is engaged as early as the driver’s hand into the proximity sensor 2’s field of vision. It makes it possible to lock, unlock, or open the automobile whenever necessary. 

The keyless system does not require the driver to remove the key from their pocket or purse, as long as the key fob is in range of the car’s sensors.

VW Key Fob not Working: Causes and Fixes Analysis

VW Key Fob not Working

Two reasons can cause your VW key fob don’t work. These are dead batteries and loss of synchronization. We will now have both reasons known in detail. So, let’s get started!

1. Dead Battery

The most common cause of a non-responsive key fob is a dead battery. 

The key fob battery can die due to age, usage, inactivity, extreme temperatures, or manufacturing defects. 

Over time, the battery’s ability to hold a charge diminishes. If the key fob is left unused, the battery can discharge slowly. Extreme temperatures can also affect the battery’s performance.

To test if this is the issue, press a button on the remote vehicle key. If the indicator light flashes once, the battery is likely fine. However, if it fails to flash or the light blinks weakly, the battery needs replacement.

VW Key Fob Dead Battery


Volkswagen recommends having an authorized service facility replace the battery to avoid causing further damage. However, if you decide to do it yourself, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Unfold the key bit on the vehicle key.
  • Step 2: Remove the cover on the back of the vehicle key by pulling it back on the side of the folded key bit.
  • Step 3: Use a thin object to carefully pry the old battery out of the battery compartment.
  • Step 4: Place the new battery into the battery compartment.
  • Step 5: Replace the cover and press it down firmly until it clicks into place.

2. Resynchronization

If the battery replacement doesn’t solve the problem, your key fob might need to be resynchronized. 

Battery fob synchronization does not typically cause damage on its own. But mishandling the key fob during synchronization can lead to physical damage to internal components. And the reasons help key fob synchronization issues to happen are:

  • Following an incorrect synchronization procedure can result in functional issues.
  • Electrical surges or interference during synchronization are rare but can disrupt the process and affect key fob functionality.

As a result, it is critical to handle the key fob with care to minimize physical harm.


Follow these steps below to resynchronize the key fob of your Volkswagen.

  • Step 1: Unfold the key bit on vehicle key.
  • Step 2: Remove the cap from the handle of door on the driver’s side.
  • Step 3: Stand immediately next to the vehicle and press the unlock button on the remote control vehicle key.
  • Step 4: Within one minute, manually unlock the vehicle using the key bit.
  • Step 5: Reinstall the cap on the handle of doors.

By following these steps, you should be able to resynchronize your key fob and restore its functionality.

3. Malfunctioning Receiver Module

The VW Golf comes equipped with a fancy remote keyless system. It waits for radio frequency signals from your trusty key fob. But if your key fobs suddenly lose their mojo and you can’t reprogram them, the humble signal guardian may have developed a fault.

Malfunctioning Receiver Module


To resolve this issues, go through the steps below:

  1. Step 1: Find the OBDII connector in your Volkswagen.
  2. Step 2: Plug the diagnostic tool into the OBDII connector. Ensure that it is securely connected.
  3. Step 3: Turn on the ignition of your Golf. This will provide power to the diagnostic system.

The diagnostic device will prompt you to enter information about your vehicle. Make sure to input all the details correctly, including the make, model, engine type, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Accuracy is crucial to obtaining reliable results.

 4. Water Damage

Accidental exposure, such as dropping the key fob in water, can cause water damage. Fully submerging the key fob in water, like in a pool, can also harm its internal components.

Additionally, the presence of water can short-circuit the electronic components of the key fob, corrode the battery terminals, and reducing battery life.


If your Golf key fob stops working after exposure to clean tap water or rain, take immediate action to prevent further damage. Follow the steps below: 

  • Step 1: If your Golf key fob stops working after exposure to clean tap water or rain, take immediate action to prevent further damage.
  • Step 2: Open the key fob and carefully remove the battery to prevent any potential short circuits.
  • Step 3: Gently clean the electronic components of the key fob. These are including the circuit board, with a dry paper towel. Ensure that no moisture or residue remains.
  • Step 4: Allow the key fob to dry fully before reassembling it or inserting the battery. 
  • Step 5: Once the key fob and its components are completely dry, reassemble it and insert the battery back in its place. Test the key fob to check if it’s working properly.

Can a Volkswagen be Unlocked without A Remote Key?

Can a Volkswagen be Unlocked without A Remote Key

Yes. You can still access the car with a master key. Even if you don’t have a master key and your key fob isn’t working either, don’t be tense; you will still be able to enter the VW. Here is a step-by-step process to open the door manually:

Step 1: Locate the hidden keyhole

On the handle of the door of your Volkswagen, there is a small panel with space underneath. This panel covers the keyhole that can be used for manual unlocking.

Step 2: Prepare a tool

You will need a flathead screwdriver or the master key that came with your Volkswagen Passat.

Step 3: Insert the tool

Insert the flathead screwdriver or the master key into the gap underneath the panel. Use it as a lever to release the panel. Apply gentle pressure to pry the panel open.

Step 4: Access the keyhole

Once the panel is removed, you will see the keyhole exposed. It is usually located near the door handle or beneath it.

Step 5: Retrieve the master key

If you haven’t done so already, locate the small button on the side of your remote key. Press this button to release the master key from the remote key.

Step 6: Manually unlock the door

Take the master key and insert it into the keyhole. Turn the key in the appropriate direction to open the door manually.

By following these steps, you can unlock your Volkswagen without using the key fob. It’s important to note that this method is intended for situations where the battery-powered key fob is not working. Once inside the vehicle, you may need to address the issue with the key fob or replace its battery.

Volkswagen Manually unlock the door
If you’re facing issues with your VW key fob, you may also find our article on VW We Connect not working helpful. This article provides troubleshooting tips and solutions for resolving connectivity issues with the VW We Connect system. Additionally, if you’re experiencing problems with VW CarPlay integration, our article on VW CarPlay not working offers guidance on troubleshooting and fixing issues related to CarPlay functionality in Volkswagen vehicles.


Keep on reading! More interesting things to know from here.

Q: How long does the battery in a Volkswagen key fob typically last? Q: How long does the battery in a Volkswagen key fob typically last? 

The lifespan of a battery in a Volkswagen key fob can vary depending on usage frequency and the number of functions activated. Generally, the battery lasts for 4 years approximately. After that, it may gradually lose its charge and requires replacement.

Q: Is it safe to replace the key fob battery myself? 

While it is possible to replace the key fob battery yourself, it is recommended to have an authorized Volkswagen service facility handle the battery replacement. This helps avoid potential damage to the key fob or using the wrong battery, which could lead to further issues.

Final Words

If your VW key fob is not working, there are a few potential causes and solutions. Dead batteries are a common reason for a non-responsive key fob, and replacing the battery can often resolve the issue. However, it is recommended to have an authorized service facility replace the battery.

However, if the battery replacement doesn’t solve the problem, resynchronization may be necessary. And mishandling the key fob during synchronization can lead to physical damage, so it’s important to follow the correct procedure. 

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