A Volkswagen key fob is a wireless remote that allows you to lock and unlock your vehicle from a distance. It also enables keyless ignition and other convenience features. Over time, the small battery inside the fob will drain and need replacing. Replacing the battery yourself is an easy and affordable alternative to taking it to the dealership. With some basic tools and a few simple steps, you can have your VW key fob working again in no time.
Table of Contents
- Purchase a Replacement Battery
- Gather Necessary Tools
- Pry Open the Key Fob Casing
- Remove the Old Battery
- Insert the New Battery
- Reassemble the Key Fob Housing
- Sync and Test the Key Fob
- Troubleshooting Tips
- Benefits of DIY Volkswagen Key Fob Battery Replacement
- Keyless Ignition Issues After Volkswagen Key Battery Replacement
- DIY Key Fob Battery Replacement for Other Volkswagen Models
- Warning Signs of a Dying Key Fob Battery
- Volkswagen Key Fob Battery Life Expectancy
- Cost to Replace Volkswagen Key Fob Battery
Purchase a Replacement Battery
The first step is to purchase a new battery for your Volkswagen key fob. VW uses CR2032 coin cell batteries in most models. You can pick one up for just a few dollars at any auto parts store, electronics retailer, or even online. Make sure to buy a high quality battery from a reputable brand. Avoid cheap knockoff batteries that may not last as long. When selecting the replacement, double check that it is the correct CR2032 model.
Gather Necessary Tools
Replacing the battery in a VW key fob requires only a few basic tools:
- Small Phillips-head screwdriver
- Non-conductive flat head tool or old gift card
- Clean cloth
You likely already have these items around your home. Make sure to use a plastic or wood handled screwdriver to avoid accidentally discharging the old battery. Any flat, non-conductive tool, like an expired credit card, will work to pry open the case. Lastly, have a clean, lint-free cloth on hand to wipe away any debris or fingerprints. Avoid using any conductive metal tools during this process.
Pry Open the Key Fob Casing
Volkswagen keys have a seam that runs along the perimeter of the fob. Wedge your non-conductive flat-head tool into this seam to gently pry apart the casing. Take care not to damage the plastic housing. Work your way around the edge, separating the two halves of the remote. The exact method can vary slightly depending on your VW model. With some careful prying, you’ll hear the pieces click apart. Pull the remote open to access the internal circuit board and battery.
Remove the Old Battery
Once inside the fob, you’ll see the small, round CR2032 battery mounted to the circuit board. Carefully slide the old battery out from under the retaining clip. Make sure you don’t touch the circuit board while removing the battery. Dispose of the depleted battery properly by bringing it to a battery recycler or hazardous waste collection center. Never throw lithium coin cell batteries in the trash.
Insert the New Battery
Before putting in the new battery, use your cloth to gently wipe away any dirt or debris inside the key fob. Avoid touching the board or any components with your fingers. When the inside is clean, take your fresh CR2032 battery and slide it into the holder, ensuring the positive side faces up. You may need to bend the retaining clip gently to fit the battery into place below it. Don’t force the battery, as this could damage the board or clip.
Reassemble the Key Fob Housing
With the new battery installed, you can reassemble your VW key fob. Line up the front and back halves and press them together until they snap securely into place. Don’t force the pieces; they should click together easily when aligned correctly. Double check that the casing is fully closed all the way around.
Sync and Test the Key Fob
The final step is syncing your key fob to your Volkswagen and testing it. Get in your vehicle with the newly replaced battery and turn the ignition to the on position without starting the engine. Press any button on the remote to sync it to the car. Then try locking and unlocking the doors, as well as using keyless ignition if equipped. As long as your key fob is within range, it should work perfectly. If it doesn’t, you may need to repeat the sync process.
In most cases, swapping out the battery will get your VW key fob working again. But here are some basic troubleshooting tips:
- Ensure the correct CR2032 battery is installed properly. Double check the polarity.
- Try re-syncing the fob multiple times. It can take a few tries.
- Check for damage to the circuit board or worn contacts.
- Metal tools can discharge batteries; use only plastic or wood.
- Weak batteries may test OK; replace them with a fresh, high-capacity one.
If you still can’t get the remote to work, it may require professional service or replacement. But a simple battery replacement solves most non-functioning key fob issues.
Benefits of DIY Volkswagen Key Fob Battery Replacement
Replacing the battery in your VW key fob yourself has several advantages over paying the dealership to do it:
1. It’s Fast and Easy
The entire battery swap process takes just a few minutes with simple tools. No programming or coding is required. Anyone can pop open their key fob, swap the battery, and be back on the road in no time. The convenience of doing it yourself means you avoid being without your key for hours or days.
2. Significant Cost Savings
While dealers and locksmiths may charge $50 or more, the DIY battery costs just a few dollars. You’ll save quite a bit of money by purchasing a basic CR2032 replacement battery from any retailer and doing the work at home. The savings really add up if you have multiple VW remotes that need new batteries.
3. Maintain Full Functionality
When you replace weak batteries, you restore your key fob to full functionality. All the buttons will work properly at extended ranges. Keyless ignition, alarm, door locks, and other features are back to peak operation. A new battery keeps your key fob working just like it did when new.
4. It’s a Good Skill to Learn
Replacing the battery in your Volkswagen key fob is an easy task that builds useful DIY skills. Learning how to work on your own car – even for simple maintenance – empowers you as an owner. The next time another battery dies, you’ll know exactly how to get your remote working again in minutes.
For the cost of a CR2032 coin cell battery, Volkswagen owners can easily replace the battery in their key fob remotes. With minimal tools and following some simple steps, your key will be working like new. The ability to quickly fix your own dead key fob comes in handy.
Keyless Ignition Issues After Volkswagen Key Battery Replacement
Many modern Volkswagens use keyless ignition systems that allow you to press a button to start the vehicle as long as the key fob is inside. This convenient feature relies on a battery-powered signal from the remote. If you replace your key fob battery and then have issues using keyless start, there are steps you can take to troubleshoot and restore functionality.
1. Resyncing the Remote
The first thing to try after a battery swap is manually resyncing the key fob. With your key nearby, turn the ignition to the on position without starting the engine. Press any button on the remote to sync it to the vehicle. Retry keyless ignition. If it works, you just need to link the fob again.
2. Checking for Damage
Inspect your key fob closely for any damage during disassembly or installation of the new battery. Make sure the circuit board is not corroded or cracked. Look for bent or broken plastic pieces. Any physical damage can prevent proper syncing.
3. Trying a New Battery
Weak lithium coin cell batteries can sometimes pass as good. Try installing a brand new, high quality CR2032 battery from a leading manufacturer. Avoid no-name batteries that could be faulty. Proper voltage is required for syncing the keyless system.
4. Getting a Replacement Key
If your key fob is still having issues, the remote itself may need replacement. Volkswagen can provide a new key fob and program it for your car. This will ensure all the electronics work properly for keyless functions.
With most battery swaps, resyncing the key will restore keyless operation to normal. But occasionally damaged remotes require professional service or replacement if they will not sync correctly. Troubleshoot any keyless ignition problems methodically after changing the battery.
DIY Key Fob Battery Replacement for Other Volkswagen Models
The battery replacement process is very similar across most Volkswagen key fob models, with only minor variations. Here are some helpful tips for changing the battery yourself on other popular VW remotes:
1. Jetta/Golf/GTI Key
- Use a small screwdriver to pry open the remote along the seam
- Replace CR2032 battery and snap case back together
2. Passat/CC Key
- Carefully pry apart the fob using a credit card
- Slide the old battery out and new one in
3. Tiguan/Atlas Key
- Twist bottom portion counter-clockwise to access battery
- Lift out old battery and insert new CR2032
4. Beetle Key
- Insert flat head into slots along the perimeter.
- Open case and swap batteries; rejoin halves
5. Touareg/Arteon Key
- Press the button to release the emergency key
- Use this to leverage the remote
- Replace battery and reassemble
While most VW keys use CR2032, some Touareg models may require a CR2025 battery instead. Always verify the correct replacement. With a little practice, DIY battery swaps are fast and easy for all Volkswagen keyless entry remotes.
Warning Signs of a Dying Key Fob Battery
Volkswagen key fobs are powered by small lithium coin batteries that gradually drain over time. There are some common warning signs that the battery in your key is running low and needs to be replaced:
1. Reduced Range
As the battery wears down, the operating range of your key fob decreases significantly. You have to be right next to the vehicle for it to lock or unlock the doors. The remote works inconsistently at normal distances.
2. Intermittent Operation
A low battery can cause random, intermittent functionality. The key fob seems to work sometimes, but then might not work at all for periods of time. This gets progressively worse as the voltage drops.
3. Warning Light Illumination
Many VWs will show a flashing warning light on the dashboard when the key fob battery is low. It serves as an indicator to replace it before it fails. Check your model for the specific light.
4. Slow Response Time
It may take several tries to press the key fob buttons before the car responds. There is a noticeable lag between when you hit lock or unlock and when the vehicle reacts.
Pay attention to these signs of a failing key fob battery in your Volkswagen. Replacing it promptly can prevent getting stranded by a dead remote. If you catch it early, you can swap in a new battery and restore normal functionality.
Volkswagen Key Fob Battery Life Expectancy
Volkswagen keyless entry remotes use long-life lithium coin cell batteries that normally last 1-3 years with average use before needing replacement. Here are some factors that influence the typical VW key fob battery lifespan:
1. Usage Frequency
Key fobs that are used to lock, unlock, and start the car more frequently each day will drain faster than those used sparingly. High usage routines shorten battery life.
2. Operating Temperature
Colder winter temperatures can reduce battery life. Keys left outside in extreme heat also deplete faster. Optimal temperatures are around 70°F.
3. Battery Quality
Lower quality No-name batteries often have less capacity and shorter lifespans. Stick with reputable brands like Energizer or Duracell for the best longevity.
4. Model Year
Older VW models with basic remotes tend to get 2+ years per battery. Newer, tech-heavy fobs with added features use more power.
5. Warning Light
Waiting until the low battery warning light comes on greatly shortens usable life instead of replacing it early.
Proactively changing the battery every 1-2 years ensures you won’t end up stranded with a dead key fob. Consider replacing it annually if you live in a climate with extreme cold or heat. Use warning signs as reminders that a new battery is due for the longest operation.
Cost to Replace Volkswagen Key Fob Battery
Replacing the small coin cell battery inside your VW key fob remote is an affordable maintenance task. Here are typical costs:
- DIY Battery – $2 to $5 Precisely
- Locksmith – $30 to $60 Precisely
- Dealer – $60 to $120+ Precisely
The battery itself costs just a few dollars if you buy a CR2032 at any retailer and replace it yourself. Locksmiths or mobile services charge about $30–60, depending on your location. At the dealership, replacing a key fob battery may cost anywhere from $60 into the $100+ range after labor.
Key fob batteries are easy and inexpensive to source yourself online or locally. With minimal tools and effort, Volkswagen owners can handle this maintenance themselves and save quite a bit over professional service. Consider having an extra CR2032 on hand for when your remote inevitably needs a new power source.
A dead battery is the most common reason Volkswagen smart key fobs stop working properly. Luckily, replacing the battery yourself is fast, easy, and low cost. With a new CR2032 coin cell, basic tools, and by following the steps, you can have your keyless entry remote working again in minutes. Understanding how to change VW key fob batteries yourself provides added convenience and savings.