Wednesday, November 07, 2007

How to open a Seat/VW/Audi key fob to change the battery


Not strictly tech, but trying to keep technology simple I thought it would be useful for those people with a Seat, Audi or VW to see how to change their car key fob battery. This will save you the expense of going to your dealership to change the battery when it runs flat (or like mine just refuses to unlock the doors - but lock still works)!

I have tried to cover all the risks involved so by reading this you know exactly what to be careful of and what you're letting yourself in for. This is no different to opening any other small electronic device - if you've done that before you'll be fine. Also, I've heard some VW dealers say that changing the key fob battery yourself may disable the immobiliser feature or reset your key. This is nonsense, my key still works fine and there is no electrical contact between the key part and the fob part - well at least in mine (newer keys or cars that detect key battery level may do).

Disclaimer - I take no responsibility for these instructions, you follow them at your own risk.

Following the order of the image photos (click the image to see it full size).

1) & 2) Flick the key out, wedge a thin screw driver into the key/fob divide crack at the key recess edge i.e. the edge of the nail thin line going all the way across the width (parallel to the buttons) - not the hole or groove inside the recess. With the screwdriver wedged into the edge (it should be perpendicular to the key fob) slightly twist or press the screwdriver to force the small crack open to separate the key part from the fob part. Try both the top - button side - and back side of the keyfob. This requires a fair amount of force to get the small key part lip over large fob's lip (see 2) - be careful.

3) & 4) The non-button side of the fob part has a simple clip on lid, this can be opened from the non metal ringed end first using your nail. Note that you should not open this like a hinged lid - it is not hinged and could break a small piece of plastic (shaped like a small "u") at the metal end - see in the top right of photo 4. Note be careful to not touch the small IC (chip) when you have the key open - doing this runs the chance of blowing it with a static discharge from your hand (although 9/10 times you should be okay if you accidentally touch it).

The replacement battery is usually a cheap CR2032.

If you want to see a video of opening these keys - by hand without a screwdriver (somebody has done this a lot - I couldn't do it without a screwdriver) have a look at the "switchblade" link on this VW page

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't find a screwdriver with a thin enough blade so I used a small kitchen knife and this allowed a greater leaverage over a wider area and it worked straight away. Many thanks for a lot of heart ache and probably money.

Anonymous said...

Clear, concise instructions! The new battery is in and the fob is working, Thanks for the help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot! Finally managed to get it open. The only possible improvement would be to have photos of exactly where to place the screwdriver/knife, not only the result. But thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot. You're awesome!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Managed to successfully change two batteries in two fobs. A word of caution though, read sect 2. carefully:

"going all the way across the width (parallel to the buttons) - not the hole or groove inside the recess.

the key should prise apart, its fiddly bit once you study the pics. and exert the right amount of pressure; changing the battery is a doddle. Car central locking and immobiliser work fine.

Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! VW dealers always talked about the $$$ it would cost to change the fob--how they would have had to reprogram it, etc.--but this cost $5 and a little elbow grease. Now I have an extra battery for when the fob in the other VW in the household conks out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, clear instructions, I would not have dared prise it apart without these.

Unforuntately, the remote locking/unlocking still doesn't work after changing the battery. Anyone know what else could be going on before I take this to the dealer? It was not working before I ever opened it, so I don't think I've shorted anything.

Anonymous said...

I changed my battery and had the same issue - the fob still wouldn't open or lock the doors. Reading the manual you have to synchronise the fob with the car after a fob battery change. To do this:

1. Press any fob button.
2. Open the car by using the key (the old fashioned way).
3. Put the key in the ignition and start the car.

You should now find that the fob works normally again.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic instructions - just completed this 'repair' on the fob of my UK 2004 Passat.

Took no time at all due to the clear instructions and the fact that we had a CR2032 handy in 'the battery cupboard!'

I found that I didn't need to re-sync my fob.

I was all set to have to reset it with the alarm going at 5 to 11 at night!!

No problems though thanks to such top notch instructions!

I have bookmarked this page and will 'advertise' it to other Passat owners as this is a great money saver!

THANKS!

Anonymous said...

Excellent instructions! I'm glad people like you are around to save us all time and money! Much appreciated.

Paul said...

After having masacred my remote with a srew driver I realized that it is possible to wedge open the remote by pressing up on the edge where the key would normally sit (when its closed).

Not only does this avoid scratches/dents to the remote cover but its much easier.

Anonymous said...

when i got mine open it had two 1620 batteries in it not the 2032's everybody else got...does anyone know an alternate place to purchase these batteries besides the dealer, im pretty sure they will double the cost. and how can i reset the fob if my jeyhole in my door no longer works and i have been relying on the remote for about 6 months now...

thnx to anyone that can help...

email me with suggestions at lisa31380@comcast.net

Indi said...

Indeed Great Instructions.!!
Ours had two 1620 batteries, which was available across the street at a camera shop.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who left the 3 step "reprogramming" instructions on December 13, 2008 - THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! It worked perfectly on my VW New Beetle key. The dealer wanted $100 to change the battery & reprogram the key! 10 minutes on the Web, and $6 at the local CVS for the battery, and I'm back in business.

Anonymous said...

excellent, thanks a lot. been on youtube and they werent showing this kinda key. real help, thanks again. CR2032 it is too!

Anonymous said...

MANY THANKS to the 3 steps reprogramming comment left on Dec. 31.
My remote died when water got in so I took it apart, cleaned it , put it back and it didn't work. I tried to remove the IC board but couldn't and was looking for instruction how to do it. This "reprogramming" made it work! Thanks again!

commentor said...

This would be so much better if, instead of trying to explain what crack to prise using words, there was just an image, with an arrow pointing at the crack. I can't work out what 'parallel to the buttons' means.

Anonymous said...

I had the 1620 batteries as well. I picked them up at a local Radio Shack.

Perry said...

Newer keys are a lot easier: just pull the cover off the battery compartment which is at the rear of the key on the logo side (no screwdriver required). Then thumb the battery out (CR2032), replace it and snap the cover bad on. Mine is from a 2008 A8 (Advanced Key).

The cover is pretty tightly fitted and it looks like a screwdriver will be needed but when the key is open it's really easy to pull it off by hand (pull up on the lip revealed by opening the key).

Anonymous said...

Your help was immeasurable! Such a simple thing to do. I think of myself of mechanically inclined, but this FOB was a rubiks cube to me, until I read your guide. Thanks for taking the time to share the secrets of interlocking plastic. (2004 VW Passat).

ΒΑΣΙΛΗΣ said...

Thank you man.

Gregg Davies said...

Excellent blog. Have struggled for years with this but now have the fob open. Just need the two CR1620 batteries which I hope Tesco will supply. Also hope not to have to re-programme but will use Dec 31st suggestion. (UK 2001 Audi A6)

Anonymous said...

Tried the reprogramming steps as mentioned on Dec 31st but it did not work. I have replaced the battery but the fob still will not work unless I have the fob right at the drivers door lock and even then only 50% of the time. Second fob seems to work fine. Any thoughts?

K-Man said...

Yes - your battery still isn't adequate. Replace the battery and follow the instructions above. IF there is still a problem then you have a bigger issue with your fob.

Thanks for re-programming instructions above - worked perfectly for me with both fobs.

Ditchy said...

Followed the great instructions, changed the battery, job's a good 'un. Saved me a fortune. Very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the remote directions, from how to open the remote to the reset instuctions. You saved me big bucks! I really appreciate all the help!!

Anonymous said...

thanks so much!! youve saved me a fair bit of money lol. didnt think the bottom part could be prised open. many thanks

Anonymous said...

Perfect instrucitons! My ignition key cylinder broke (!!) last week - many more dollars than I wanted to pay later, I was left with an "entry" key, and a new ignition key. The old "one key" had lost it's metal fob piece - I had purchased a "dead" key on ebay, with inspiration from your tutorial - and swapped out two parts. My keys are now on one keychain - at least I can keep them together!

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the instructions - opened like a charm.

BTW - the following are the reprogramming instructions from my Audi dealer:

1. Use key to open and close the door manually - not using the buttons.
2. Then insert key and turn on engine and then turn off.
3. Then try using the buttons on the key fob.

Hope this helps as well.

- 2005 Audi Allroad

dancilhoney said...

Thanks for the help. It was great to find out just what to do, as the user manual says nothing about re syncing the transmitter after a battery change. key fob

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. My Audi dealer wanted to charge me £120 for "reprogramming" my fob as it did not work following a battery change so I walked out in disgust - then wondered what I was going to do!
Instructions from Dec 31st didn't work for me, but the ones from June 3rd did.
Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Though the key fob for my 2001 Golf looks a bit different on the inside to yours, your technique still worked a treat.
A thousand thanks.
You rock. ;-)

Richard said...

Worked well for me. Thanks. The only anyious moment comes when opening the case. finding a "screwdriver tip that closely fits the slot will make this task easier and reduce the risk of deforming the surrounding plastic.

Anonymous said...

VW Touran 06 plate.
Changed battery in key 1 then
opened door with key 2
Put key 1 (with new battery) in ignition and turned to second position.
Opened the window.
Got out of car, closed door and used key 2 to manually lock and unlock the car.
Removed key 1 from ignition and hey presto!
Thanks for this blog, saved me time and money.
They do these batteries (2032) in the 99p stores by the way.

Anonymous said...

Thank you - very, very useful. Stopped a 24yr old's strop in his tracks.

Paul Ad said...

Tried all of the above and still not working. Any other ideas?
Paul

Anonymous said...

Great:) worked for me, thank you

Anonymous said...

Thank you bud you saved me time and money with this blog! Appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Well done - worked just fine on 2005 Allroad fob.

Anonymous said...

Just opened my'99 a6 quatro key for battery replacement.1. Place key flat on table with Audi trademark (4 rings) up. 2.Put blade in crack where notch is(about middle)3. Twist blade slightly toward key end. This should seperate two sections. Batteries(2) are in fob end. 4.End of fob end looks like a sandwich(3 layers).Put blade in first (top)crack to gently lift first layer.Batteries are in top section which you just lifted. Very simple , but seemingly impossible if never having done it.