Key stuck on your Passat ignition?

I have a fairly new VW Passat and the key fob has been randomly stuck in the ignition when I turn off the car.

Thanks to the Internet and the awesome community at I found that there is an easy way to release the fob when this happens to you. Simply put the car in park and push the button on the side of the shifter a couple times and you’ll hear the fob release.

I called my VW dealer when it happened to me and the guy on the phone said he had never heard of the fob getting stuck. Maybe all dealers should read vwvortex as well.

I’ll still have VW look at the problem but it’s nice to have a workaround until I can get in for service.


    I was a VW service advisor for 3 years, and constantly reading VW Vortex — perhaps your service advisor lacks initiative or the enthusiasm of dealing with VW’s :)

    I went thru 2 advisors during my stint and neither one of them took an active interest in the product.

  • Cizzle

    Thanks, buddy. Saved me a whole lotta time and trouble!

  • Brett Peters

    VW Vortex has been a far greater resource to me than any VW dealer I’ve visited, which is really too sad.

  • Michael Stephan


    This can be caused “accidentially” if the shifter is pushed into the “OVERDRIVE” slot. If the button on the shifter handle does not release when it is pushed into PARK, just moving the shifter into the overdrive slot “AGAIN” which should cause the button on the shifter to pop out as usual, and in turn, allow the ignition key to release.

  • blindsquirrel

    Michael, I can definitely see how that can happen, but in my case at least, I must have moved that shifter 100 times and it never made a difference. It wasn’t until I hit that button a couple of times that it finally released.

    What’s interesting is that this happened a few times and has not happened since.

  • Michael Stephan

    This just happened to me in my Father-in Law’s car! I moved the damn thing 20 feet, and in doing so, accidentially shifted into the overdrive gate, and took in right out. Then shifted into park but the button and key were stuck.

    My Father-in-Law thought I broke something, and took the car out and drove it around with no luck. It wasn’t until we wwere back out in the driveway, and I remembered the “accidental” overdrive shift. He repeated the shift into the overdrive gate, and then back to park and “voila” problem solved!

  • robyn

    this post was a life saver… i thought i was gonna have to go to the dealership tomorrow and pay to have this crap fixed

  • cmhodgson

    I want to thank you for posting this information as it was extremely helpful. I own a 2006 and 2008 VW Passat and accidentally inserted the wrong key into the ignition. Using the information posted above I was able to release my key from the ignition. Thanks again, it was a true lifesaver!

  • Mary

    Thanks – that solved my stuck-key problem!!

  • Jim

    This fixed my problem too. Thank you very much!!! 10 below zero here and the wind chill is more like -30.

  • Lonnie

    This blog was very helpful, I'm in DC for the Inaugeral festivities and a tow truck just wasn't an option.

  • Larry

    Great, have this problem and this is the first site to come up… But you NEVER put in how to fix it and I can't find it in anymore…

    Can you just add HOW you fixed the problem?


  • blindsquirrel

    Larry, I did say how to fix it in the post. Put the car in park and press the shifted button a few times and the fob will release.

  • Sheri

    I tried it, but the buttin on my shitfter won't even let me push it. It is stuck, but thnx anyways it was worth a try.

  • Christi

    Awesome! Thank you! Saved me a lot of money!

  • rstuetzle

    My Passat is a 2006 and has no overdrive button. The key is stock and no mater how many times I presss the button on the side of the shifter, the key will not release.
    Any new ideas?

  • Tom

    Thanks for the the post. It helped me this morning!

  • Eddy Frost

    Brilliant – worked for me! Thanks.

  • Ken

    My 1999 Passat had a more severe problem. I have had the problem discussed by others but my shifter would not enter PARK easily and the button would not come out. Since the temperature was around zero fahrenheit I decided to leave the key in the ignition and remove the fob so I could at least lock the car. I assumed that as soon as temperature reached 32 degrees to shifter would work normally and a few days later the tempertures rose and the problem disappeared.

  • Judah Rosenthal

    Thanks! Now my car doesn't have to go into the shop for “at least a day”. VW folks said they'd never heard this either (& your incident was from 3 years ago…)

  • Andrew

    Thank you so much locked my 07 passat with my wifes keys . She has a 2010 passat. Pushed the fob button and the keys came out. Thank you so much saved me money.

  • Tdinh

    Thank you! I was watching a friends car and needed to move it off the streets and the same thing happened. Read some other blogs about issues with wires but didn't find any to jiggle. Found your site and it worked like a charm. Thought I was going to have to take it in before they came back.

  • Jmart0169

    THANK YOU!!!! I appreciate your help! this really worked. We accidently used an old key we had lost and it got stuck in the ignition.

    Thanks again


    This is a major design flaw

  • Mtywe

    Ok, I have a 2002 passat and recently had this issue but what I found to work to prevent this is to first put the car in park Secondly take your foot off the brake then turn the car off. Since I’ve done this the key has never gotten stuck in the ignition.

  • Philax5

    It worked for me and my 2000 Passat…I couldn’t push the button with the shifter in Park, so I moved it down and over all the while pressing the button. The button went in after moving the shifter out of park, and voila!  Thanks!

  • Drizzo36

    Wow! This just saved my Dad a whole bunch of money as we were going to bring it to the dealer… ’99 Passat and the shifter button was stuck. We’d been trying everything to get this fixed and AAA had no clue. Thanks!!!

  • Seedz00

    Yay for the Internet! My 1 key is now FREE from my 2008 Passat!!!

  • Bob-brendayeadon

    Our key had been stuck for several days and we were bewildered until today when we found this informational sight.  So relieved to have this remedy in case it happens again on our 2002 Passat.  Not to mention my budget has been spared.  THANK YOU!   

  • Michael Pardee

    Glad to see this post is still helping people years later.

  • Debbiealderson91

    Where is this fob button??? I have a 03 passat

  • Michael Pardee

    The button is on the side of the shifter handle.

  • Lfcreek

    Thanks it worked for me to. I also  pulled off the silver cover on the button. That seems to help also

  • Fmspaint

    thanks for this sight spent 1/2hr trying to get key out of my 2000 passat…looked at this sight..2mins later key was in my hand..much appreciated…

  • Michael Pardee

    Glad this still helps people years after I posted it.

  • Jazmin Dominguez

    I have a 2002 VW Passat Turbo engine, I put the shift on the plus sign then went back to park and it certainly fixed the problem! Thanks!

  • Donna Elgin

    Tried all of this and a couple other suggestions as well. It still won’t come out. 2003 Passat

  • cocolero

    2012 Passat key stuck and now released after 1 hour of trying. Now it takes some jiggling to take it out every single time. Will have to take it in for a warranty service (yet again)

  • Joe

    Omg thank you so much!!!!! I was at the gym scared I’d miss my class and be stuck with my stupid key in the ignition until a shop opened in the morning. One quick google search and 30 seconds later I was headed into the gym, key in hand.

  • Petar I

    Thanks, man
    It works, you saved the day.
    By accident i had my passat key in my wive passat ignition on sunday late afternoon.
    Thanks to your post it’s all good.
    Appreciate your help.

  • Lanez Wynn

    This just happened to me today. I have a 2007 Passat and it was saying my steering wheel was locked and next thing I know my key was stuck. after 1 hour of trying to release it I got online and saw this. and in a matter of seconds I had my key back. Thanx so much because I was ready to tow my vehicle in to see what was wrong.

  • Pinkfloyd43

    HELP, dont know if this is still active or not. 2006 VW Passat with stuck key. The ‘push button’ on the gear shifter does not seem to push at all, nothing? Help as it’s my kids car and its outside with the keys in it. If possible reply to thanks

  • Rob

    My passat 2007 is not auto key stuck

  • Jessica Wilkinson

    Totally just worked for me. Silly car!

  • Lcee

    Wow this jus saved my life thanks!

  • Michael Pardee


  • MJKC

    Still helping people…THANK YOU for posting this!

  • Michael Pardee


  • MrsBudz

    My niece has a 2000 Passat and the key just got stuck in her ignition. Did a quick google search and got your page. She did exactly what you said IT WORKED!!! Thanks!

  • Rachael Louise Denham

    We have a VW Passat 2008 manual and the key fob is stuck in the ignition. How can we get it out?