Fake Volkswagen keys are a problem at local dealerships and are an even bigger problem for the customer because of the results of ordering these non-authorized VW keys online. Customers are trying to save money and buy the VW keys off of sites such as Ebay or Amazon…
BUYER BEWARE: THESE KEYS ARE FAKES!
Some of the words you see used to describe the fake keys on these sites include “uncut” and “shell.” That is it. These VW keys are uncut and more often than not, just a shell. Volkswagen dealerships are not equipped with key cutters for the customer to bring in a key. They are costly and any mistake in the key can break the machine. Volkswagen equips it’s keys with very specific markings and micro chips. When a car is purchased there are two keys that come with the car, depending on the model. Both of these keys are programmed by Volkswagen for that specific VIN.
The keys that are coming from Ebay, and occasionally Amazon, have been reported to dealerships as being empty. This means the microchip and the inner-workings of the key are completely missing. Yes, in the picture they may look like authentic Volkswagen keys, but in person, the immitation keys are made of a different plastic that is lightweight and flimsy versus the heavy duty plastic that VW uses. If a customer purchases one of these fraudulent keys and attempts to put it in their Volkswagen, it will alter the immobilizer in the vehicle.
What IS the immobilizer? This is one of your cars anti-theft services. More often than not the fake key will trigger the car into “safe-mode” and it will shut the whole car down. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE! You will need to call a tow service and get your VW to the nearest Volkswagen dealership. It takes approximately $56 (depending on your location) to reprogram the immobilizer. Once you’ve put in the key and it activates the immobilzer, you will have to get your car re-programmed: There is no way around this.
So, buyer beware. Volkswagen dealerships will not touch these off-market keys. Yes, you may be spending about $230 (key and programming) for a new key, but it is better to get a key from the manufacturer or an actual locksmith than having one that will shut your car off, right?
Here is an awesome article about the VW Keys and the immobilizer from Humble Mechanic: http://humblemechanic.com/2012/07/23/why-does-a-volkswagen-key-cost-so-much/