Getting Synchronized - 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Getting Synchronized

February 13, 2012

vw jetta tdi sync.jpg

The Jetta's key fob had a mind of its own this weekend. The thing did just fine when it came to opening the car, but it wasn't quite pulling off the job of locking the Jetta's doors securely when I was ready to exit the red four-door and go on my way. Click, click, click. I'd press the thing over and over again and still it wouldn't do as it was told.

I figured the key fob battery couldn't be the issue, since the red light on the fob lit up when it was activated; also, when I locked the doors (while seated within the car, using the interior door locks), the key fob opened the locks without a hitch.

After poring through the owner's manual for a moment or two, I learned the source of the problem: The car's key needed to be synchronized. Read all the thrilling details involved in this process after the jump.

The first step involved whipping out the fob's key bit, which I then used to pry open the cap on the front driver-side door handle. Doing so left the handle looking a bit exposed, as shown in the photo below.

vw jetta tdi dh.jpg
Next, I pressed the "Unlock" button on the key fob, and quickly followed that up by inserting the bit into the door lock (the manual says insertion needs to take place within a minute of pressing the "Unlock" button). Then I entered the car and started the ignition.

After following those steps, the fob was back in sync with the car, and I was able to use it to lock the doors. And what caused this lack of synchronization to befall the Jetta in the first place? The manual says the fob and the car may become out of sync when the fob's "Unlock" button is repeatedly pressed while outside operating range.

Have you ever had to synchronize your car's key fob? Was the process as simple as it is with the Jetta?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 17,162 miles

Leave a Comment

Past Long-Term Road Tests

Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411