Why does a Volkswagen key cost so much?
Where did Volkswagen come from?
By 1937, Adolf Hitler had already been in power for four years… (Wait what Adolf??? Just bear with me…) and was already working on his political goals with the National Socialist German Workers’ Party—more widely known as the Nazi Party. During this time, Hitler was hard at work on one of his major promises to build more roads and highways to better connect Germany as a whole.
But, along with this major project, he also had a different, smaller goal: to create and mass produce an affordable, fast car that could be purchased for around 1,000 Reich marks—which translated to around $140 at that time. This led to the creation of the state-owned car company Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH—which was later shortened to Volkswagenwerk, which meant “The People’s Car”—on May 28, 1937.
Today, we know the company simply as Volkswagen, one of the most popular car brands in the world.
Because Volkswagen was a state-owned company, run by the German Labor Front, a Nazi Organization, in the city of Wolfsburg. Although it was created in 1937 it was not until the following year that, at a Nazi gathering, Hitler declared that the first “people’s car,” the KdF (Kraft-durch-Freude)-Wagen, had been built; giving people an answer to their automobile needs and desires.
But, the car still was not displayed publicly until the 1939 Berlin Motor Show—the very same year that the Second World War broke out. As a result, just as quickly as production had started, it came to a screeching halt. It was not until the war had ended that the Allied forces would work to help Volkswagen rebuild and revive the German car-making industry.
Since then, Volkswagen has worked tirelessly to create new, innovative cars that are available worldwide. With technological advances constantly being made, the new Volkswagen cars are nothing like the original KdF—and they certainly are not as cheap. Now, even the key that you use to unlock your Volkswagen can cost you, should you have to replace it.
What the key is made of
Back in the day when you lost your keys, all you had to do was go to the locksmith and get a new one made for a couple of dollars. But, these days, thanks to new and more advanced security features, that is no longer possible, especially for your Volkswagen key.
This is because all Volkswagen cars—and most new cars—come with something called an immobilizer, which is a special piece of technology in the key that helps to prevent your car from being stolen. Altogether, a whole new Volkswagen key can cost upwards of $300 to replace.
The Shell is the Cheapest Part of It
Like with everything, there is a breakdown in the cost of your replacement Volkswagen key. The plastic shell that encases the immobilizer, for example, is cheap compared to the rest of the key. These shells only cost a couple of dollars and help to protect and cover the more expensive part of the actual key.
The Immobilizer is Where the True Cost Is
It is when you start to look at the immobilizer where the cost of a replacement Volkswagen key starts to go up. The immobilizer, as mentioned before, is a sort of anti-theft system integrated into new car models. It consists of a special chip called a transponder.
When the key is put into the ignition, something called a reader coil will read the transponder to ensure it matches the system. If it does, the car will be able to start and you can go about your drive. If not, the car will not start and will also shut itself down, preventing you—or a potential car thief—from doing anything.
Moreover, now that cars have keyless entry, the immobilizer is even more important, because if the key is not recognized, you will not even be able to enter the car, adding a further level of protection.
You cannot just go to your local AutoZone for a replacement immobilizer. To get this, you have to have to go to the dealership or a reputable third-party service. They will then help you to make the key and program it, using your car’s specific key codes.
This process has to be done with each and car every key that is made, which is part of why it can cost so much more.
The Key is Laser-Cut for Your Car
The final factor in your Volkswagen key pricing is the fact that it is laser cut specifically for your car. Laser-cut keys, unlike ordinary keys, are cut using special lasers, which make them thicker and slightly less grooved.
The machines used to cut these keys tend to be very expensive and would be more difficult to find at an ordinary locksmith, leaving you with fewer options on where to go. If you cannot find a certified locksmith that offers laser-cut key services, then your only option will be to go directly to the car dealership.
But, again, if your car key is one with an immobilizer, then your only real option is to go directly to the dealership or legal third-party who has access to the tools required to activate the immobilizer.
While it may sound ridiculous to have to pay so much just to replace a single car key, all the added safety benefits make it truly worth your while. This is especially true when you consider the immobilizer and transponder and the way that they can help prevent your car from being stolen.
If you really like the idea of your car having extra security without having an actual, loud alarm system, then a key with an immobilizer and laser-cut design is well worth considering. Of course, nowadays, most new cars on the market make use of this technology to some extent, so regardless of it being a Volkswagen key or not, you will likely have to spend a pretty penny in order to replace it.
In the long run, however, you will have the peace of mind that, without that special designed key and immobilizer, nobody will be able to get into or take your car. In fact, it has been proven effective in preventing car thefts since more car makers—Volkswagen included—began implementing this technology.
There you have it, the reason behind the crazy cost of your Volkswagen keys. Of course, if you have an older model, you may not have to spend as much since the technology may not be as advanced. But, for keys of the newer models of Volkswagen cars, you will spend upwards of $300 to replace them. The shell of the key is not worth very much at all; what you are really paying for when you replace your Volkswagen key is the laser-cut design, coupled with the presence of the immobilizer technology.
As much as it may hurt to have to pay so much to replace your Volkswagen key, you should be grateful for the added protection it offers. So, if you want to avoid having to pay that price, be sure to never lose your keys!