Ignition Switch Replacement

Just finished replacing this switch and it is ALOT easier than some of the guides for the older vehicles where the ujoint and other random steering wheel components were removed. Most of the guides out there seem to be pre "New Passat".. I just did this job on my 2001.5 GLX and shouldn't take more than an hour. Please Note: Be VERY careful with the airbag as even static or who knows will set the thing off. I recommend you take your car to the shop and have them do it..however, If you feel like taking on the risk yourself, following these instructions will allow you to take off replace the ignition switch.


  1. 4B0905849 on autohausaz.com ($17.00)

Most commonly, the ignition won't turn or will be hard to turn sometimes. This is because a plastic part actually wears down or even cracks over time. Any moving component will fail eventually, these are no exception. In my case, sometimes when I would shut my car off (ignition to off), the electrical system would short out and reset the clock etc.. annoying. A bad ignition switch can cause all sorts of odd problems.

This guide is stolen from various places.. You will need:
Smaller Phillips head screw driver for removing two part plastic shrowd.
T55 bit and rachet for removing steering wheel
Jewelers flat head screw driver for removing tiny screws securing ignition switch to the lock cylinder..

Removal of OEM steering wheels
- T55 torx bit or 12 point bit (12 point can be obtained from VW, or from some auto parts stores)
- Torque wrench (one that will allow you to torque to low settings)
- small flathead screwdriver
- ratchet for torx bit
- extension for rachet and bit
- 10mm socket (to disconnect battery)
- radio security code (for earlier model year Mk4's)

- Make sure your wheels are straight and the steering wheel is appropriately aligned.
- Disconnect the battery.
- Insert key into ignition, and turn to the "on", but not "over" position (this will keep the wheel from locking).
- Turn the wheel 90 degrees to one side. You will feel/see a small hole in the back.
- Insert a small flathead screwdriver into the hole. Make sure the screwdriver is angled such that the handle is against the steering column, and the flathead is as high up within the hole as possible. Make sure to push the screwdriver in as far as you can.
- Pull up on the handle. What you are trying to do is push down on a small spring within the steering wheel that holds the airbag locking latch secured.
- You may have to try a couple times, but you will eventually see, hear, and feel the airbag catch release from the spring.
- Turn the wheel in the opposite direction 180 degrees until you can see/feel the second hole.
- Repeat the screwdriver procedure.
- The airbag should now be released from the steering wheel. However, it is still attached to the wiring harness. Make sure to unplug the harness from the airbag before you pull it out too far from the wheel.
- Place the airbag somewhere secure, with the padding side up.
- Disconnect the wiring harness from the steering column. If you look closely, you will see two indentations in the steering wheel, near the wiring harness, that will fit the harness connectors. Insert the connectors in the appropriate indentations just to get the wires out of your way (this is totally optional, but I thought I would add it).
- Using a T55 torx bit (or a 12 spline tool … commonly called a triple square at some autoparts stores … I can't remember the size, but Lisle makes a kit with four bits, 6, 8, 10, and 12mm), remove the bolt in the center of the steering column.
- Pull the wheel off the steering column.

NEXT: Unscrew the two part plastic shroud that surrounds the steering column. This will allow you to slowly remove a plastic part that hides the ignition switch and other wiring. It looks like you will need to take more of the dash components apart, but on mine i was able to fanagle (technical term) the part down to where it would come off the paddle the lowers and locks the steering wheel. Once this is out of your way, you can disconnect the ignition switch from the black and purple connector that sits on the end of the ignition and key column and replace the ignition switch with your new one.

Other good resource:

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