Volkswagon T5 Transporter Broken Key problem

The Volkswagen Transporter has an amazing fan base, they’re loved more than any other van. We never see an owner getting dewey-eyed over their Ford Transit or Renault Traffic. However, the Transporter is set apart. Then there’s all the add-ons, Transformer stickers, surfing and camping accessories and conversions.


As well as good looks, all Transporters have had a great reputation for reliability. There are so many old T4 Transporters that are still going strong. Therefore, it’s a surprise that the latest T5’s, built from about 2010 have a problem.

Faulty Transporter Ignition Locks

We’ve not seen anything official about this, so we can only say what we see. Around two years ago, we noticed that the new shape of Transporter started to suffer from broken keys. We originally believed it was due to the new style of ‘one-piece’ key, not being as strong as the traditional ‘two-piece’. However, we also started to see Transporter ignitions that were very ‘notchy’ and stiff to turn on. Instead of the smooth action of old, it took a lot of effort to crank the key.


It seems that a fault in the ignition housing, (the metal casting that holds the ignition lock ) is causing the lock to become jammed. When this happens, there is nothing that can be done, the lock will not turn. Sometimes the lock can be saved, as long as it can be removed from the faulty housing without being damaged. Other times it means a whole new ignition lock and housing is needed.

Do you need New Transporter Keys?

This depends. The good news is that there are now repair cases, as an alternative to a whole new key. The buttons on the key still need to work (lock and unlock the van) AND the transponder chip within the key, still needs to be delivering a signal to the immobiliser system.


What often happens, is that the owner keeps using the key, long after it breaks, They put the blade into the ignition, then force it to turn using pliers, holding the electronic part close to the ignition. Over time, it damages the electronics, and means the key cannot be saved and re-cased.

Keeping the Transporter dream alive

Eventually, we believe these vans will need new ignitions, housings and keys. They’ll also need the keys programming using diagnostics for these vans, so make sure that your local expert is confident in programming these tricky vans.

Hopefully the problem will be looked into, so that any replacement parts will last longer. If you have a Volkswagen Transporter and notice that the ignition is stiff, then contact your local Auto Locksmith expert, before you lose the use of a much loved family member, the iconic T5.

If you’ve have this problem with your T5, let us know in the comments below.