Used this service center before, nothing you can do about
extraordinary dealer prices -- and sometimes they did a good job, sometimes not. However, this summer I had a purse stolen that contained both my ca
extraordinary dealer prices -- and sometimes they did a good job, sometimes not. However, this summer I had a purse stolen that contained both my car keys. I towed my VW to Martens, Bethesda to have new keys cut and programmed, a $350 process just to for a key. After 2 days, the wrong type of key cut (I asked for the regular key which is cheaper, not the key with the FOB), and follow up phone calls, I was told that the keys were cut but that the immobilizer was broken and wouldn't hold the program so the car wasn't drivable. In other words the car recognized the new key for only a short while before it would 'lose' its programming and the car would cut-off. I would now need a new instrument cluster (the dash electronics that include the speedometer) for $600 + $200 to install. I let them know that I had driven the car that morning with the original keys without issue then towed the car to the dealer, nothing should have broken in that short time, but they insisted these things just happen without warning. We're now talking over $1,100 for keys! I called VW USA customer service upon recommendation of my regular mechanic for guidance as I believed they simply did not know how to program the new keys, a problem with dealers that is well documented in online reviews. It turned out to be quite useless, the rep. only regurgitated messages back and forth between me and the dealer and seemed to advocate for the dealer. I was constantly told, 'we can't make the dealer do anything' and would answer all my questions with, 'the dealer said....'. My regular mechanic, who has worked for Volvo for years, was surprised to find how unhelpful VW was compared to Volvo. However, maybe because of the VW customer service rep, the dealer charged me the price of the regular key when they gave me the key with the FOB -- I suppose it's kind of them to not charge me for their mistake. Because of my interactions, I did not believe they were competent for this job and decided to have the car towed out of there. VW makes it so you can ONLY deal with the dealer for this purpose so I will only be able to get this fixed by another VW dealer so I'l be buying the part and towing it to another dealer --which I expect will tell me the original part was fine or tell me something else is broken. Either way, my plan to gift my VW to my older daughter, buy another VW to give to my second daughter, then buy a convertible VW for myself has been changed, I will no longer buy any VW's.
A note about VW's that I've learned from this: The immobilizer chip is a ubiquitous RFID chip that has been immbedded in the instrument panel in a way that you need to replace the entire part, which is design flaw in my opinion. Additionally, VW discontinued the instrument panel so you can only buy them used and possibly have to replace the entire panel again if the replacement chip goes bad. The instrument panels will run you about $500+ -- IF you can find them.