How to remove the stock radio in a 2005.5-2010 VW Jetta, Rabbit, or Sportwagen

difficulty: 1/5
back to 1000q: mk5 VW "how to" list and FAQ index


This article shows how to remove or swap the stock OEM premium 7 radio out in a 2005.5-2009 VW Jetta, Rabbit (Golf), or wagon, or the 2010 sedan.

The 2010 Golf and wagon used the mk6 style dashboard and are slightly different.  If you have a mk6, just pop out the trim around the faceplate with a trim tool.  The 2010 VW Jetta sedan still uses the mk5 style dashboard.

vw radio unlock code serial numberYou do not need the radio code when removing or reinstalling the radio or battery in your Jetta or Rabbit.  The radio has internal memory which remembers which car it was installed in.  You can also put the same radio in after having used another factory radio.

You do need the anti theft radio code when installing a new or used radio in another car.  If you don't have the 4 digit radio code the head unit will be locked.  

Dealers must make the radio code available to the legal owner for free.  They won't give you a radio code if you show up with a radio to discourage theft.  Sometime during 2005-2009, the dealers no longer wrote the radio unlock codes in the owner's manual tear-off card so you have to request it.

For details on how to swap the stock mk5 style radio for the 2010 mk6 style touchscreen radio like the RCD510 or the RNS315/RNS510 GPS, see 1000q: mk5-mk6 radio swap and adapter cable.

How to retrieve the unlock radio code and serial number in your VW Golf or Jetta

After removing the radio, there is a sticker that has the radio serial number on it.  The serial number begins with WVZ.  Bring it to your dealer and they can use your VIN number and the radio serial code to get the radio code.  If you don't want them to pull the radio out and make the process faster, you can use VCDS.  It cannot retrieve the radio code though.

Start the software and plug the cable into the OBD2 port.  Wait for the green LED and click on Select to get to the control modules.

Click on Radio.

Click on Adv. Meas. Values.

Go to measuring block 81-1.  It will show the serial number of the radio (I removed my serial number).  It will make the dealer trip much faster.


Trim removal tool (metal screwdrivers can damage the interior)
T25 torx screwdriver

DIY radio removal procedure for your 2005.5-2010 VW Jetta, Rabbit, GTI, or Sportwagen

Again, if you have a mk6 car just pop off the trim around the radio.  They don't have the dashboard diffuser vent.

Pry up the sun sensor, unplug it, and remove the torx screw under it.  While it's not required, I removed the trim around the air vent dial to make it easier to pry the grille up.

Pry the grille assembly up.  Remove the entire assembly, not just the grille cover.  Here is what you're removing - you can also see the torx screw under the sun sensor from the last step.

Remove 2x torx screws.

Gently pull the trim up starting at the front.  Once it starts to pop up, you can start to lift it at the front to release the tabs.

Remove 2x torx screws holding the trim and gently pry the radio trim straight out.  Don't twist it or pull it at an angle or else the clips can break off.  If they do, use some epoxy to securely glue them back so that it won't rattle later.

Remove the 4x torx screws holding the radio in place and slide it straight out.

You're supposed to disconnect the battery whenever connecting plugs but I didn't feel like resetting the one touch windows and memory power seats (see 1000q: reset windows and steering adaptation, and see 1000q: memory seats for details) so I didn't disconnect it.

The main harness plug has a tab on the bottom to release the lock lever.  Press the tab and pivot the lever up to release it.  This radio was a GPS so it had a GPS plug in addition to the radio plugs.  Remove them by pressing the lock tabs up and then pulling the plug straight out.  Again, since the plugs are different on the mk6 style radio, see 1000q: mk6 radio swap and adapter cable if you are swapping a mk6 style radio in.

When installing the radio trim, note that the climate control assembly is on floating washers.  It's normal for the assembly to feel loose so that when you install the trim plate it's a tight fit.

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