DIY ignition switch and lock cylinder removal and repair on VW and Audi

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This article shows how to repair and replace the lock cylinder and ignition switch on a VW (2006 Jetta shown, other years and Audi similar)

Mk4 generation VW use a slightly different ignition switch.  Mk5-mk6 are about the same and all VW are close enough to that they're all included in this article.

First you have to remove the trim below the steering wheel and the lower steering column trim.

For mk4 VW Jetta, Golf and Passat, see 1000q: trim removal (Passat shown but other models similar).  Steering wheel removal is not required.

For mk5 (and probably newer) you have to remove the steering wheel.  See 1000q: mk5 steering wheel removal.  The full article is for forum members only but enough is shown that you can get the steering wheel off if you don't feel like signing up.  Then you have access to remove the lower steering column trim (2 torx bolts below).
jetta steering column trim removal

If you're replacing the ignition switch, make sure that nothing is melted or that the wire harness is intact because the ignition lock cylinder and switch are fairly reliable.

12mm triple square bit (not torx!)
small phillips screwdriver
torque wrench
torx screwdriver

Procedure for ignition switch and lock cylinder removal

First watch this video, it explains some of the things mentioned in the procedure.  A mk5 is shown but it's pretty much the same for earlier and later cars. The entire assembly is removed from the car for illustration.

If you have a mk4, remove the purple plug at the end of the lock cylinder assembly.  Then remove the 2 screws covered by red paint.  You can now slide the ignition switch out.  If you need to remove the lock cylinder, remove the turn signal and wiper stalk.  See 1000q: turn signal removal for details.  As you can see, there's a lot of dust in there so it tends to get dirt on the contacts and click.  Now would be a good time to clean it as much as practical.
jetta ignition switchgolf ignition switch

If you have a mk5, the ignition switch is at the end of the assembly shown below.  To remove the lock cylinder you may have to remove the clockspring and turn signals.  It should be obvious how to remove them now that the trim is off.  There are a few tiny torx screws and plastic hooks. If you can't figure it out, feel free to sign up to the VW TDI forum and Audi TDI forums.
sportwagen ignition switch

Here is more detail on the assembly.  To remove the steering column lock assembly you have to drill out the 2 snap bolts holding it to the steering column.  In my case I just cut it off since this was a spare steering column.
sportwagen lock cylinder

To remove the lock cylinder-immobilizer antenna for all mk4 and newer, turn the key to ON and insert a paper clip through the hole shown.  See the video above for a demonstration.  Don't worry, this info can't be used to help steal your car.  The key must be turned to ON for the paper clip to be able to release the unlock.  If you use a screwdriver to try to turn the cylinder it will just spin the assembly.
vw ignition switch

Here is more detail on the latch if you didn't catch it in the video.
vw lock cylinder