How VW Door Latches Fail~ Video

door latch faiure

IMG_3518Today we look at how VW door latches fail.This is an issue not just with the Jetta as shown in the video. This is a part that I have replaced all across the brand. Every car in the VW line has had an issue with door latch failures. You may also hear them called “door lock modules”. That is because they are such an important part of the central locking system

Sponsor Of The Day
The sponsor of today’s show is Deutsche Auto Parts. They are the VW and Audi parts experts. I know them personally and they are great guys. You see how many sponsors I have. I have high standards for the people I recommend. Paul and the guys fit that bill. Plus they did a MK4 Jetta door latch DIY video. Check them out at

Today we look at:

  • How VW door latches work
  • How VW door latches fail
  • What are the symptoms of VW door latches failing.
  • Most common is “My Jetta door will not lock”.
  • Ways to diagnose VW door latch failures
  • Skill required to replace door latch
  • And more

You might have a failing door latch if:

  • Your VW door will not lock
  • Your VW door will not unlock
  • Your door shows open when it’s closed, or closed when open
  • Cluster doesn’t light up when door is opened. MK5 and up mostly
  • Doors will auto lock all the time
  • Windows do not drop when doors are unlocked (Beetle convertible, EOS, CC)
  • Alarm goes off by itself
  • And more


If you are having trouble viewing, check out “How VW Door Latches Fail~ Video” on YouTube.

As always your comments and questions are welcome. If you have a VW part you would like me to explain, use the contact me form, and let me know. Shout out to Deutsche Auto Parts for sponsoring today’s show.

Don’t forget to follow me at:

29 replies
  1. Barry Sexton
    Barry Sexton says:

    Hey Charles, great video as always.

    If VW has had failures of these latches on so many platforms and generations, why on earth have they not redesigned them to actually function for the life of the car? I don’t get it.

    Also, I have a B7 and have NOT had the frozen driver side latch issue, but I have a co-worker with a B7 that has had latch failure. I know you mentioned water getting into the latch, but is there a solution to prevent water from getting in? Has this latch been updated to prevent water intrusion?

  2. Pete
    Pete says:

    So correct me if I’m wrong but your saying the fault is with the circuit board soldering not something breaking with the actual mechanism? One could possibly do a repair on it?Usually it’s the other way around, right Chevy owners? Damn Chinese plastic!

  3. Terrie
    Terrie says:

    I have a 2002 VW Jetta. I have to slam my driver side door really hard and several times before I can get the chime to stop and get the door to lock. WD40 helped for a little while. Any suggestions for someone who has reached her auto mobile knowledge limitations?

  4. Bryan
    Bryan says:

    Great video. Really appreciated the in depth look at what’s causing the failures. I have a 2008 Jetta that recently started having a door latch issue on the driver side. When I lock the car with the key fob, the horn beeps and the light indicating the car alarm is armed lights up but intermittently the driver side door won’t lock. Even more interesting, if I open the door the alarm doesn’t sound. My guess is that it’s one of the electrical issues you mentioned but the lack of the alarm going off seemed strange. Any thoughts?

  5. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    I have a 2014 Jetta TDI, last year my drive side door start to not want to open because it was cold outside. Then it start to work fine after that. Now my problem with my drive side is not wanting to close. It not want to latch. So my car is left open. Can this because it cold again or did something fail with.

  6. Old Trapper
    Old Trapper says:

    On 2006 Volkswagen Jetta indicator light says front doors are open when they are closed courtesy light in floor board stays on in the latch is hitting the striker Bolt it’s not closing all the way around the striker Bolt if I open the door and push the latch up by hand all the lights go off as if the door was properly closed but of course then you cant close the door can I wrap something around the striker Bolt that would make the latch work properly

  7. Ryan Castro
    Ryan Castro says:

    I have a similar issue with my 2015 Jetta TSI door locks but wanted to run this by you. Purchased the car new and the issue started at around 42K miles. The issue is that I can not lock any car door. The fob does not lock the doors, the master door switch does not lock the doors and in addition, the trunk release does not operate. When the lock buttons are pressed on the master door panel and including the fob, a relay can be heard under the dash. This relay can also be heard when the car reaches 10-20 mph. When the doors are closed and the fob lock button is pressed, noticed that the red LED light on the drivers door indicates a lock system malfunction. VW has not released the fuse box diagram for this model and I have searched the internet and came across your site which is very helpful. Not sure if I need to purchase a version of VAG-COM or just rip my doors apart. Can you help me please?

    • Winborn Gregory
      Winborn Gregory says:

      Ryan, I have not done a 2015 latch. What you describe is different, so maybe things have changed. Yes, get a Vag-Com, now called VCDS, for trademark reasons. Maybe you can find a local guru who will check it for you.

  8. Winborn Gregory
    Winborn Gregory says:

    Recently discovered the wealth of info that you have online. Mega kudos! I have an independent VW shop and probably see more of the older cars. 95% of what I see is due to failure of the little micro switch at the end of the red and blue wires. It rubs against a hard rubber cam. If the cam get rough, it breaks the plastic tit off the switch. The result is the car does not know if the door is open or not. Many have attempted to replace this switch, but I assure you, it is not worth the effort. Check out TDI club for a full thread on this topic. I too want to know why VW has not fixed this part. It seems to be the same part number for all models and years on all except convertibles. Must be a good money maker. My VW parts guy says, “VW must be proud of this part” whenever the price is outrageous. Have not found a reliable aftermarket source yet. There was one on eBay that looked heavier duty than the original, but it did not function correctly. WorldPac carried one for a while, but their warranty returns were high. I bite the bullet and buy this from the dealer.

  9. Bevin Shirley
    Bevin Shirley says:

    2006 VW Touran TDI .

    Hi from South Africa.
    I need the part code [and a mnfr/supplier name] for the lower microswitch of the drivers door lock unit [2 wires]. contact pin is badly worn.
    Local VW supplier only sells the complete lock unit at great cost!
    Can you or any other VW DIY fan help with info?
    Cheers all.

    • Winborn Gregory
      Winborn Gregory says:

      You can go on TDIclub and find a source for the microswitch, but I assure you, it is an exercise in futility to try to replace it. There have been some other posts on the same site that describe a magnetic switch. I have not tried it, but there is no reason it would not work. That is the route I would take if I did not want to spend the money for a new latch assembly.

  10. John
    John says:

    I have a 13CC that both windows on the passenger side don’t ‘drop’. They begun this behavior on the same day. And it happens only when opened from the outside latches. Is it possible that the front passenger window controls the rear? Is it possible to change just the micro switches? Great video, very instructive!

  11. Chris
    Chris says:

    HI Charles. I have a 2009 Tiguan and recently the Drivers door will not open from the outside. It opens using the inside handle, and locks and unlocks with no problem. Is it possible that the preload spring that you mention in your video has come loose?

    I removed the inside door panel to have a look, but there is another metal skin inside. I saw some videos for other VW models where it mentioned closing the window and taping it to the top of the door frame to allow that panel to be removed without having the window fall. Can you comment?

    Is it possible to remove the outside skin on the Tiguan like you mentioned in another video about replacing a door latch? I have not been able to find any videos specific to the Tiguan.

    I appreciate your input.

    • Tim
      Tim says:

      Hey Chris, I’ve got the same year/model Tiguan and the same exact problem. Did you end up solving this on yours? You can’t get the outside of the door off like the model in this example. You’ve got to get at it from the inside and it’s a pain in the ass. Gotta take off the inner door panel, unscrew the latch from the side of the door, take out the outside handle and remove the screw behind that, unscrew and tape up the window and then unscrew and peel that metal door panel out with the window tracks, latch actuator and all attached to that metal panel(Happy to explain in more detail if anyone needs). Then once I finally got in there, the latch mechanism isn’t the same as this one. It’s all covered and no easy/obvious way to get to the spring to check the pre load. Now I’m at a crossroads. The part is either $30 from alibaba and takes a month to ship(almost certainly garbage), or $200 from a reputable dealer. But I’m nervous that even if I get the part the pre-load still needs to be set and I’m still not sure how to do it. Would be stoked to hear from anyone out there with some knowledge on this model actuator as I can’t find anything currently online. I’ve invested too much time to admit defeat and take this damn thing into the shop.

      • Chris
        Chris says:

        Hi Tim.

        I haven’t gotten around to taking this thing apart, as I was waiting for warmer weather. Sorry I can’t add any input.

        • Tim
          Tim says:

          No worries man. That’s totally understandable. I’ll post back here when I get it worked out, or how much it costs if I give up and take it in.

          • Bernie
            Bernie says:

            Hi Tim, how did you get on finally ?

            I had a similar issue on my Scirocco: could not open from oustide handle, locked and unlocked ok with remote. Accessing the latch mechanism was a pita: need to remove the inner trim, the glass, the regulator and finally the panel came off with the whole lock/latch assembly, just to show it wasn’t the same as in the video. No way to have it open/fixed !
            So I went the “chinese” way and after three weeks the parcel arrived from my friend Ali and I could replace the mechanism yesterday. A bit tricky to release the two command cables but once you get how they’re held in place it’s pretty easy. The new part is exactly the same as the old one and fits perfectly (clips). After a second dis/re-assembly (one of the window screw felt ito the door…) the opening works as it should !! The part was 24€ from Ali, haven’t even asked the dealer how much they’d drain my wallet for it.

            Cheers from Belgium, Bernie,

  12. Shane
    Shane says:

    Hi I have two lock questions about my 2001 Jetta:
    1. The key will go in the driver door but will not turn is this an indication I need to work on the actual lock cylinder it’s self?
    2. The keyless entry sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t both for locking and unlocking. New key for batteries installed and still same issue. Does this indicate the door lock actuators you mention above may be bad for the drivers door – is that the ‘master’ for all the other doors.

    • Winborn Gregory
      Winborn Gregory says:

      The answer to #1 is yes, you have a problem with the lock cylinder. Maybe it is keyed different. If you can get you remote working, no big deal.
      2. Sounds like you need a new latch mechanism. Yes, the driver’s side is like a “master”, but I’m not sure what it controls. I just know having a working latch will solve lots of problems.

      • Shane
        Shane says:

        Thanks. I’ll take a look at the lock cylinder after I get a repair parts kit for it. I’m going to order another driver side lock actuator also. Appreciate the help!

  13. James Rogers
    James Rogers says:

    Hi Charles! Thank you for your video! It sounds like there could be a myriad of different problems with these latch modules! I have a 2010 CC 2.0T Sport. I would appreciate your advice on dealing with my issue. My driver side rear door will not lock/unlock with the remote or by the driver door switch group. The window will not raise/lower via the driver’s door switch group either However, if you use the controls on the rear door itself, it all works!? If you open the door from inside or outside, the window indexes down to clear the gasket, just as it should. Could the problem still be in the door’s module? Or does this sound like a communication issue? I would appreciate your opinion as to how best to proceed. Thank you!!

    • Lawrence
      Lawrence says:

      Did you figure out your issue? I have a similar issue on my ‘09 CC. However BOTH my rear windows don’t go down, the window control lights on the back doors keep blinking, and there now seem to have problems unlocking the doors.

  14. Riley Zimmer
    Riley Zimmer says:

    Mine’s doing the scenario you describe that drives people mad. The central locking has a spasm attack when i slow down and speed up again, lol its hilarious

      JOHN NIEMANN says:

      Mine is also doing the clicking thing when I reach 10MPH. and the driver door will not lock. It will open and close but not lock and if I try to lock it with the fob, the alarm does not sound when I open the door. The dash also shows the door either open or closed. Door will also not lock with the key. I’ve changed the driver door latch once with a chinese one from Amazon, but still no go. Whats next?

  15. Bayram Volkan REİSOĞLU
    Bayram Volkan REİSOĞLU says:

    Hello friends, I am from Turkey. I have a VW Polo 2016 and I’m having trouble with the right front door lock. It sometimes works and not. I removed the lock but ı couldn’t remove inside of it for repairing. Can you help me please about removing inside of it? How can I do?

  16. TN
    TN says:

    Hi and thanks for the video! You could also have said something about the how to fix “freezing failure” that seems to be really common in at least Passats in colder climates. Door won’t open, or won’t lock until warmed up etc. Some people see this is because the latch freezes (water ingress from window seal), and some people see it’s caused by moisture in the exterior or interior door handle bowden cables, which then won’t move (unlock) or move back (lock). Suggested fixes include liberal application of WD-40, windshield de-icer, or opening up the door and lubing latch and cables with white lithium grease. Looking forward to a video on this!

  17. Dave
    Dave says:

    Great video here. I also saw the ‘voice over’ one that had a lot of good info. I found that my failures (both and only front doors) were related to what appeared to be ‘weak motors’ in each of the assemblies. I connected 13 vdc directly to the motor, via the two metal bars, and in the passenger side, the motor worked OK; although it did appear not as strong as I would have thought. The drivers side would not turn unless I have the shaft a bit of help and then it would stay running. When I removed the 13 vdc and then reconnected it, the motor would start by itself about 50% of the time. I’m assuming these motors get weak over time from all of the ‘automatic’ locking at 10mph and unlocking over the past 32 years. Although, both back doors appear fine; still working 100% and do appear to be ‘strong’. Would like to hear any feedback, thoughts, etc. about my issue. Thanks again!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.