VW Radio Codes Workarounds?

I’ve got a 1998 Beetle. My battery died again and radio went into safe mode. Last time it did this, I bought the tools, pulled out the radio, called VW with the serial number and got the code, easy. This time, I called a couple dealerships along the East Coast including two that have serviced this vehicle before…they refused to look it up! Said they had to hook it up to their scanner, minimum $100. I know this is Bogus since they got it for me before…anybody got any clever ideas? I have scoured my documentation of the car with no results, all I have is the serial number.

(and yes, I know, I should have written the code down in the manual last time. But we’re here now.)

Open the trunk and look for this placard.

The radio code for this Beetle is 0804.


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Thanks, I’ll try that tomorrow! I’ve been without a stereo for months now, I can’t believe it might be that simple.

…and there it is, radio’s back. Crazy that none of the dealerships even told me about this easiest of fixes, why are the people who make your vehicle consistently the worst at fixing it?


Because they want $100.


I think that’s called “grabbing the low-hanging fruit”. But… they didn’t make it.
The independently-owned dealership is merely an agent of/for the manufacturer.
If you had phoned VW customer service at the corporate level, it is entirely possible that they would have informed you of the info that the dealership was willing to withhold.

Yes, the dealership(s) should have informed you about the code sticker in your trunk, but a lot of businesses are eager to take easy money from people who are not necessarily well-informed.

Depending on who you talk to at the dealer one person may by more willing to find this sort of thing for you than others. Probably varies between dealers as well

I am actually amazed that the security code for the radio is printed on a decal in the trunk. Doesn’t that reduce the usefulness of having a security code in the first place, since a thief who has entered a car to steal the radio can obviously open the trunk? Also, I would assume the VW dealer has a way to read and reset the security code, if necessary, independent of this decal. What if the decal is missing, or you purchased the radio used?

Honda used to . . . still might be doing it, but I’d be surprised . . . put the radio code on the glove box door. It was on a sticker, plain as day

Honda now has a way to look the code up online, 2002 and newer you can get the code to show up on the radio by pressing 2 preset buttons at the same time.

OK, everybody that records their radio code and key code in their owner’s manual and journal when they first get a car like I do, raise your hand. That’s why the label is in the trunk. I never had to look myself.

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The people that answer the phone generally do not know the solutions to these problems, they rely on service technicians to solve these problems.

Could be a grind just to squeeze money out of the rubes but the telephone receptionists at every dealer that I have worked were no different than my mother.