by H Steven Dolan
All OEM VW keys, and all OEM VW locks have a key code stamped on them. The key code takes the form "nnannn" where n = a number and a= a letter. For example: "58L047" or "85R088". If you don't have an OEM key, the easiest cylinder to get to, and the one least often changed is the one on the lid of the tailgate.
Any competent locksmith can either:
The cost for getting a key cut to the code for me here in the Washington, DC area was $15.00. The cost for re-pinning the cylinder to match the key code was $40.00. Your mileage may vary! Go to a locksmith, not a key cutter! There *is* a difference!
If you take the re-pin route, examine the orientation of the key and lever thoroughly before you deliver the cylinder to the locksmith. They know locks, not VW's. Mine assembled the ignition cylinder backward and had to re-orient it. The standard for VW's is that the big lobe of the key faces the rear of the vehicle, and actuates by turning up/forward.
If you have a cylinder re-pinned, do take a file and file out the now invalid code. Future owners will thank you :-)