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vwbugman, VW Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 821
Experience:  35 years experience on VW air cooled and water cooled repair and restoration
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2000 VW Passat: Have tried all of the keys and still get nothing

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2000 VW Passat will not start. Have tried all of the keys and still get nothing. The radio did say "Safe Mode" but that has gone away. Please help. My son is away at school and can't get home without his car.

Safe mode is normal for the radio when the battery is replaced. You have to reenter the security code for the radio. It has nothing to do with the starting. I need to know if the engine cranks over and just won't start or if the engine doesn't crank. Or if it starts for 1 or 2 seconds and then dies.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It is as if the car doesn't recognize the key. I am able to open the car with key manually but the minute I open the door the alarm goes off. The car doesn't do anything when I put the key in the ignition.
If you open the door does the interior light or the door panel light come on? Can you unlock the car with the remote?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I cannot unlock the car with the remote (and there's a new battery in there). I have to open it manually. The light inside the car goes on, the radio works.
I need you to make absolutely sure each front door turns on the light on the door panel. Next let's try this. Open the rear trunk and leave it open. Open the driver side and try to start the car. You are having an issue with the anti theft system. Also you need to check the fuses . They are located on the driver side on the side of the dash. Pop the panel off the access the fuses. Use a test light to test all the fuses with the key on . If you don't find anything there, let me know and we'll try one more thing.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No, the lights on the door panel do not turn on. I opened the trunk and left the driver side door open and nothing happens. The front headlights work and the radio. When I try starting the car, I hear 4/5 quick clicks coming from a metal box located between the washer fluid and coolant. Any suggestions??
You are in theft mode. It sounds like you have a faulty door latch assembly. It is not recognizing that you have unlocked the door. If there is a key lock on the passenger side, unlock the car on that side and try it. If this is not possible, let's do a capacitive discharge on the system. Remove both battery cables from the battery. Let it sit for 2 minutes disconnected. Now touch the 2 disconnnected cables together and hold them for 2 minutes. It will not hurt the vehicle. This is clearing any memory effects in the computer. Now let it sit for 2 more minutes. Hook up the positive and then the negative cables. Do not lock the car before you start. Now try to start the car.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Still nothing. Is it possible it is the starter or the battery?? How would I know if it was the starter.


You need to check the starter wire at the solenoid for current flow with a test light or volt meter. Does the engine click or do the lights dim when trying to start?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you very much for all of your help. Unfortunately, I don't have a test light or a volt meter so I guess at this point, we need to somehow get it to a service station.