rekey locks, match car keys

Hey everyone!

Rauno here with a quick little tip. NB! I am not a professional mechanic, I just write the solutions for common problems and how I manage to resolve them. Today’s topic is HOW TO REKEY (or match) YOUR VAN LOCKS. It may happen if you order new door handles or got them from a donor car etc.

We had 5 different keys for one van?!?

Yeap… For a start, we had a van with 3 different keys, one for ignition, one for the passenger door, and one for the tailgate and sliding door. All door handles were worn so badly that we had to order new ones (front doors, sliding doors). So in the end we had 5 different keys for one van… 😅 It’s a bit much for a little brick van like VW T3 (T25).

What can we do?

  1. Ask your local locksmith, VW dealer, or car repair shop where they may do it for you. (It’s not usually expensive but depends on where you’re located)
  2. Order rekeying set. I tried to find something but didn’t manage to find a reasonable kit with all the wafers needed. Most of the places offer you a huge quantity but I only needed them for 5 locks.
  3. Reuse old wafers from old doorhandles. That’s how we did it!
  4. You can actually order all new handles/lock-cylinders that have been already rekeyed from Brickwerks. (if you know some places else let me know, I would happily mention this here)

How to rekey your car locks?

Luckily I didn’t throw away our old door handles with old lock cylinders so got all the needed wafer (the little tiny thing that does all the work inside the lock. (google it: “how locks work”)

  1. Choose the key you want to have and find the lock that matches it.
  2. Remove the pin located on the back side. I used a small nail and just tapped the pin out. Easy!
  3. Insert the key. Otherwise, the wafers may fly out when you pull the cylinder from the handle as they are on little springs. Also, don’t lose the little retainer spring on the back of the handle. Easy!
  4. Pull out the lock cylinder from the handle with the key inside.
  5. Remove key but hold down the wafers because they are spring-loaded. On Volkswagen T3 there are 5 wafers on one side and 2 on the other.
  6. Pull the wafers from the lock-cylinder and place them somewhere safe accordingly to how you removed them.
  7. Newer lock cylinders have numbered wafers so write the numbers down.
  8. Disassemble all the other locks and gather the wafers.


NB: If you have older locks then it’s a little bit trickier but no worries. Basically, all you have to is to measure the lower part of the wafer (the hole location in the wafer is different) and match them with the lock wafers you chose in the 1. part. There are not many sizes so it doesn’t take very long.


Match all the wafers with the 1. lock and reassemble them. If you run out of wafers in your needed size, you can file down the excess material but only on the wafer outside. 

When you insert the 1. selected key into the cylinder then all wafers have to be totally flat with the cylinder.

Don’t forget to insert the pin after you reassemble everything!

Sliding door handle spring assembly is a bit tricky. When you start to insert the lock cylinder in the handle, you have to press in the spring at the same time. It took me about 10 times to finally get it . (if you have a good tip for that then let me know, am glad to share the knowledge)

The Tailgate lock is also simple as all the other locks. For the lock removal, you have to unscrew the 3 large allen head bolts that are holding the whole lock mechanism in place.

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