DIY: Adding OE emergency fuel flap release mechanism to the VW Polo

The lock actuator assembly on the fuel flap has an emergency release system built in, but we were not aware of it.

BHPian Gannu_1 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Some of our members had faced issues with the fuel filler door on their Polo and Jetta getting jammed/locked.

Gents, I bring forth good news!

The lock actuator assembly on the fuel flap has an emergency release system built in, but we were not aware of it. At least, I wasn’t until I got hold of a new actuator when the one on my GT failed recently. I tried spraying WD40 into that tiny hole on the actuator but it didn’t help and the actuator wouldn’t lock:

I decided to get a replacement unit. It was retailing for Rs. 2600 from Boodmo (link). Part number for the unit used in the Polo/Vento is 6C0 810 773:

Upon receiving the new actuator, I fiddled around with it a bit and noticed some attachment covered with rubber:

Further research in Google threw some leads. Turns out, this is the emergency release lever! A plastic cord must be attached to it which is led to the trunk that enables the user to pull the cord if the actuator or central locking fails, thereby manually unlocking the actuator. Thereafter, push the fuel lid and it would open. The plastic cord is missing in the Polo, Vento and Rapid sold here and quite possibly the Jetta too. It is however a standard safety feature in some of the Audis. Perhaps the Superb and Passat may have it - I am not sure of it; owners can check and confirm.

I downloaded the 2020 Audi Q7 manual from the web and this is what the manual says:

Some snaps of the cord in some of the Audis, from Google:

From behind the trunk liner:

The other end connected to the actuator:

The bad part is, I could not get the part number of the cord separately. I searched as much as I could but no leads. I ended up sourcing the cord and a spare non-OE actuator from a Chinese seller on eBay for 12 USD.

Link - eBay

This is the plastic cord:

Note - If the above link throws an error or if the item is discontinued by the seller, try searching on for keywords like vw polo fuel filler actuator, polo fuel cap actuator etc. This should throw some results.

Parts required:

  • Emergency release cord.

Tools required:

  • Torx T20 bit/screw driver.
  • Precision knife.
  • Clean cloth.


Open the fuel flap and remove the T20 Torx screw:

Remove the fuel flap assembly by wiggling it out:

Replace the fuel filler pipe lid back to prevent dust ingress or fuel vaporizing:

Pull out the actuator assembly:

Inside the boot, pull out the boot liner from the right:

Locate the 2-pin connector of the actuator harness and disconnect it:

Please ignore the cables you see at the bottom of the snap above. Those are from the front parking sensors I have installed.

The actuator harness has a rubber grommet which attaches to the body of the car. The grommet prevents dust ingress to the boot:

Pull out the grommet and detach the actuator assembly:

To attach the cord to the actuator, you need to make a slit/incision in the grommet to route the cord from the boot:

Use a precision knife to make a slit:

The slit should be large enough to route the tip of cord. Don't make it very large as dust will start creeping into the boot!

Route the cord through the slit:

Attach the cord to the actuator as shown:

Route the other end of the cord and the actuator's connector through the hole into the boot and secure the grommet to the body:

Attaching the grommet to the body can be a bit tiresome as I had experienced.

Secure the actuator to the body:

Replace the fuel filler assembly back:

Replace the T20 Torx screw of the assembly:

Connect the actuator harness's 2 pin connector:

Secure the other end of the cord inside the boot:

Test the emergency release mechanism to confirm the working.

Tested and it works beautifully! Takes about 15-20 minutes in all. Begs the question - why did VW choose to do away with this cord which would have cost like Rs. 10?

I have explained it in a video tutorial including the mechanism towards the end of it

Trust this was useful. Thanks guys! Let me know if you have any queries.

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