Audi Pre Sense Malfunction (Step by Step Solved!)

Audi Pre Sense Malfunction

Audi Pre Sense is an awesome collection of sensors that can make your Audi vehicle much safer. For example, automatic emergency braking in certain situations, collision sensors, pre-tension seatbelts, etc. Of course, it is quite a complicated system.

This means it isn’t uncommon to get an Audi Pre Sense malfunction. So, what do you do if this happens? Let’s find out.

Audi Pre Sense Malfunction

Now, we have a few issues with the Audi Pre Sense system here. There is a lot that can go wrong, and it is tough to determine exactly what the issue may be. This is because:

  • The Audi Pre Sense system is not a singular system. There are different sensors, and you may not have all of them installed in your vehicle. Each has its own issues.
  • They are not easy problems to diagnose. Sensors are complicated. They aren’t like other small car parts where you can twiddle with them and hope for the best.
  • The problem may not even be with the sensor.

This does mean it is difficult for us to give you an exact idea of how to fix the problem. However, we can point you toward some of the more common issues and how to fix them.

Should You Go To a Garage?

While we are fierce advocates for doing as many repairs as you can to your own vehicle, the problem with Audi Pre Sense sensors is that you can’t really fix them yourself.

There are a few issues that you can rectify, but the nature of them means that the only people really qualified to properly deal with any issues with be qualified mechanics.

You can’t just go to any garage either. You will need to go specifically to an Audi dealership. The average garage will not have access to any of the sensors or repair equipment that is required.

We do suggest that you go through each of the techniques that we detail below, but if they don’t work, then head to your local Audi dealership.

You will be saving yourself so many headaches. 

Did You Recently Replace Your Vehicle’s Windshield?

The vast majority of people that have Audi Pre Sense malfunction have one because they have recently replaced their vehicle’s windshield. Don’t worry. This makes much more sense than you would think.

If you have the Audi Pre Sense city sensor, then you will have a camera mounted on the front of your vehicle. The job of this sensor is to detect any potential collisions in front of you.

The problem with replacing the windshield is that it can cause issues with the calibration of the camera. The camera may have been knocked loose, for instance.

Sadly, Audi does not provide a way for you to calibrate your own camera on your vehicle. If you have replaced your vehicle’s windshield and you are getting an Audi Pre Sense malfunction, then you have no choice but to head to your local Audi dealership so they can recalibrate it for you. 

Turn On Electric Stabilization Control (ESC)

Audi Pre Sense sensors mostly require the ESC to be active on your Audi vehicle. This is because the ESC will be feeding certain data through to the sensors, and the system is lightly controlled by the ESC system. 

When you turn it off, you are likely to have Audi Pre Sense malfunction errors. So, you can always try turning the system back on.

How you do this will be dependent on your vehicle’s model. Your vehicle’s manual should tell you exactly what you need to do.

It is important to note that unless you have physically turned the ESC off in the past, this is not going to be the issue.

ESC is automatically turned on every time you switch on your vehicle unless you have dabbled with a couple of settings.

So, you would probably remember if you did that. Still, it is something that is worth double-checking. 

Use An OBD2

If you know about your vehicle repairs, then you will know that your vehicle generates error codes whenever an issue is detected by the onboard computer. These codes will be logged and, if you can read the codes, then you will know exactly what the problem is.

The easiest way to have the error code read on your vehicle is to use an OBD2 scanner. This plugs into the computer and you can read the error code.

Using this error code, you can determine the exact issue with your vehicle’s sensors. In many cases, it may not even be a problem with the Pre Sense sensors, but an issue elsewhere in the system e.g. wiring, power issues, etc.

Unfortunately, there are so many things that can cause sensor warnings that we can’t go through how to deal with them here.

However, once you have an error code, you can work out whether heading to a local Audi dealership is your best option or whether you have a problem that you can fix yourself. 

Clean The Sensors

The Audi Pre Sense sensors often have dirt and grime flying up at them. While they can deal with a small amount of filth, some people have found that if they get too dirty then they can start to throw up all manner of issues when you are driving.

For example, the sensors may start to detect things that aren’t there, or they may not be detecting the things that they should be detecting.

Once you know where the sensors are on your vehicle, then go through and give them a good wipe-down. You can’t use a lint-free cloth to do this.

It doesn’t need to be an amazing clean, just make sure that the sensor has no visible dirt/grime on it. You don’t need to use water.

Driving Too Close To Other Vehicles

While this is not something that we have experienced ourselves, some Audi dealerships have claimed that driving habits can cause the Audi Pre Sense to have a malfunction.

This normally happens if you spend a lot of time driving close to other vehicles.

Unfortunately, the only way to deal with this problem is to either change your driving habits or head to an Audi dealership that will be able to recalibrate your vehicle. 

Read also >> Pre Collision System Malfunction: How To Fix? (Step by Step)

How Is Audi Pre Sense Activated?

This is going to be dependent on the sensors that you have. The Audi Pre Sense can trigger in a wide variety of cases including:

  • Your vehicle braking hard.
  • Warnings when you get too close to another vehicle.
  • Warnings when another vehicle gets too close to you.
  • When the system detects a physical collision.
  • If you get too close to a pedestrian or a cyclist
  • If there is an object behind your vehicle.

Basically, a full set of Audi Pre Sense sensors will be constantly looking out for what is happening around you.

If it detects any issues that could pose a threat to the occupants of the vehicle, then the sensors will activate a variety of systems in the vehicle to help protect the occupants. 

How Much Do Audi Sensors Cost?

If you wish to have Audi Pre Sense sensors in your vehicle, then it is much, much cheaper to buy a vehicle brand-new with them already installed. Well, if you are in the market for a new vehicle, at least.

Audi doesn’t talk too much about how much their sensors cost. It seems to vary from country to country. However, depending on the sensor, Audi sensors will cost you from $1000 to $2000 a piece. Since there are 5 potential sensors that can be added, this could mean you are paying anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 for the whole set-up.

On top of all of this, you need to have them wired in to your Audi, which could add a substantial amount of money to the cost of the installation.

You can only have it done by a proper Audi dealership, and all dealerships tend to charge huge fees for their services. 

These are expensive sensors to maintain too. A lot of people have claimed that Audi charges a huge sum of cash to have the sensors recalibrated or fixed. It isn’t uncommon to be paying several hundred dollars for that alone.

Still, the Audi sensors are all about making your vehicle much safer to drive. At the end of the day, can you really put a price on your safety and your passengers? We don’t think you can. 

Does Audi Turn Off By Itself?

There are a variety of reasons why your Audi turns off by itself. Obviously, if you are driving and this happens then it is a major problem. You are going to need to head to a garage.

While there is a chance that it could be the Audi Pre Sense sensors in your vehicle, it could easily be a poor battery, the engine dying, etc.

You can always test the onboard computer to see whether it generates any error codes (OBD2 scanner), but there are very few issues that you will be qualified to fix yourself. 

Why Did My Audi Shut Off While Driving?

If your Audi is shutting off while you are driving, then there is a chance that the Audi Pre Sense sensors are too sensitive.

Unfortunately, this is not a problem that you can fix yourself. Most of the time, they are going to need to be recalibrated by an expert. The only way you can find an expert is at your local Audi dealership.

If your vehicle regularly shuts off while driving, then stop driving immediately. It is dangerous to drive a vehicle that is cutting out without warning. 

Remember, while the problem could be the Audi Pre Sense sensors, it is not guaranteed. The only way to know for sure is to talk to a garage.

You can use an OBD2 scanner to detect error codes, but unless you have mechanical knowledge, you can’t fix the problem.

How To Fix Audi Pre Sense Malfunction >> Check out the video below:


If you have an issue with your Audi Pre Sense sensors, then there is a chance that they are dirty. If you wipe them down, it may clear up the problem.

Outside of this, there is very little that you can do yourself. Your only option will be to head to your local Audi dealership and diagnose the problem for you.

There is a chance that the entire system may need to be recalibrated. Unfortunately, this is something that may set you back several hundred dollars.


Steve P.

Steve is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Riviera. Steve is based in Boise, Idaho.

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