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.


Active Bonnet Malfunction: Solved! (Step by Step)

active bonnet Malfunction

How do I reset the Mercedes active bonnet malfunction? Whenever a new error message shows up, you always feel a moment of nervousness and confusion about what it means and what it’s going to take to make it go away.

If you’ve been warned that you have an “active bonnet malfunction”, then you’ve come to the right place to sort it out.

The “active bonnet malfunction” error message is unique to Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the active bonnet feature installed in the car. When you see the error, it typically means that the system has been tripped due to a fault or the actuators are not properly seated.

Here are a few steps on how to solve active bonnet malfunction including:

Step 1: Check For Damage

Step 2: Identify Whether The Active Bonnet Has Triggered

Step 3: Push Down On The Bonnet

Step 4: Listen For Re-Engagement

Step 5: Test The Bonnet

What Is The Active Bonnet System?

To understand what has gone wrong that has caused this message to appear, then we need to first figure out what it is actually referring to.

In other vehicles, you might get some kind of generic error regarding your bonnet, or you might see a warning light turn on, but the “active bonnet malfunction” in a Mercedes is referring to a specific system that these cars have.

The active bonnet is a pedestrian protection feature that is designed to reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians in case of a sudden impact. It is present on almost all Mercedes-Benz cars made from 2010 onwards and is standard in their newest models.

How To Fix Active Bonnet Malfunction

Fortunately, the steps to solving this problem are usually very simple!

Step 1: Check For Damage

First, make sure that you are in a safe place, the engine has been switched off and there has not been an impact that you were not aware of.

Check the bonnet for signs of damage, and make sure that it is cool and there is no smoke or other signs of danger before continuing.

Step 2: Identify Whether The Active Bonnet Has Triggered

You will be able to see whether or not the active bonnet has been triggered just by looking at it.

It will be pretty noticeable, as the edge of the bonnet closest to the windshield will have raised up by around 50-70mm, almost like it has been opened from the wrong side.

Step 3: Push Down On The Bonnet

If the active bonnet has been engaged, then you simply press your palms down firmly on both sides of the bonnet, where the hinges are, pushing it back into place.

If the bonnet has not lifted up in any way but you’re still getting the error message, then you might be dealing with a sensor problem or damage to one of the components. This usually means that you will need to take the car to a professional mechanic for a proper diagnosis.

Step 4: Listen For Re-Engagement

You will know that the spring actuators have been reset if they depressurize and stay closed. You might hear a faint hissing sound while this is happening.

Step 5: Test The Bonnet

Now, try and lift the bonnet where the hinges are. If it does not move, then the system should be reset and everything should be back to normal. If not, repeat steps 3 and 4 until it is correctly engaged.

Then, simply have a look at the screen to see whether or not the message has disappeared.

How The Active Bonnet Works

So that we can identify what might malfunction in this active bonnet system, we need to know a little about how it works.

It’s made up of four components:

  • Acceleration sensors. To identify that an impact has occurred.
  • Power electronics. That register information from the sensors and activate the system.
  • Spring actuators. When activated, these lift the bonnet.
  • Bonnet hinges. These are designed to lift with the actuators and can be reset to their original position.

If the front of the car strikes something, like a pedestrian, then the rear end of the bonnet – closest to the windshield – will lift up by between 50 and 70 millimeters, depending on the specific class of the vehicle.

The three acceleration sensors, two in the bumper and one on the crossmember, identify when the bonnet is struck and send information directly to an electronic control unit.

This will activate two solenoids in special bonnet hinges, extending the springs and causing the bonnet to lift. All of this happens in less than a second.

This system makes the deformation area of the bonnet larger, allowing it to absorb more of the impact and reducing the amount of damage that might be caused to a pedestrian that may have hit the bonnet.

What Does An Active Bonnet Malfunction Mean?

Now that we know what the active bonnet is, and how it works, we can start to understand what it might mean when your vehicle is telling you that it has malfunctioned.

There are three main reasons why you might see this message:

  • The active bonnet has been tripped. Either due to an impact or some kind of issue with the sensors that means they are incorrectly registering that an impact has occurred.
  • The actuators are not seated properly. This can mean that the springs activate and the bonnet lifts without the sensors registering any impact at all.
  • There has been some damage to a component of the bonnet. Either the actuators, the sensors, the hood latch, or the SRS module might not be working properly, and show up as an active bonnet malfunction – or they can trigger the active bonnet improperly.

Re-Seating The Actuators

If the message keeps appearing, the springs are not engaging properly, or the active bonnet system is triggered again without any kind of impact, then you might need to re-seat the actuators under the hood manually.

To do this, lift the bonnet up in the middle until the lifters can no longer move. Then, push on the lifter lids. You should notice some resistance. Then, release the bonnet and make sure that the lifters are sitting on their housings. If they are, then you should be able to push the bonnet back down and it should reset normally.

If the actuators are not re-seating themselves properly, then you may need to visit a mechanic to carry out the re-seating for you, or they might be damaged and need replacing completely.

What Is The Problem With Bonnet Warning Light On Mercedes?

The other major bonnet error that you might see in your Mercedes, or any other car really, is when the bonnet warning light comes on – but what does it mean?

The bonnet warning light is designed to tell you that the bonnet is not securely closed, which is a safety risk. This might happen because you did not fully shut the hood the last time that you had it open, or it could mean that something like the hood latch is damaged or not working properly.

How Do You Check A Bonnet?

If the bonnet warning light comes on, then you will want to carry out some basic checks to see if any components are damaged that might be stopping the bonnet from staying closed.

The first thing you need to do is pop the hood and, if you’re used to other kinds of cars, you might find yourself wondering: where is the bonnet button on a Mercedes?

These cars don’t have a bonnet button. What you’re looking for is the hood release lever, which is usually on the driver’s side: underneath the dashboard, and just above the parking brake. When you pull on this lever, you should hear the bonnet pop open – although it might take a couple of tries.

Once you’ve pulled on this lever, you will need to go to the front of the car, get your fingers underneath the hood in the middle, and find the hood latch release.

Pull this towards you, and the bonnet should open freely. To keep it in place while you have a look around, you will need to prop it open with the bonnet stay.

Can I Drive With A Broken Hood Latch?

Your bonnet might open when it’s not supposed to, or it might not open properly at all, and this often means that the hood latch is damaged in some way.

Although this is not part of the active bonnet system, it can even cause the hood to move unexpectedly and trigger the mechanism – or the car might just register this as an active bonnet malfunction anyway.

While you might be able to drive with a broken hood latch, it can be incredibly dangerous. Even if the bonnet seems to be staying in place, this can change suddenly while you are moving if the damage worsens, or if the latch fails completely – and you could end up with a completely open hood and a severely obstructed view.

It’s less likely to cause problems if your hood latch is not allowing the bonnet to open, but it’s still a significant risk.

Where possible, you shouldn’t even drive your vehicle to the mechanic if the hood latch is not functioning properly.

Read also >> Drive-Start Control Malfunction (Step by Step Guide!)

Read also >> Drivetrain Malfunction: How To Fix? (Step by Step)

What Happens If You Drive With Your Bonnet Open?

If you really need to get your car in for repairs and the hood just won’t stay closed, you might be tempted to drive it anyway, but this is a very bad idea.

The bonnet will be caught by the air as you move, causing it to lift up in front of the windshield and making it almost impossible for you to see where you are going. It can even strike the windshield behind it, causing it to shatter and potentially harming you in the process.

If the bonnet opens while you are driving, slow down and find a place to safely pull over. Then, try to re-engage the hood latch, testing it carefully to make sure that it is functioning normally.

If you can’t be sure that it will stay closed when you start driving again, then you should call a mechanic to come and fix the problem before you drive off.



So, what is an active bonnet malfunction? This error message is specific to Mercedes-Benz vehicles that have the active bonnet system installed – and it usually means that this system has either been triggered or is not working properly.

Usually, you simply need to reset the active bonnet by pressing it back into place, but you may need to repair or replace individual components within the system or re-seat the actuators into position so that they are working properly.

The other common error you might see is a bonnet warning light, which simply means that the bonnet isn’t properly closed.


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

Pre Collision System Malfunction

There are few things scarier than an unexpected error message springing up on the dash of your car, and they can be really hard to interpret.

If you’ve been told that your vehicle has a Pre-Collision System malfunction then you’ll want to know what it means and what you can do about it.

A Pre-Collision System malfunction is an error message for Toyota vehicles, and it means that the Pre-Collision System has detected some kind of problem. This system is designed to help detect nearby objects and can provide automatic braking should you fail to react.

Here is how to fix or solve a pre collision system malfunction:

Step 1: Reset the vehicle

Step 2: Reset or recalibrate the Pre-Collision System

Step 3: Investigate the sensors

Step 4: Reset the system

Step 5: Check your ABS and Airbag Sensor

Step 6: Call in a professional

What Is The Pre-Collision System?

Before we get into what this error message might mean and what to do about it, we need to understand what the system actually is and how it works.

The Pre-Collision System in your car is part of what Toyota calls their Toyota Safety Sense. This is a collection of safety features that come as standard in most new models, and are built-in to provide additional protections for you, your passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers as well.

In particular, the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) detects when a vehicle or pedestrian appears in the direction that the car is moving, and it gives you audio and visual warnings on the central console to make sure that you are aware of their presence.

If you do not avoid the hazard yourself, the system will automatically apply the brakes for you.

Some of these systems will also be able to detect nearby bicyclists and motorcyclists as well as pedestrians or other vehicles.

What Does A Pre-Collision System Malfunction Mean?

So, what does it mean when your car tells you that there is a “Pre-Collision System Malfunction”? Basically, it means that there is some problem within this system that is preventing it from functioning normally, and this can be caused by a number of different things.

The most common causes for this kind of error are:

  1. The sensors are dirty or obstructed. If the front-facing sensors become dirty or are covered (either the radar sensor, the sensor cover, or the camera) then they will not be able to read the road in front of them. Therefore, they cannot detect potential collisions and the car will register that the system has malfunctioned.
  2. There is a technical error in the system. As with any computer-based technology, it might be a flaw within the software or the settings that is causing your Pre-Collision System to fail.
  3. One of the components is misaligned or dislodged. If the components have been moved and are not calibrated correctly, then the system will be unable to accurately scan the road. Some of the components could also have become disconnected from one another, causing a break in the system.
  4. One of the components is damaged. Any of the complex component parts can become damaged or wear down over time, causing the system to stop working.
  5. VSC has been disabled. If you have disabled your Vehicle Stability Control system, this will mean that your Pre-Collision System won’t work properly.
  6. There is a fault with your ABS or airbag sensor. If your Anti-lock Braking System or airbag speed sensor is not working accurately, or your pump is defective, then this can also register as a malfunction in your PCS.

How To Fix A Pre-Collision System Malfunction

Now that we know what your Pre-Collision System is, and what it might mean when it malfunctions, we can talk about the steps you might need to take in order to get it working again.

Step 1: Reset the vehicle

The first thing you should do is try resetting the vehicle to see if this recalibrates the system or not. It’s a simple case of turning it off and on again.

Make sure you are parked in a safe space, turn the engine off, wait for about 10 minutes, then turn it back on again. This can sometimes be enough to reset everything to normal.

Step 2: Reset or recalibrate the Pre-Collision System

You can have a look at how the Pre-Collision System is currently set up, and you can also try deactivating the safety features for at least 10 minutes and then reactivating them, which may reset it back to functioning normally again.

To change the Pre-Collision System settings:

  • Find the Meter Control Switch on your steering wheel.
  • Use the up and down buttons to select the Settings menu (denoted by the symbol of a gear) on the central display.
  • Scroll to the Pre-Collision System (a symbol of two cars colliding, with a star in between them) using the buttons.
  • Hold the central button for two seconds to open the Pre-Collision Systems menu.
  • Press the central button again to deactivate the system, or select one of the three different sensitivity settings. The middle setting is the default.

Then, simply repeat this process again to turn it back on. You should also make sure that your Vehicle Stability Control system is activated and has not been disabled.

Step 3: Investigate the sensors

If the system is still not working, take a look at the sensors themselves. Make sure they are positioned correctly, they are not dirty, and they are not obstructed by anything that has been placed in front of them – like an aftermarket grille.

If you have installed a lift kit to your vehicle, this can also cause the sensors to be misaligned and stop working correctly, as it will affect how far away from the road they are.

You may need to realign the radar using some washers or take it to a professional to have the system recalibrated.

Step 4: Reset the system

If this doesn’t do enough, then you can try resetting all of the electronic systems in your car by disconnecting the battery and then reconnecting it. While you’re doing this, you can take a look to see if any damage has affected the wiring, any connections are loose, or any fuses have blown.

Step 5: Check your ABS and Airbag Sensor

You should also have a look at the sensors for your ABS system and your Airbag system to see that they are also calibrated properly, they are accurately detecting your speed, and the automatic braking options are functioning. This can be tricky to do by yourself, so you may need to go on to the next step here.

Step 6: Call in a professional

If you’re struggling to figure out what is wrong, and the steps above have not helped, then it is probably time to visit a professional mechanic who can diagnose the problem for you.

It may be that components you cannot access have failed, or that the software needs recalibrating in a way that is a little more technical, but they should be able to get it working again.

How Does The Pre-Collision System Work?

There are a few different components that make up the Pre-Collision System in your Toyota, as well as the software and electronic elements that do all of the necessary computing for it to function. The way it works is:

  • Your Toyota has a forward-facing camera and a laser that read the road in front of the vehicle.
  • These two devices measure the distance between the car and any objects that appear in their field of view.
  • The system also measures your speed, to determine whether or not an impact is likely.
  • When the system determines that you could potentially collide with an object in front of you, it warns you with an alarm and a visual alert on the central display.
  • If the system calculates that you have not taken the necessary measures to avoid a collision, it may attempt to automatically apply the brakes, or use brake assist to fully deploy them.

Some older Toyota models will come with Pre-Collision only, which is part of the original Toyota Safety Sense Package.

Newer models will have a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, which uses a millimeter-wave radar mounted on the grille to detect even smaller objects and identify potentially vulnerable people in the car’s path.

At What Speed Does Pre-Collision System Work?

The Pre-Collision System is most effective at detecting vehicles and automatically braking when the car is moving at anywhere between 7 mph and 110 mph. When you are moving more slowly, it is harder for the system to determine whether or not a collision is likely, and you may need to be more vigilant.

The system usually applies speed reduction if you are traveling at more than 25 mph and kicks in when there is a difference in speed between you and another vehicle of within 38 miles per hour. Even if you are moving more slowly, it will automatically apply the brakes if it deems that a collision is imminent.

Where Are Pre-Collision Sensors Located?

If you want to check the sensors for your Pre-Collision System, then you need to know where they are.

The radar laser is located in the middle of the grille at the front of the vehicle. Usually, it is either behind the radiator grille or below the Toyota badge. The front-facing camera is typically located at the center of the windscreen, either on the back of the internal rear-view mirror on at the base of the windscreen itself.

Of course, these sensors can be in different positions depending on the exact model of Toyota that you have, so you may need to check your manual in order to find them.

Should I Clean The Sensor Or Replace It?

If the sensor looks a little worn, then you might be wondering: how do I know if my sensor is dirty or actually needs replacing?

The easiest way to check is to give it a good clean, and see whether or not that solves the problem. It is pretty easy for dirt or debris to get onto the sensor and affect its functioning, and it’s a lot cheaper to simply clean it up rather than buy a whole new one.

If cleaning the sensor doesn’t solve your problem, then it’s probably time to replace it.

Does Collision Cause Engine Damage?

You might be wondering whether or not you need your Pre-Collision System at all, or whether you could just turn it off and ignore the error message.

At the end of the day, all of the Toyota Safety Sense features are incredibly helpful and can help to prevent a collision. Any level of collision, no matter how minor, can cause damage to the car’s engine – or other important parts of your vehicle.

It’s better to spend a little time and effort fixing your Pre-Collision System rather than spending a huge amount of money and going through a lot of hassle repairing and replacing parts of your engine after an accident – not to mention the potential harm this could cause to you or others.

Toyota Pre-collision system failure: Ideas of what might be the problem >> Check out the video below:


So, what is a Pre-Collision System malfunction? This error message is telling you that there is some issue in the Pre-Collision System of your Toyota, which is designed to warn you of impending collisions and automatically apply the brakes if you don’t take action.

Usually, this message means that the system is not calibrated properly and needs resetting, the sensors are dirty or obstructed, or there has been some damage to one of the component parts that enable it to work correctly.


Drivetrain Malfunction: How To Fix? (Step by Step)

Drivetrain Malfunction

When you see an error message appear on your car’s dash, it’s obviously cause for alarm, but how serious are they and what does each one mean?

If your BMW has flashed up with a “drivetrain malfunction” error, then we’ve got all the information you need to solve it.

A drivetrain malfunction can refer to a problem with the transmission, the engine, the ignition, or the fuel system in your vehicle. For BMWs, this error message is not particularly specific and it will initiate a safe driving mode that affects how the vehicle runs.

Here is how to fix a drivetrain malfunction:

  • Step 1: Restart the engine.
  • Step 2: Check the engine.
  • Step 3: Run a diagnostic scan.
  • Step 4: Consider the symptoms.
  • Step 5: Take it to a professional.
  • Step 6: Carry out repairs or replacements.

What Is The Drivetrain?

To understand what this error message means and what you might need to do to fix it, we first need to figure out what it’s actually talking about.

The drivetrain in your car is not a single component, but a series of different components that link together. Sometimes alternatively spelled as drive train or drive-train, it is basically all of the parts that deliver power to the wheels, which can include:

  • Transmission: Also known as the gearbox, which turns the power from the engine into forward momentum.
  • Driveshaft: The cylinder that connects the transmission to the axle, providing torque to the wheels.
  • CV Joint: A Constant-Velocity Joint, which bends and allows the axle to move while the drive wheels are turning. Usually found in front-wheel drive cars.
  • U-Joint: A Universal Joint is a flexible component that connects to the driveshaft, allowing it to pivot and move as the car bounces or flexes.
  • Differential: The component that distributes power to each drive wheel.
  • Axle Shafts: The shafts that deliver power from the differential to the drive wheels.

Strictly speaking, the engine or motor itself is not technically considered part of the drivetrain, and neither is the fuel system, but these component parts are obviously interlinked and the drivetrain can malfunction if they are not also working normally.

What Causes Drivetrain Loss?

So, now that we know what a drivetrain is, we can start to get to grips with what it means when your car has a “drivetrain malfunction”.

In general, when the drivetrain isn’t working and you start to notice a drop in power then it means that one of the many components involved has started to fail.

This might be because:

  • Components like the U-Joints are worn and becoming loose, causing the drivetrain to shake and the vehicle to vibrate while you are driving.
  • The transmission fluid is leaking, meaning the transmission is no longer being kept cool and lubricated. This leads to more friction and wear, which cause further damage and a loss of drivetrain function.

These are far from the only reasons why your drivetrain might be struggling, though, and they are not necessarily the exact causes of why you might get a “drivetrain malfunction” error message.

How To Resolve A Drivetrain Malfunction

Now that we know what might have caused the message to appear in the first place, how do we actually get rid of it?

Once you are in a safe place, there are a few simple steps that you should follow:

  • Step 1: Restart the engine. Before you panic, it’s worth checking that the error message is not a mistake. Try turning the engine off for around ten minutes and then starting it up again to see if the error reappears.
  • Step 2: Check the engine. If the error message is still there, you can give your engine some basic maintenance to see if you can spot any obvious problems. Have a look at the state of the components, inspect the engine for leaks or damage (particularly to the transmission), and check the levels of your oil and coolant.
  • Step 3: Run a diagnostic scan. If you have a code scanner, then you can use this to get more accurate information about the exact problem that your BMW is facing. The manual will tell you what each specific code might mean, as long as you are using a compatible scanner.
  • Step 4: Consider the symptoms. If you haven’t figured out the root cause of the message yet, then think about the other symptoms you have noticed. Misfiring generally means that it’s a spark plug problem, power loss is often related to the ignition coils, fuel problems will typically be down to the fuel pump or injector, and exhaust issues are normally caused by the catalytic converter.
  • Step 5: Take it to a professional. The last port of call will always be a professional mechanic, who will be much better equipped to diagnose the issue for you.
  • Step 6: Carry out repairs or replacements. Most of the problems that lead to a “drivetrain malfunction” error message require some component to be replaced or repaired – like fixing a transmission leak, installing new spark plugs, or getting a fresh catalytic converter.

Read also >> How an Internal Combustion Engine Works (Step By Step)

Read also >> Who Invented the Internal Combustion Engine? (History + More)

BMW Drivetrain Malfunction Error Message

In a BMW, specifically, a “drivetrain malfunction” is an error message that they use to indicate that there is some problem within the overall drivetrain system, which has led to it running less efficiently than normal.

This error message can mean more than one thing. Since the drivetrain is a relatively broad interconnecting series of components, a malfunction could be occurring in any one of them, causing this message to appear.

On top of that, BMWs often use this message to refer to other issues that might affect the drivetrain, like problems with the engine, the fuel system, or the ignition – which are not technically considered drivetrain components.

Usually, though, this message means one of a few different things is happening. The first step to figuring out how to resolve it, therefore, is identifying which of the following issues might be causing it to appear:

Engine Misfiring

If your engine is misfiring, this means that the combustion is not happening the way that it should and the combustion cylinder is not firing properly.

This can cause slower acceleration, shaking while you are trying to increase your speed, and even losing power for short moments. You might also notice the engine vibrating more than usual.

More often than not, this will happen because the spark plugs have become damaged or worn over time, so they are not able to deliver the spark required to fire the engine.

Loss Of Power

If you’re struggling to accelerate and losing power, then your car is often going to flag this as a problem with the drivetrain.

It will be most obvious when you are trying to speed up, and it can be frustrating and dangerous when you’re not able to get the forward momentum that you usually do.

One of the most common reasons why you might be losing power would be aging ignition coils, which aren’t able to distribute power to the spark plugs.

Fuel Delivery

Sometimes combined with power loss, you might also notice that your fuel supply is not consistent, and you get random surges of power while you are accelerating. This might indicate that there is a problem with the fuel pump and your engine is starved.

It’s not always the pumps that cause this problem though. You might also notice misfiring, stalling, and strange vibrations that might mean the fuel is not getting where it needs to go, often because the fuel injectors are not functioning correctly.

Exhaust Issues

If something is wrong with your emissions system, then you can get a pressure build-up or a clog that causes the combustion chamber to slow down.

This may lead the engine to stall and might show up as a drivetrain malfunction in your car.

The most component that typically causes this kind of failure would be the catalytic converter, which converts harmful gases and dangerous emissions into cleaner elements in order to protect the environment.

Can You Drive On A Drivetrain Malfunction?

Although it is often possible to drive with the “drivetrain malfunction” error showing, it is definitely not recommended.

Some of the issues that can cause this message to appear are pretty serious and may mean that the vehicle is not safe to operate.

This error also usually triggers the vehicle to switch to a safer driving mode, which is designed to stop more damage from occurring. You might see the message “Drive moderately. Maximum drivetrain output not available.” This means that the torque has been limited and the overall power has been reduced to keep the engine safe.

How Long Does A Drivetrain Last On A Car?

It’s hard to say how long you should expect your drivetrain to last because it is made up of so many different parts.

The spark plugs are usually the first component to fail, and these typically last from 30,000 to 50,000 miles. The driveshaft and axle shaft tend to survive for 75,000 to 150,000 miles before becoming overly worn, and the transmission shouldn’t need replacing before around 300,000 miles on the average car.

At the end of the day, though, the parts in your car don’t always live for as long as they are supposed to. Proper maintenance and regular inspections will definitely keep them going for a lot longer – but unexpected damage can occur no matter how old they are.

Can Brakes Cause Drivetrain Malfunction?

The braking system will almost definitely not result in a drivetrain malfunction, as the brakes themselves are not part of the series of components that give the car drive. Problems with your brakes problems are usually indicated by a brake pad warning light or a “brake malfunction” error message.

What Causes a Drivetrain Malfunction on BMWs? >> Check out the video below:


So, what does it mean when your car tells you there is a drivetrain malfunction? Well, it typically means that some component within the drivetrain has failed, or the drivetrain is not able to function normally because it is not getting the power that it needs.

In a BMW, this message usually indicates a problem with the transmission, spark plugs, ignition coils, fuel pumps, and fuel injectors, or catalytic converter.

It’s always best to stop driving the car as soon as possible to get the damaged component replaced or repaired.


Auxiliary Battery Malfunction: How To Fix? (Step by Step)

Auxiliary Battery Malfunction

While not all vehicles have an auxiliary battery, those that do rely on it quite heavily.

It is a source of backup power and can be used to keep certain vehicle functions operating, although rarely the more important ones.

Like with your standard battery, it is not uncommon to have an auxiliary battery malfunction. But, what does this mean? How can you fix it? Let’s take a look.

Auxiliary Battery Malfunction

An auxiliary battery function likely means one of three things:

  • The auxiliary battery has been completely drained of power.
  • The auxiliary battery is old and needs replacing.
  • There is a wiring issue in your vehicle.

The problem is that it is tough to work out what the actual problem is. When you get an auxiliary battery malfunction, literally all you will be told is that the battery has an issue. Nothing more. The only way to really find more out about the issue is to use an OBD2 scanner.

This device taps into the vehicle’s onboard computer and reads various error codes. These error codes can then be used to work out what the issue is.

You can pick up an OBD2 scanner for not a whole lot of money, although we suggest that you head to your local garage as they will be able to fix the issue.

That being said, there are a few methods that you can try first. You will need to read through your vehicle’s manual to work out where the auxiliary battery is. It is likely going to be located close to your standard vehicle battery, but it will be much smaller.

We won’t talk about wiring issues here. They are tricky to deal with, and it isn’t really something that you should be trying to fix if you don’t have a clue what you’re doing.

The issue could be anything from a frayed cable to a rusty terminal or a complete breakdown of the electrical components in your vehicle. That’s why an OBD2 scanner is used.

Charging Your Battery

Just like your standard vehicle battery, your auxiliary battery should charge when your vehicle is in motion.

This means that it is highly unlikely that your vehicle is going to drain. In fact, the only time that your auxiliary battery should drain is if your vehicle is stopped and you decide to run your vehicle’s electronics.

The vehicle’s main battery will drain first, and then the auxiliary battery will drain shortly after.

While running your vehicle should kick a bit of life back into your vehicle’s auxiliary battery, it may not help if that battery has been fully drained.

To deal with a fully drained battery, you will need to remove it from your vehicle and use a standard car battery to recharge it. The process should be fairly self-explanatory.

You just connect the charger’s battery clips directly to the battery.

Charging should take a few hours. If you have a smart vehicle battery charger (which you should have if you have purchased a modern battery charger), then it should charge overnight without any issues. 

We do want to point out here that your auxiliary battery should rarely be put in a position where the battery has completely drained. If your vehicle’s auxiliary battery is fully drained, then it is likely that you also have an issue with the main battery in your car too.

This is because the auxiliary battery should barely be using any power when that main battery has power. So, you may also want to double-check to make sure that the main battery hasn’t completely drained too. 

Replacing Your Battery

An auxiliary battery, just like any other car battery, has a limited lifespan. If you have not changed the battery in 4-5 years, then it is likely due for a replacement.

You can pick up a new auxiliary battery from any decent car parts supplier. They will cost you a bit of money, but nowhere near as much as a standard battery!

Some people may find that they are able to squeeze a few more years out of their battery but, honestly, if your auxiliary battery has managed to get to the point where it is flashing up battery malfunctions, then it is probably long past due to being replaced. 

Read also >> Can You Leave a Battery Charger Connected? (Is It Safe?)

Read also >> How Long to Leave a Car Running to Charge Battery (Do This)

What If The Auxiliary Battery Malfunction Doesn’t Disappear?

Your vehicle’s computer works by keeping a constant eye out for any issues that may be occurring with the various systems in the car.

If you have a battery malfunction, then your vehicle will be constantly checking to see whether the issue has been dealt with.

If the issue has been dealt with then, hopefully, that warning is going to eventually disappear. If it disappears, then you know that the problem is fixed.

If the auxiliary battery malfunction warning still doesn’t appear after either replacing or charging your vehicle’s battery, then there is a good chance that your vehicle has a wiring issue. As we said, this is not something that you should be dealing with yourself.

Instead, you will head to your local garage. If possible, you should try and head to a garage that specializes in your particular vehicle brand. 

Can You Drive With An Auxiliary Battery Malfunction?

You can drive with an auxiliary battery malfunction, although your vehicle isn’t telling you that there is a malfunction in the battery for fun. It is telling you that your battery probably needs to be dealt with in the very near future.

While you probably won’t need to deal with the problem within a couple of days, do not wait more than a week or two.

For the most part, if your auxiliary battery fails, nothing will immediately happen to your vehicle. However, if your vehicle’s main battery lacks sufficient charge, then you may find it difficult to start your vehicle, perhaps impossible.

You may also find that certain electrical features in your vehicle fail to work, although they are rarely going to be the most important ones.

What Happens If The Auxiliary Battery Dies?

If the auxiliary battery dies, nothing will happens. The job of the auxiliary battery is to provide backup power. Assuming your standard vehicle is fully charged, then it is unlikely that you will notice any major issues with your vehicle. 

There are some vehicles that have functions that rely on the auxiliary battery and these may stop working. However, for the most part, you probably won’t even notice them working.

For most people, the only time you will ever know that the auxiliary battery has stopped working is because you notice an alert on your vehicle’s dashboard, or perhaps the radio stops working, or your vehicle’s air conditioning system is acting a little sluggish.

The latter is much more likely to occur if your vehicle’s main battery doesn’t have sufficient power.

Can An Auxiliary Battery Drain The Car Battery?

No, an auxiliary battery shouldn’t be able to drain the car battery. However, that isn’t to say that it won’t.

An auxiliary battery will only drain the car battery if the wiring in your vehicle is poor. If an isolator or charge controller has been installed, then the auxiliary battery shouldn’t drain the car battery at all.

If you notice that your car battery is draining rapidly and you suspect it may be down to the auxiliary battery, then we suggest that you have the vehicle’s wiring looked at. This is not something that should be happening at all. 

One of the most common reasons why that auxiliary battery is draining the car battery is because the wires are in the wrong order.

So, rather than the vehicle sending generated power into the auxiliary battery, the vehicle is taking power from the auxiliary battery and feeding all of it straight into the main vehicle battery.

There is nothing charging the auxiliary battery at all. Although, this is something that you will notice at a pretty early stage. It doesn’t take long to completely drain an auxiliary battery if it isn’t being charged, so you should spot the issue within a few hours. 

Will a Bad Auxiliary Battery Cause a Check Engine Light?

Yes a bad auxiliary battery can cause a check engine light.

Only the more modern vehicles will give you a proper indication that there is an auxiliary battery malfunction. This will normally happen if your vehicle has some sort of digital screen inside it.

If your vehicle does not have a digital screen and you have a simple dashboard, then there aren’t that many lights that can indicate issues, so the vehicle may flash up a check engine light instead.

There is a major problem here, though. This is the fact that the check engine light could indicate one of hundreds of potential problems in your vehicle. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a problem with your auxiliary battery.

So, unfortunately, the only option that you really have here is to either get yourself an OBD2 scanner or to head to your local garage.

Honestly, if your vehicle is displaying a check engine light, it is highly unlikely that it is going to be a problem with your auxiliary battery.

In the grand scheme of things, an auxiliary battery malfunction is going to be far, far less common that any other issue in your vehicle. 

Remember, most vehicles don’t have an auxiliary battery. Some people assume their vehicle has an auxiliary battery, but it normally isn’t the case. 

Auxiliary Battery Malfunction: Mercedes E Class W212 Replace >> Check out the video below:


It is rare that a vehicle will have an auxiliary battery malfunction, although that is mostly because many vehicles don’t even have an auxiliary battery.

If you notice an auxiliary battery malfunction warning in your vehicle, then it is likely to be one of three issues. The most common two will be an old or drained battery. Both of those problems can be rectified easily.

In rare cases, there may be a wiring issue in your vehicle. This is something that can only be dealt with by a trained mechanic.


Malfunction Indicator Lamp (Step by Step Solved!)

Malfunction Indicator Lamp

Steve, do you know what to do when malfunction indicator light illuminates? This is one of the questions my readers ask a lot. Well, I´ve got you covered.

It may not seem like it, but one of the most important parts of your vehicle is the malfunction indicator lamp.

it’s just a small tamp but, if it illuminates, it tells you that you have some problems with your vehicle. Problems that you should be rectifying quite quickly.

On this page, we want to tell you what that malfunction indicator lamp means. We want to tell you how much it may cost to clear it, and, perhaps more importantly, whether you should be driving with it on. Let’s jump in. 

What Is a Malfunction Indicator Lamp?

You may sometimes see the malfunction indicator lamp referred to as a ‘check engine light’.

Now, when you are driving your vehicle, there is a whole lot going on. It is an incredibly complicated piece of machinery, after all. Deep inside your vehicle there will be a computer. This computer is constantly monitoring your vehicle for any issues.

Each time an issue occurs, the computer will log that issue. If that issue happens quite frequently, then you will be informed of that issue.

Unfortunately, a vehicle cannot tell you specifically what an issue is. However, it can warn you that there is an issue with your vehicle. How does it do this? Well, it displays the malfunction indicator lamp.

That small lamp on your dashboard. If your vehicle has a problem, that lamp will light up. It is telling you that you need to get to a garage so they can check your vehicle over. 

As we said, the malfunction indicator lamp cannot tell you the specific issue with your vehicle. There are ways to do this, although these methods are not directly accessible to the average vehicle owner. You would need something called an OBD2 scanner.

This is a gadget that plugs into the vehicle’s onboard computer. It will then ‘read’ the computer and give you an error code.

This error code tells you the exact problem with the vehicle. Once the problem has been fixed, the light can be turned off. 

Read also >> Is it Illegal to Remove Check Engine Light? (Do This Instead)

Read also >> Here Is How To Fix a Brake Lamp Bulb Fault (Step by Step)

Can I Drive With The Malfunction Indicator Lamp On?

It depends, although a lot will depend on why that malfunction indicator lamp is being switched on which, as we said in the previous section, is going to be impossible to work out unless you have a specific device for determining what that error code actually means.

So, you can drive your vehicle if you have a malfunction indicator lamp on. However, that lamp is coming on for a reason. You just don’t know what it is yet. This means that you will want to make a beeline for a mechanic as soon as you possibly can.

Preferably within the next day or so, just so they can have a quick look over what is wrong with your vehicle and fix the issue.

It is worth noting that many of the issues that can cause a malfunction indicator lamp to come on will be temporary.

If you see the malfunction lamp clearing itself every so often, then this means that the problem is quite sporadic.

It is much better to drive a vehicle with a sporadic issue than it is to drive a vehicle that has a light constantly on. Although, once again, you still want to make a beeline for the garage as soon as possible.

This is the only way that you can get the problem fixed quickly.

Finally, we want to point out that most of the issues that can cause a light to come on are not massively serious. They probably aren’t something that will kill your vehicle within the next few days, or even the next few weeks.

They are something to take note of, otherwise your vehicle wouldn’t tell you that there is a problem there. However, your vehicle isn’t in imminent danger of breaking down, or at least it shouldn’t be.

The longer you leave that indicator lamp to be turned on, the more chance you will start running into issues with the vehicle, though. 

Can You Turn Off a Malfunction Indicator Light?

You can turn off a malfunction indicator light, but it isn’t going to be easy.

The job of the malfunction indicator lamp is to tell you that you have a problem with your vehicle. As long as that problem with your vehicle remains, then the malfunction indicator light is going to stay on.

The only way to permanently clear a malfunction indicator lamp is to fix the problem.

As we said, this means that you will need to head to a garage and have them diagnose what the issue is. The cost of which can vary. Although, most problems tend to be affordable if you have them dealt with pretty quickly. 

If you have an OBD2 scanner, then you could turn off the malfunction indicator light yourself. However, it isn’t going to be a permanent solution.

As soon as that problem recurs in your vehicle, then the light will just come back on.

Remember, there is absolutely no situation where that light can be turned off permanently unless you have 100% fixed the problem.

How Much Does It Cost To Clear a Check Engine Light?

This is akin to asking how long a piece of string is. The check engine light could indicate any number of issues in your vehicle. Some could cost a few dollars to deal with, and others could cost hundreds to fix.

The only way to find out exactly how much a vehicle repair would cost is to head to your local garage.

If you want a rough idea (or wish to know whether you can fix the problem yourself), then you can pick up a cheap OBD2 scanner. A basic one should cost you around $40 (sometimes they are a bit cheaper than this).

Following the instructions of the OBD2 scanner and your vehicle, you can plug it into your system. You can then find out the error code for the problem that is tripping the check engine light.

This error code can then be checked against a database of error codes for your vehicle to tell you specifically what the problem is.

If you are well-versed in vehicle repair, then many of the issues that cause the check engine light to come on will be easy to fix yourself, which could save you hundreds of dollars. However, of course, you shouldn’t just poke around your vehicle in the hope of getting lucky and finding out whatever is causing that issue.

You need to use that OBD2 scanner and, if you don’t already have one of those, then head to the garage for a diagnostic. 

Can a Weak Battery Cause a Check Engine Light?

Yes. As we said, there are a few things that can cause a check engine light to come on. Any issue that has an impact on the way the engine functions will cause that light to flicker. Battery issues could be one of them.

If the components that help to keep your vehicle’s engine ticking along aren’t getting enough power, then the check engine light could come on. Not having enough power could be down to a variety of issues.

This includes damaged electrical wiring and, of course, a battery that is dying or not charged properly. Remember, a vehicle’s battery has been designed to last just 3 to 4 years. Once it hits this mark, then the check engine light will likely come on.

Once again, the problem comes with you not knowing specifically what the issue is. There are a variety of ways to test whether your battery is functioning e.g. a multimeter, but it is not the only test.

If you believe your car battery has started to go flat, then you can leave it on charge overnight and see if that corrects the issue. If it doesn’t, then you will want to head to the garage and get the problem properly diagnosed.

We do want to point out that battery issues in a vehicle are incredibly rare. If you have a flat battery, there will likely be an indicator on your dashboard that tells you that the battery is starting to go flat (a separate battery indicator).

If that doesn’t come on, then it is much more likely that there is another issue at play in your engine and this is what will need to be fixed.

Although, it still doesn’t harm to check whether the battery is the problem by giving it a quick charge. 


If your malfunction indicator lamp comes on, then it means that you have a problem with the engine in your vehicle, or at least one of the systems that directly connects to the engine.

Without having an OBD2 scanner, it is impossible to work out what the problem is yourself. So, if that lamp comes on, we suggest that you head to your local garage as soon as possible.

The cost of repair could range anywhere from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars. 



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