6 Reasons Why Audi Pre-Sense System Malfunction

Pre-sense is an advanced feature in Audi vehicles that assists the driver with safety problems before they happen. The pre-sense uses sensors installed around the car. If the sensors detect any danger, the pre-sense system will automatically brake. 

Despite Audi’s best efforts, this technology sometimes malfunctions and fails to react on time. When your vehicle warns you of Pre-sense system malfunctionit will say: “Audi Pre-Sense Currently Restricted. See owner’s manual.” What are the causes of these malfunctions? Read ahead for indicators, causes, and malfunction solutions. 

The purpose of pre-sense and its detectors 

Audi’s pre-sense system identifies potential hazards and issues. When issues are detected, the system will take corrective measures before an accident occurs. Audi offers front, rear, or 360 degrees of pre-sense detecting functions.

If the driver loses control of the vehicle, then the Pre-sense system will communicate with the stabilization Control (ESC) right when the Audi vehicle begins to skid. 

The pre-sense system will warn the driver with both visual and audio warnings. If necessary, the system provides brake assistance to reduce car speed or even full brake assistance to avoid crashing or flipping over. 

After the system engages the brakes, it will then shut the side windows and the sliding sunroof, and turn on the danger lights. It will also tighten the hold of the seatbelts to limit the forward and lateral movements of the driver and front passenger. Limiting the movement of the driver and passengers can prevent major injuries.

Indicators of Audi Pre-Sense Malfunction 

When the pre-sense system malfunctions, indicators will appear on the dashboard. The warning symbols look like a circle and bracket with a red star. The indicator can also appear in the form of a broken circle with a triangle and an exclamation point in yellow. 

Both of these warning symbols mean the pre-sense system is malfunctioning. There is a number of reasons why the system can malfunction, from bad sensors to too much dirt. So, to resolve this issue, go to the car wash. If the warning symbols remain on the dashboard, then go for professional help. 

Causes of Audi Pre-Sense Restricted and its solutions 

Fault in the pressure sensor

Audi’s pressure sensor uses to determine the pressure in each of the tires and it can detect if the tire has low air. 

When this sensor is not working correctly, it will alert Audi’s computer system that there is a problem with tire pressure. Your car’s performance will suffer, and you may have difficulty using brakes properly due to the lack of pressure. 

To fix this issue, test the sensors first. The sensors may not be working correctly because the vehicle’s owner may have recently changed the tires and they did not adjust the sensors in the right place.

The position of the tires may affect the sensor’s data. Bad data from the tire sensor can affect the performance of other parts of the Audi that rely on that data. If you need to replace the sensors, then do it.

Malfunction due to damaged brake lines

Another common issue of Audi’s pre-sense is damaged brake lines. Damaged brake lines require replacement. It disables the driver from responding when they try to stop the car. 

For example, it’s normal for a car to skid right before the driver engages the brakes on a wet road. 

In this situation, the Audi pre-sense system relies on its advanced sensors to detect a potential skid and assist the driver with automatic brakes. 

The system helps to maintain control over the vehicle. But when brake lines are damaged, it will affect the data read by the sensors. The brakes will malfunction and not engage. 

A professional mechanic must replace the brake lines. The mechanic needs to choose brake lines that perfectly match your Audi model. If the brake lines match, the Audi vehicles will have better long-term performance. 

Fault in flash memory module

The flash memory module controls the Audi-pre-sense and Emergency brake system. If the module system malfunctions, it can no longer communicate with other parts of the car’s computer system. 

Nonetheless, it can cause many problems like a malfunction that prevents the pre-sense system from sending messages.

If the vehicle’s battery is disconnected many times, due to car service or for some other reason, this issue will arise. It means the system has corrupted flash memory. 

If the driver is not focused on this issue, it can affect the tire pressure system. This fault may also affect other computer system functions that rely on a pre-sense control system. 

The solution to this problem requires updating the Engine Control Unit in your Audi car.

Updating the system means downloading the most recent software released by Audi. To do this, an ODIS Service diagnostic tool is required.

To prevent this issue in the future, Audi has released a software patch that must be installed on all affected cars.

However, you must download the software patch before disconnecting Audi’s battery. If you do not install the update, the engine control module may need replacing.

Short circuit

A damaged wire can cause the pre-sensor system to stop working. The pre-sensor system’s wiring is under the passenger seat. The wire produces 5V to a sensor that triggers the airbags to avoid collapse. 

When this wire is damaged, it can trip the Audi pre-sense system and cause it to malfunction. If the pre-sensor system malfunctions, the car can no longer detect upcoming hazards. 

The solution to this problem is simple. Just replace the wires, and the pre-sense system will again work correctly. 

Too much dirt on sensors 

The sensors need enough space to work correctly. The space helps detect vehicles from a greater distance. 

If there is too much dirt on the sensors, the sensors will not be able detect signals. This may trigger a pre-sense system by accident. 

Turn off all the lights while driving during the daytime and check whether it is working or not. Take your Audi to get serviced every six months. Regular car servicing can ensure that the vehicle, computer system, and sensors work correctly.

If the driver feels strange voices coming from the detectors, rush to the Audi specialist mechanics and check the car software. 

The problem with the front camera 

The pre-sense system relies on the front camera to sense different hazards that can cause accidents. The camera can detect changing signal lights or if the car in front of the Audi is slowing down.

If the camera fails to detect minor objects, especially in sharp u-turns, the computer gets confused and causes pre-sense malfunction. 

It would be best to replace the camera with a brand new Audi camera. Make sure an Audi specialist mechanic does this procedure. 


The Audi Pre-Sense technology is a semi-autonomous safety system that interacts with automatic braking or other collision avoidance systems. It can command the brakes, windows, and sunroof and even tighten the seatbelts, which prevents severe injury to passengers in the event of a collision. 

  • Eric Williams

    I'm the founder of Daily Car Tips. I wrote articles in the automotive industry for more than 10 years, published in USA and Europe. I love sharing my knowledge and insights with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of cars together!

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