Audi SOS Malfunction:Causes & Fixes

My first experience with the SOS malfunction happened in my then-new 2020 Audi A3.

While driving and making a call with my brother via the Bluetooth connection, I experienced an intermittent static sound on the line.

Soon after, I got the SOS emergency call function malfunction on my dashboard screen. 

To my surprise, this was a common problem with Audi and Volkswagen vehicles.

This article will discuss the Audi SOS malfunction, its common causes, symptoms, and fixes. 

In addition, we will look at the various remedies available for your vehicle. 

Let’s dive in!

What Audi Vehicle is affected with the SOS Malfunction?

According to the 91 TSB released by the NHTSA (September 2022), all Audi vehicles produced from 2019- 2020 will eventually experience SOS malfunction.

These vehicles will include A6, A7, A8, Q5, SQ5, Q7, Q8 and more. 

You are therefore advised to contact your dealer. 

What does the Audi SOS malfunction mean?

First, SOS is an emergency services feature on your Audi that automatically contacts rescue operatives in case of an accident. 

These include firefighters, police, and other rescue operatives. 

European legislation made the eCall feature that enables the SOS compulsory for all calls produced since 2018.

However, the failure of the eCall, especially with Audi cars produced within 2019-2020, posed a serious safety concern worldwide.

There were severe allegations at Volkswagen for deliberately selling vehicles with a defaulted SOS warning system.

Although VW has responded by issuing several TSBs and software updates to resolve the SOS malfunction, this issue persists.

Furthermore, In May 2020, VW issued a voluntary recall of affected vehicles as it officially admitted that the eCall emergency was unreliable.

What are the Symptoms of Audi SOS Malfunction?

Symptoms may vary between vehicles, but the triggered SOS  emergency call malfunction message on the dashboard is the most common.

Drivers may also experience connectivity issues with remote locking. 

That is, the remote may fail to lock or unlock the car. 

In addition,  no diagnostic communication may be reported between the control module for the emergency call module and the communication unit during diagnostics. 

Furthermore, multiple DTC may be stored regarding communications with the control module. However, this is not compulsory (As stated in this Audi TSB fix).

What are the causes of Audi SOS Malfunction?

Audi and Volkswagen manufacturers have stated this issue to be a software issue as a significant cause.

Generally, you will see this error message where the car cannot connect to emergency service via the sim connection in the car.

Other causes of the error message can be a broken antenna or a problem with the communication module.

Furthermore, AT&T announced its plan to discontinue the 3G  network connection in the United States in 2022.

The implication was an urgent software update for Audi vehicles with the 3g network and a hardware update to the up-to-date 4G LTE adapter. 

However, failure to do so will trigger the SOS error message on your Audi dashboard.

How to Fix the Audi SOS malfunction?

Fixing an issue with your car isn’t always straightforward. 

Instead, we recommend trying to fix the cause of the problem rather than the problem itself.

It is why we spent time identifying some of the causes of the malfunction.

For Instance, if the error is triggered by a broken antenna or a problem with the communication module of your Audi. 

The recommended solution is to have the defaulted part replaced. 

In addition, for an outdated 3G adapter in your Audi, a Service Action Code: 91CD was issued.

Audi recommended two solutions to the malfunctioning message on your dashboard. 

The first was to have a software update that would deactivate the 3G service capability so that the error message disappears. 

Also, the second is to have the hardware adapter replaced with a 4G LTE.

The great news is that Audi Service Action Code: 91CD (Voluntary recall) provides free hardware and software updates till January 11, 2027, at its authorized Audi dealer.

SOS Malfunction fix for vehicle with no diagnostic communication

In this case, the solution is to reset the telematics control module, J949 (address word 0075). Follow the steps below:

  • Remove and unplug the telematics control module.
  • Disconnect the backup battery located within the battery compartment of the module.
  • Locate and remove the fuse that supplies power to the data bus On Board diagnostic interface. 
  • Ensure both the battery and fuse remain disconnected for at least 20 minutes.
  • Reinstall the backup battery and the telematic control module in the vehicle.
  • It Should rest the module; if not, follow the ODIS test plan.

Why is my Audi SOS button blinking red?

If you are experiencing your Audi SOS button blinking red, especially after pressing the button, it could mean the feature is unavailable.

A damaged communication module, bad sim card, or software issue may cause it. 

You should consult an Audi dealer on what to do to fix the issue as soon as possible.

What happens in SOS mode?

If you have successfully activated the SOS mode of your Audi, your car sends a message to an emergency call center and allows the emergency service to communicate with you. 

It also shares information such as your current location, vehicle make, and all other information necessary for the rescue. 

Should you deactivate SOS in your Audi?

Deactivating the SOS feature from your vehicle should only be temporary. We do not recommend it as a permanent solution.

It is because the feature can help in life-and-death situations like accidents and robbery, and deactivating it isn’t the smartest move. 

We recommend having the system updated and damaged components replaced as a more effective solution to the malfunction.

Final Thought! 

If your vehicle is experiencing an SOS malfunction, we recommend you take it to an Audi dealer to fix it for free.

The SOS feature is an essential safety feature of your vehicle and should be addressed. 
Research indicated an increased survival rate of 50% since the incorporation of eCall into European cars.

    by
  • Edmond Davis

    I'm Edmond Davis, an automotive expert with years of experience in vehicle repair, performance, and safety. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Automotive Engineering and have worked with major companies like Ford, GM, and Chrysler. I'm a trusted source of information for anyone looking to learn more about cars or improve their driving experience.

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