The Audi drive select system allows you to change the characteristics of your Audi by adjusting the suspension, engine, and transmission.
You can choose from a range of settings to make the car more comfortable or sporty.
However, when you select any of these modes, a message appears on the dashboard saying “Drive System Malfunction.”
You are then restricted from changing anything in your car’s settings. You can’t even change the ride height of your car.
It is a significant safety concern because such issues can cause serious accidents.
Fortunately, this issue has been fixed before, but it depends on the exact cause of the problem.
Read on for the possible causes of Audi’s drive system malfunction and their solutions.
What Causes Audi Drive System Malfunction
Here’s everything you need to know about Audi drive system malfunction. It should help you know what to do if it happens to your vehicle.
Faulty Control Module
The Audi Drive Select system consists of a control module and several motors. Together they drive the various components in the suspension system.
The problem is caused by a faulty control module that controls one of the actuators in the air suspension system.
The malfunctioning actuator makes it impossible for the suspension system to adapt itself to different driving situations.
So when your drive select system tries to adjust your suspension, it detects a fault and disables itself. It may result in static or error messages on the dashboard.
You may also see errors when changing the Audi Drive Select system settings.
To fix the control module, reset it by either cycling the ignition or driving at highway speeds for several miles.
Another solution is to replace the control module with a used or new one.
Faulty Steering Angle Sensor
The ADS system uses the steering angle sensor to adjust its settings based on your driving preferences and habits.
If this sensor malfunctions, it will not be able to read your driving preferences correctly.
It could lead to error messages on your dashboard and problems with changing the Audi Drive Select system settings.
So it causes a bad connection or poor contact between the steering angle sensor and the control unit.
When this fault appears, the system can reset itself from time to time. The own resetting should allow it to work again before the error reappears.
The first solution is to remove the sensor altogether, clean the contacts and reinsert the sensor. This first solution is, however, not always practical.
If this procedure does not solve the problem, you will need to replace your faulty wheel sensor.
Faulty Cables Or Connectors
Audi Drive Select has many cables and connectors to different vehicle parts. These cables connect to your steering wheel, seat controls, etc.
These cables or connectors can become disconnected or faulty over time.
It would, however, prevent the cables from sending signals properly to your control module, causing error messages.
It would also cause problems with adjusting settings in the Audi Drive.
If the faulty cables or connections result from poor contact, you can solve it with a good contact spray.
The most reliable solution is, however, to replace the wiring harness. It may also happen that the multi-pin connector is damaged.
It is necessary to replace the entire plug housing in such a situation.
Low Battery Voltage
A low battery voltage can cause the Audi Drive System Malfunction warning to appear.
The battery will often be fine, but the charging system is not providing enough power to charge it.
The first thing to do is check your battery voltage with a voltmeter at idle. You should have about 14 volts at idle and more than 14.5 volts when revving the engine.
If you are below this range, you may have a problem with your alternator or voltage regulator.
A common cause of this is not driving your vehicle enough (like once a week).
It will drain the battery because the vehicle’s computers are constantly running and draining power from the battery.
If your battery voltage is low, you may need to replace your battery or have your charging system checked.
You should also avoid leaving your vehicle for long without driving it.
Faulty Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
If your tires are not correctly inflated, it can cause this error.
The TPM monitors the pressure and temperature of all four tires, so if something isn’t right, it will trigger an alert.
The system then disables your ability to use Audi Drive Select until the problem is fixed.
It can often be caused by low air pressure in the tires (causing the tire pressure monitoring system to malfunction).
In some cases, it can be caused by a failed Auto Braking System brake sensor. If this is the case, you may also have issues with the ABS light.
There are many ways to avoid the Audi Drive System Malfunction error. The first step is to ensure no leak in the tire pressure; if any, then fix it.
After this, you can perform a simple reset on the car’s computer.
If the TPMS sensor failed due to corrosion from moisture in the valve stem area, you would need a new sensor.
Closing Or Opening The Trunk Lid
Audi Drive Select (ADS) provides the driver with a choice of vehicle responses through the Digital Signal Processor switch.
The DSP switch controls various vehicle systems and deactivates or activates them in the selected mode.
The ADS control module monitors the drive select switches and responds to their signals.
Due to its design, sudden movement of the trunk lid can cause a false signal from the trunk lid switch.
This false signal can make the Audi drive system think the trunk is not latched correctly.
The false signal may set up a fault code, causing the switch signal to stop responding as expected.
It can cause Audi Drive System Malfunction errors on your MMI Display Screen.
To resolve this problem, you will need to perform a reset and see if you have resolved the issue.
If your vehicle keeps setting this fault code after the reset, please get it diagnosed by an experienced Audi mechanic.
An engine misfire can make your car run poorly and stall if left unchecked.
The engine misfire occurs when one cylinder in the engine does not fire properly due to spark plugs failing.
It could also be from fuel injectors clogged with carbon deposits from old oil changes or dirty air filters.
It may result in poor acceleration performance and rough idling at low speeds when idling.
To diagnose the fault properly, you will need an advanced scan tool to read engine misfire data.
If all cylinders are misfiring, you should suspect a problem with a mass airflow sensor (MAF).
The inlet manifold pressure sensor (IMP), fuel pump, spark plugs, or other components could also be with the inlet manifold pressure sensor.
If only one cylinder is misfiring, you should suspect a bad spark plug wire, ignition coil, or fuel injector.
You need to check the catalytic converter if the car runs rough and throw check engine codes. It’s possible that the catalytic converter has overheated and is damaged.
It would require replacing the catalytic converter to fix it permanently.
The best way to tell what caused the malfunction is to take the vehicle to a mechanic and have them run a diagnostic test.
This defect could lead to sudden, unintended acceleration or a complete shut-down of the engine while in traffic.
Whether at a slow speed or not, this can lead to a potentially dangerous situation.
With comprehensive experience in writing exceptional quality articles and blogs about cars and related stuff, Daniel is one of the finest bloggers and a hardcore car lover we have. He is an ASE certified technician with an across-the-board experience of 10 years in the industry. He could not help tinkering with anything he got his hands on from a young age, which led to his remarkable career in the automotive repair industry.
When he is not under any hood, you can find him on the water or in the woods to pursue his passion for hunting and fishing. He has been writing for multiple sectors and is a regular contributor to several publications.
He currently owns a Nissan 300ZX TT and a Pearl Yellow but plans to upgrade it to 550 HP. His favorites include the Koenigsegg CCX and Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 VT, but for him, the Ferrari 360 Spider is one of the sexiest cars that exists to date.
Being an avid world traveler, he has spent most of his time analyzing the automotive markets, latest technology, and local favorites to enhance his knowledge base. He is currently living in North Caroline, where it’s all about food and coffee and, of course, cars.