Audi: Central Locking Problems

Are you having problems with your door locks, either from the key fob or the inside handles? This article will walk you through the potential causes of the problem and how to fix them.

By Brett Foote - April 4, 2016

This article applies to all Audi models (1997-Present).

Electronic gadgets, like power door locks, are great. That is, when they are working properly. But when your central locking system starts to experience some of those wonderful electrical gremlins, frustration levels tend to soar. Many Audi owners are no stranger to this kind of issue, as it's common to find key fobs that refuse to open the door, along with the old school method of putting the key in the door and even opening the door from the inside. If you're having any or all of these troubles with your locks, keep reading and we'll walk you through some of the common causes of these issues.

Audi: Central Locking Problems

Materials Needed

  • Multimeter
  • VAG-COM cable

Step 1 – Check key fob and battery voltage

These are the two easiest things to check and fix.

The first and most obvious thing to check is your key fob battery. If a fresh battery fixes the problem, consider yourself lucky. If not, also check your battery's voltage to make sure it's reading 12 volts with the ignition off and 14 volts with the ignition on and the alternator running. Low voltage readings can indicate a bad battery that isn't capable of providing enough voltage to operate things like the door locks, in which case it should be replaced.

checking battery voltage
Figure 1. Check your battery voltage.

If your key fob and car battery are working properly, move on to Step 2.

Step 2 – Check for fault codes

There are numerous fault codes that can indicate where the problem is coming from.

If you have a VAG-COM cable, there are numerous fault codes that can indicate where the central locking problem is coming from. If you get a fault code, try clearing it and then checking to see if your locks are working again. Try using both the switches inside the car as well as the key fob, and pay attention to what VAG-COM indicates as working properly/improperly.

VAG-COM fault code
Figure 2. VAG-COM will indicate where the problem might be coming from.

If clearing the codes doesn't solve your problem, move on to Step 3.

Step 3 – Check switches and wiring connections

A bad switch or worn wiring loom could cause a loss of connection.

Some common problem areas include the wiring loom that feeds through the door to the window switches, as well as the central locking switch, which tends to corrode over time. Based on where VAG-COM indicates your issue is coming from, check both the wiring and the switch. Also, check the voltage on the leads that supply power to the vacuum pump for the electric power window motor, as the pump can fail over time.

Door jamb wires
Figure 3. The door jamb wiring loom is a common source of electrical problems.

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