Audi: Why Won't My Interior Lights Turn On/Off?

Interior lights won't turn on or off? The issue could be anything from a dying battery to an electrical problem. If you'd rather not spend a ton of time and money at the dealership or repair shop to fix the issue, here are some troubleshooting tips.

By Kate Halse - March 30, 2016
Contributors: JustJeff

This article applies to the Audi A3, A4 B7/B8, A6 C5/C6, Q5, and Q7.

Whether your car's symptoms include interior lights that come on while you're driving, simply won't shut off after a reasonable amount of time, or don't come on at all, it's important to determine the underlying issue as soon as possible. It may be possible to resolve the issue on your own, although a trip to the dealership or repair shop might be necessary for a more serious issue. If your vehicle's lights won't turn on or off, here are some possible causes.

Audi why aren't interior lights working infographic

Materials Needed

  • Screwdriver
  • Pry tool
  • Key fob
  • Replacement bulbs

Scenario 1 – Wires might be faulty

They might be broken.

If the interior lights won't shut off and you don't hear a door indicator chime, the culprit could be broken wires in the door jamb. These wires tend to become brittle over time in older vehicles. Look closely for broken wires within the rubber interconnect tube in the door jamb. You may need to remove the door panel with a screwdriver and pry tool to get a closer look. Although less common, the short or broken wires may be located in the vehicle's trunk.

Figure 1. Check for broken wires in the door jamb and behind the door panel.

Scenario 2 – Dome light won't turn off

This may be due to a failed central locking mechanism.

At least one owner on the forum notes that the main symptom is that the vehicle's dome light fails to turn off automatically. This may happen while driving. The issue may be due to a problem with the central locking system. Visit a local mechanic or Audi dealership to troubleshoot any issues with this system.

Figure 2. This is an LED dome light.

Scenario 3 – Interior lights don't come on when driver's side door is opened

The door open/close sensor may be broken.

The main symptom is that the interior lights don't come on when the driver's side door is opened. However, the lights typically turn on when any other door is opened. One owner suggests jumping a ground to the tiny brown wire in the panel above the driver's foot. If there is a problem with the switch, doing so will instantly allow the courtesy lights, door indicator, and chime to work.

Figure 3. Location of interior fuse panel, below and to the left of the steering wheel.

Scenario 4 – Interior lights don't turn off when doors are shut

There may be a number of reasons why interior lights remain on even when the car doors are shut. At least one owner experienced the issue less frequently when the vehicle's battery was replaced. For others, the problem may lie within the electrical system. One suggestion is to sit in the car with the overhead lights on, then turn the car off. Next, lock the doors using the key fob, then unlock the doors. The next step is to open the driver's door, shut it, and start the car. The lights should go off.

Figure 4. If your interior lights won't turn off with all doors shut, try the troubleshooting procedure above.

Scenario 5 – Lights won't turn on at all

If one interior light in particular won't turn on at all, and you've already dismissed the above issues, then you may have a burnt-out bulb. Replacing an interior bulb is pretty simple in all areas of the car, and usually requires simple pry tools and the correct sized bulbs to complete. It's recommended to swap out old interior bulbs with LED ones which last for many more hours.

  • Figure 5. Simple pry tools can remove most interior light panels.
  • Figure 6. Other interior lights might require unscrewing a component once removed.

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