Audi’s are great cars and certainly one of my favorite manufacturers. But like all cars, they do have their share of problems.
One of the more common issues is an Audi Stabilization Control fault, which can be a little confusing to diagnose at first, fortunately, I had a few Audis in my workshop with the exact issue and I was able to diagnose and repair the problem.
In this article, I am going to explain what the problem is, how to diagnose it and how to fix it. So let’s get started.
The short answer is, the most common causes of Stabilization Control faults on an Audi are bad battery, low steering fluid, damaged steering rack, poor wheel alignment, or incorrect tire pressures.
What is Audi’s stability control?
Before we go to the possible causes and how to fix it, let’s talk about what stability control actually is.
In simple terms, it is a system that prevents any unwanted movements of the car while doing emergency braking or during cornering.
It does this by applying brakes to the wheels that are slipping and also reduces the engine power for a short period of time.
If you have ever driven an Audi with stability control turned off, you will know what I mean by saying this system is very useful when it comes to driving on slippery surfaces or during emergency braking.
Audi “Stability Control Fault” Causes
1. Damaged Steering Rack:
A damaged steering rack is one of the most common causes of an Audi “stability control fault” light.
If your car starts making noises while you are turning, or if it feels like it is hard to turn the wheel when driving, then this may be the issue.
The noise could also sound like a grinding or squeaking sound coming from where the front wheels meet with your car’s body.
Unfortunately, if this is caused by a damaged steering rack then you will have to get it replaced and that is a bit costly. The good news is this is not the most common cause of stability control but one of the causes.
2. Incorrect Tire Pressure:
If your tires are not properly inflated then this can cause an Audi “stability control fault” light to come on.
If your tires are under-inflated by just a few pounds, it can make the car feel sluggish and unstable when turning or braking.
This is because there is not enough air pressure in the tires to help support and move the vehicle as intended and will alert the car’s computer to this.
You can check your tire pressure using a digital tire pressure gauge or by using the TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) built into each wheel of your Audi.
3. Bad Wheel Speed Sensor:
If the wheel speed sensor is damaged or broken then it will not be able to send accurate data to the control system and cause an Audi “stability control fault” light to appear on your dashboard.
This will make your car feel like it’s drifting or “fishtailing” and may cause a loss of control. The wheel speed sensor is usually located near the brakes, behind the hub of each wheel.
4. Poor Wheel Alignment:
If your car’s wheels are not properly aligned, then it will cause the tires to wear unevenly and can lead to an Audi “stability control fault” light appearing on your dashboard.
This is especially important if you drive on rough roads or off-road often as damage from this type of driving will be amplified by bad alignment.
5. Low Power Steering Fluid:
If your car’s steering fluid is low, then this can cause the Audi “stability control fault” light to appear. This is because the hydraulic assist in your steering system will not be working properly and may result in a loss of control of your vehicle.
6. Bad Battery:
A bad battery can cause the Audi “stability control fault” light to appear on your dashboard.
This is because the electrical system in your car needs power for everything from starting it up to running lights, radios, air conditioning, or heaters since a battery is responsible for most electronics in your Audi, including the powertrain control module.
A bad battery can cause your Audi’s “stability control fault” light to appear on your dashboard as well as numerous other warning lights, including those for ABS and airbag systems.
How to Fix Audi ESC Fault
There are a couple of things you can do, before taking your car to the Audi repair shop. The first one is to check if your battery is low on charge or drained completely.
If you have a portable battery charger, plug it into the cigarette lighter port and see if the warning light disappears after charging for a while.
Another thing I suggest you do is to turn off your Audi then turn the steering all the way to the left until the steering locks, then turn on the car and do the same thing, in most cases the fault will disappear.
If not, then there might be something wrong with your car’s electrical system or powertrain control module which has to be serviced by an expert technician at an Audi service center or an independent auto repair shop like the one I have.