In this article, I will explain what the ‘TPMS Malfunction’ warning means in your Audi, discuss its leading causes, and guide you on how to resolve and reset this alert on your dashboard. So, without wasting any more time, let’s get to it.
What is Audi TPMS?
In order to understand what the Audi TPMS Malfunction warning means, let’s first discuss what TPMS is and how it works.
This will give you a clear understanding of what the warning is trying to tell you and how it can be fixed.
In Laymens’s terms, TPMS on your Audi stands for ‘Tire Pressure Monitoring System’.
It’s a system that is responsible for monitoring the inflation pressure of your tires and alerts you when there are any sudden changes or if the pressure drops below a pre-set limit.
The Audi TPMS mainly consists of Tire pressure sensors (TPS) and a TPMS Control Module.
The TPS is a small device that is mounted inside each of your tires.
It is used to measure the tire pressure and send this information to the Audi CM which then uses it to display on your dashboard.
What TPMS System Does Audi Use?
There are two types of tire pressure monitoring systems, the direct and indirect.
Audi’s TPMS utilizes the Direct type, which implies that the system doesn’t have direct contact with the tires.
Instead, it relies on sensors situated inside each tire to transfer data.
However, it’s worth noting that particular Audi models use an indirect type of TPMS based on the year.
What Does “TPMS Malfunction” Mean on an Audi?
When the “TPMS Malfunction” or “Tire Pressure System Malfunction” message appears on your Audi dashboard, it simply means that your TPMS system has detected a problem.
This could be due to any number of reasons, including an issue with your tires or the sensors themselves.
In some cases, though rare, there may be an issue with the TPMS control module in your Audi.
Audi TPMS Malfunction Main Causes
Having worked on numerous Audi vehicles, I’ve identified the following as some of the most common causes of a Tire pressure system malfunction:
1. Bad Tire Pressure Sensor(s)
The leading cause of TPMS malfunction on an Audi is if one or more of the tire pressure sensors have failed.
Tire pressure sensors are what transmit the tire pressure information to your vehicle’s TPMS control module.
They are located in each wheel on an Audi, and each sensor has a unique ID number that allows it to be identified when extracting diagnostic codes.
In the event that any of these sensors stop functioning, your Audi will display a “TPMS Malfunction” or “Tire Pressure System malfunction.”
The TPS can fail due to a number of different reasons, including:
- Bad TPS Battery
- Exposure to extreme temperatures
- Valve stem Corrosion
- Wear and Tear
- Physical Damage due to hitting a pothole/rock
From my personal experience, this is a very common issue with Audi’s. Luckily, they are relatively affordable and easy to replace.
2. Unbalanced Tire Pressure
Another common cause for this fault is unbalanced tire pressure.
If one of your tires has significantly less air than the others, then this will cause a problem with the TPMS system.
When you drive with an unbalanced tire pressure, your Audi may display a “TPMS Malfunction”.
This normally happens when you change your stock tires to aftermarket ones.
As they are not calibrated to be used with your Audi’s TPMS system and if one of the tire pressure drops too low can cause issues.
In most cases, you will be able to reset the system by using a diagnostics tool (preferably a Vag-Com or OBDevelen).
3. Bad ABS Sensors:
The third common cause of Aud’s “TPMS malfunction” warning is a bad ABS Sensor.
If your Audi is using the Indirect TPMS system, it uses a combination of wheel speed sensors and ABS sensors to determine if a tire has lost pressure.
If any of these components fail, the system will display a warning message on your instrument cluster.
How to Fix and Reset “TPMS Malfunction” on an Audi
Now that I have explained the possible causes of the “TPMS Malfunction” warning, let’s discuss how to fix and reset it.
Disconnect the Battery
The first thing I recommend that you do is disconnect your battery and reconnect it.
I’ve seen in some cases the alert goes away after the battery is disconnected and reconnected because it was a false alarm.
Check Tire Pressure
If this doesn’t work, then check your tire pressures. I one or more is too low, inflate them to a recommended PSI (check the stick on the driver’s door).
Replace the Tire Pressure Sensors
If the “TPMS malfunction” warning doesn’t go away, then it’s time to replace the Tire pressure sensors / Abs sensor, and that should fix the problem.