Audi automatic transmission problems can be caused due to something as simple such as low transmission fluid level but they can also be due to faulty valve body, Transmission Control Module, shifter module, trans fluid pump, worn clutches, and even electronic faults. 

Symptoms

Common problems with Audi automatic transmissions: 

  • Transmission won't shift
  • Transmission stuck in limp mode 
  • Transmission bangs into gear 
  • Tiptronic, not engaging
  • Audi won't go in reverse
  • Won't shift out of the park 
  • Stuck in limp mode
  • Won't go in gear
  • Goes in gear won't move

Common Problems

Audi transmission problems

Judder and loud bang when going from neutral to gear

Audi cars from the mid-2000s with a Tiptronic transmission can experience a judder accompanied by a noticeable bang when going from Neutral into Reverse or Drive.

In most cases, the check engine light will go on, and there will be a P0706 code stored.

Possible causes

  • Connector for the transmission range sensor could not be sealing properly, allowing water and dirt into it. This causes corrosion and distorts signals. Clean off any traces of corrosion and ensure that the connector is sealed.
  • The transmission range sensor may have an internal fault. This is not a serviceable item so replacing it is the only option. It is located underneath the car, at the driver's side of the gearbox.

Clutch slip and RPM oscillations in 4th and 5th gear

When cruising on highway speeds in 4th or 5th gear, Audi cars with Tiptronic transmission can experience something similar to clutch slippage. During this, the engine speed will go up and down by several 100 RPMs. In most cases, the check engine light will go on, and there will be a P0741 code stored.

Possible causes

  • A damaged torque converter, clutch solenoid valve, wiring, or connector - Check all wiring and repair if needed
  • Faulty or clogged torque converter clutch solenoid valve - test its operation with a diagnostic tool and replace if needed
  • Worn-out torque converter clutch.

Grinding or rattling noise while driving

Audi cars with a Tiptronic transmission can suffer from a grinding noise that may be present when the car is in 'drive'.

This may happen when it is started cold and may go away as it warms up, or it can be present all the time. The frequency of the noise follows the engine speed.

Possible causes

  • A torque converter has several needle bearings inside, which can wear out or get damaged as a result of poor maintenance. In addition to noise, this can create noticeable vibrations during accelerations
  • Check the transmission fluid level and top it off if needed. If you don’t know when it was changed last time, consider replacing it together with a filter.

PRNDS symbol occasionally flashing, the car will not engage any gear  

Many cars with Audi Multitronic transmission can experience a wide range of unusual issues. As this is a continuous variable transmission, it uses a specific internal architecture, and symptoms can have different meanings.

In many cases, there will be a flashing PRNDS symbol on the dashboard. In some cases, the transmission will refuse to engage any gear. Restarting the car, sometimes can solve the issue.

Possible causes

  • Low transmission fluid level, degraded fluid, or clogged oil filter. Check the fluid condition and replace it if needed.
  • Faulty transmission oil pump(s) resulting in insufficient oil pressure. Check the oil pressure using a specialized diagnostic tool and replace it if needed.
  • Faulty Transmission Control Unit (TCU). This is a fairly common issue, and there are many specialized workshops that can repair it.

Hesitation when setting off and hunting during acceleration

Many Audi cars with Multitronic transmission made up to 2005 suffer from lack of response, either when sitting from a standstill or when trying to accelerate.

This is accompanied with a feel of gear-hunting and slippage. In the initial phases, the problem will be present only when driving more aggressively.

Possible causes

  • In some cases, the lack of response can be caused by inadequate TCU software. Try updating the software or carry out the relearn procedure described below.
  • The most common issue that causes this problem is worn clutch packs. Over time, clutch discs wear out, which results in metal shavings being present within the oil filter. Replacing the clutch pack is the only solution. Being such a widespread problem, there are various aftermarket uprated kits that increase longevity.

DSG transmission going into limp mode

DSG transmission in Audi cars is a complex component that can go into limp mode.

During this, it will be stuck in third gear and the ‘PRNDS’ symbol on the dashboard will be flashing. When this happens, there will be a stored code that will help track the problem.

Possible causes

  • If codes mention ‘clutch limits’ or ‘clutch adaptation’, your clutch may be worn. However, before replacing it, you may try resetting the gearbox. This can be done by an Audi diagnostic tool or using the procedure described below.
  • Various sensor failures, such as temperature sensors. Check the suspected sensor and replace it if needed.
  • Mechatronic unit failure. This will usually trigger multiple codes, including sensors and implausible gear ratios. Mechatronic units are not serviceable and can be either replaced or repaired by a specialist.

Troubleshooting Audi Transmission Problems

Audi transmission problems troubleshooting guide

 

Reset Transmission Adaptation

  1. Turn on the ignition, but don’t start the engine
  2. Press the accelerator and keep it pressed for 10 seconds
  3. Turn off the ignition
  4. Release the accelerator
  5. Remove the key from the ignition
  6. Press the accelerator and keep it pressed for 10 seconds
  7. Release the accelerator
  8. Turn on the ignition and start the engine

Check Transmission Fluid Level

One of the most common issues that causes Audi transmission problems such as no shifting, delayt shifts, erratic shifting or shifting at high RPMs is low transmission fluid level. If your Audi automatic transmission has started to act up, check the transmission fluid level as soon as possible.

Check Recalls / TSB

Call the closest Audi dealer and check if there are any recalls or Technical Service Bulletings (TSB) for your vehicle espeically for the transmisison. In order for the dealer to check, you will need to provide your VIN number.  You can also check for recalls by VIN here

Read Transmission Fautl Codes

The next step in the troubleshooting process is to read the fault codes from the Transmission Control Module. These are manufacturer specific codes and can not be read with a genaric OBD-II scanner. For this step you will need an Audi VW Tranmission Scanner

To reach and clear codes from the Audi transmission module is very simple. 

  1. Locate the OBD-II port under the dashboard and connect your scanner. 
  2. Turn on the ignition but do not start the engine. 
  3. Select Audi from the main menu and model. 
  4. Scroll down to Control Units. 
  5. Select Drivetrain then Transmission. 
  6. Select Read Fautl Codes. 
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