In this article, we will explain what the Audi Pre Sense warning light means and go over some of the technology’s common faults. We will also explain some tips on how to fix the Pre-Sense warning light problem for yourself before resorting to a dealership or specialist.
What is Audi-Pre Sense?
Audi’s Pre-Sense is fast becoming one of the brand’s biggest selling points. Keeping you and your passengers safe through packages of radar and collision detection systems. Pre-Sense technology makes Audi vehicles some of the safest on the road, actively intervening to prevent crashes.
Still a relatively new technology, however, Pre-Sense is not perfect. It can trigger unexpectedly and some drivers experience intermittent warning lights related to the system. If you have experienced this you’ll know how alarming it can be.
Pre-sense was first introduced as a feature of Audi vehicles in 2011. This technology suite is designed to react faster than human beings to potential upcoming hazards on the road. Upon detection of a dangerous situation, pre-sense automatically engages safety systems to protect those in and out of the car and avert collisions.
The technology relies on cameras and radar sensors on the front, rear, and sides of the vehicle to detect the predicted trajectory of other road users and even pedestrians. If the onboard computer calculates a high likelihood of a collision, it will engage the safety mechanisms available. This includes the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system to prevent skidding, brake application, and driver alerts.
Most Audi vehicles now come with a pre-sense as a standard, with the following options available:
● Pre-sense standard/basic: shuts windows and pre-tensions driver and passenger seatbelts if potential hazard detected.
● Pre-sense plus: visual and audible warnings of collision as well as priming of brakes.
● Pre-sense city: also activates emergency braking when driving less than 52 mph.
● Pre-sense side: includes radar sensors on the side of the vehicle to detect further potential collisions adjusting the suspension to absorb some of the impact.
● Pre-sense rear: monitors collisions from behind the vehicle, preparing on-board systems for impact.
● Pre-sense 360: detects potential collisions on all four sides of the vehicle. Audi Pre-Sense warning lights and messages
There are two common warning lights for Audi pre-sense to look out for. Though these will differ slightly from model to model, all Audi’s will show the following lights when engaging pre-sense or if there is a problem.
Pre-sense warning light
This warning light warns you that the Audi pre-sense system is unable to work properly. The symbol features a yellow circle broken into segments, intersected with a triangle exclamation point “warning” sign. There is a car symbol in the centre of the circle.
While this yellow warning light means there is something amiss with the pre-sense system, most often the problem is easily rectified and should not require the help of a dealership or garage specialising in Audi vehicles.
As a warning symbol, the car can still be safely driven, but the effectiveness of the pre-sense system will be impaired.
Check paint protection films
If you recently had some bodywork done and now have pre-sense warning lights you may wish to discuss this with the third party involved.
While unconfirmed by Audi itself, some Audi owners have discovered that the application of paint protection films, such as Xpel can have an adverse effect on the pre-sense system.
It is currently not understood if the installation of these protective coatings obstruct or inhibit radar sensor but there are cases of owners finding the pre-sense warning lights occurring after application.
Whether the film itself is interfering with the pre-sense system or if, in the application, components have become misaligned or damaged, there appears to be a correlation that should be considered.
Change your Pre-Sense setting
Some owners have found that simply changing the pre-sense settings is enough to keep the warning lights from appearing, even after returning to the original settings.
Simply go to your console and choose Menu > Car > Driver Assist > Audi Pre Sense, here you will be able to adjust the sensitivity of the pre-sense system from early to medium or late. You can also disable the system entirely, though this will reset back to “on” come the next time the vehicle is started.
It is understood that changing these settings effectively recalibrates the pre-sense system with some owners finding that warning lights cease to appear. While this will not work in every case, it is a simple fix that is worth a try before exhausting more expensive options.
Reset the seat belt tensioner control module
For those who are comfortable diagnosing and resetting error codes themselves using VCDS or Ross-Tech cables, you may want to try the following fix.
One of the safety systems Audi pre-sense employs is the pre-tensioning of seat belts before an expected collision. Sometimes, warning lights appear because the seat belt tensioner becomes uncalibrated and the control module needs to be reset.
If you are experienced using diagnostic hardware and software, you can perform a seat belt tensioner control module reset using these instructions to see if this removes your red or yellow pre-sense warning light. This is not recommended unless you know what you are doing, however, and is preferably something left to a trained professional.
Take the car to a dealership
Pre-sense error messages
In Audi vehicles with built-in displays, your car may also display a warning message when a problem is detected with the pre-sense system. This varies slightly between models and years, depending on the problem detected.
Below is a list of common pre-sense warning messages, with an explanation and recommended fix.
“Audi pre sense: currently limited/restricted. See owner’s manual”
This error usually indicates an issue with the ESC system. It could be that the ESC system has been switched off, or, in the case of more serious issues, is experiencing a failure that needs rectifying.
“Audi pre sense: currently restricted. Restricted sensor vision.”
If you experience this error, your sensors or onboard cameras are being obstructed. You may find clearing your dashboard and cleaning your windscreen and bodywork helps. If you’ve recently replaced your windscreen, the forward-facing pre-sense camera may need recalibrating.
Audi pre sense: currently restricted. Towing mode.”
If your Audi detects you are towing a trailer or caravan it will automatically disable pre-sense interventions such as pre-braking. If this error is showing on your in-car display and you are not towing, you should try the fixes above and then seek the help of an Audi specialist.
“Audi pre sense: emergency braking system off.”
This error shows when the pre-sense system has been disabled using the onboard display. It may also show if the system has yet to fully startup. If after a short while the error still displays and you have ensured pre-sense is not switched off, a full diagnostic may be needed.
Unexpected Audi Pre-Sense Triggering
Pre-sense usually triggers from speeds upwards of 6.2 mph and below 52.8 mph (for most vehicles) under the following conditions:
● Sudden braking
● A forward collision is expected
● Side collision expected
● Rear collision expected
● Pedestrian/cyclist hazard detected
Is it safe to turn off Audi Pre-Sense?
While individual features of pre-sense can be turned off, with settings stored on the ignition key for personalisation, the system as a whole cannot be truly disabled.
Coming as standard, Audi intends for pre-sense to become an integral contributor to road safety and, as such, intends for it to be used across their range of vehicles.
Nevertheless, the systems involved can be safely turned off for individual journeys through the built-in display. The only effect this will have is to remove the pre-sense features from engaging, as is the case with many other cars on the road. It is, therefore, safe to disable the pre-sense feature.
We hope you have found this article on the Audi Pre Sense warning light & system useful. If you have experienced your own issues with the Audi Pre Sense warning light or have suffered different problems from the ones listed above, please let us know in the comments below.