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Car doesn't start but mmi, lights, seat memory etc works fine
2005 Audi A6 Quattro

Car doesn't start but MMI, lights, seat memory etc works fine

(2005 Audi A6 Quattro)
Have a problem starting my Audi A6. I'm putting a key to the ignition but nothing is happening, no engine check, no usual activity. Otherwise, everything works fine, MMI system, lights, seats memory etc. Please any advice?

Update: I've tried different keys, even the plastic one. Got nothing. Have to tow the car to the dealer. Another problem - couldn't release gear shift to a neutral and steering wheel was locked too - had to drag it on flat bed truck with all wheals blocked. Than 6 men from Audi dealer service tried to get it out from the truck. Finally trick the gear shifter to neutral, but car won't roll. Had to use some silicon lubricant and push it to slide from the truck flat bed. Waiting for dealer specialist reply.
Updated: Steering column replacing required. Audi Dealer couldn't find it in states, so order one from Germany. Waiting for replacement.
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19 answers & 53 comments
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on January 13, 2015
I had the same exact problem with my Audi A6 2007 and I am an attorney. The display module comes on and so does the MMI system, the radio works. The car will neither crank nor the steering wheel will move. The gears are immobilized as well. I think there for sure a design defect, and I would like to have some of you respond to me to proceed with going after AUDI
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on January 15, 2015
I own an auto repair shop. I've been in the business over 40 years. I am a 3 times re-certified ASE master tech/shop owner. I have a 2005 A6 in my shop now. The steering wheel is locked and the key is locked in the ignition switch. The start access control module is not working causing these issues. I would suggest not buying poor engineering. To pay for a extended warranty so you can drive a poorly engineered car doesn't make sense to me IMO. Just don't buy and hopefully they'll improve the engineering, if you like other aspects of the vehicle, would seem more logical. The complete steering column will have to be replaced as an assembly to repair my vehicle at a cost of over $2000.00. Audi will not release repair information to independent repair shops so the part has to be replaced and reprogrammed at the dealer. Dealers are only required to carry support their products for 10 years I believe. After 10 years the dealer will not work on your Audi and some of your electronics will not be able to be repaired if they fail. The A6 has 19 control modules that have to communicate with each other over a backbone network called a CAN bus. Newer cars will have more modules because the modules are cheaper to produce than simpler circuits with copper wiring because copper is so expensive. Since certain repair information will not be release you really don't fully own your vehicle. You don't have access to the repair information nor does anyone but the dealer. A catch 22 situation. I feel the industry needs to change. Audi is not the only one but they are one of the worse offenders. Volvo is 100 times worse. Asians and domestics not so much.
on February 07, 2017
What ever happened? I have the same problem today!
on July 11, 2017
if you havent gotten it fixed yet i had the same problem with my car yesterday but i came up with a solution, if ur interested comment back
on December 18, 2017
My '05 A6 / C6 had this last Monday. It's the Start Access Authorization Module [fault code is 00288] in the steering column. Although AUDI says it's a non-serviceable part (entire steering column has to be replaced), you can actually take out the module though it is a bit of a pain because the screws are in with LOCTITE.

First, to get car moving again, get a VAG COM from Ross-Tech.com. I paid $199 plus shipping. This scanner & software will pay for itself over time.
When you hook up the scanner and downloaded/installed the software, you have to wake up the car so it communicates with the scanner.
To do that, turn on your Warning Flashers and your High Beam and put your foot on the brake. Hold it there. Then click on AUTO SCAN and once it's done, clear all DTCS Codes (incl. the 00288 code). I recommend saving a log of the first scan results before clearing.
On completion, the car will wake up, ignition turns on and you can start the car. It may run for a little while but the problem may very well recur.
In my research for an economically feasible solution, I found a service that reconditions these modules. They're also on ebay, search for "J518 Module REPAIR SERVICE" - seller name is speedosolutions and check their feedback.
Get with him on exactly what to do.
In short, you remove the module, send it in with one key and they fix it & return it with lifetime warranty. At the moment they charge around $399 for it. It seems worth it.

I was stranded Monday, ordered the VAG COM from Ross Tech Tuesday, got it Saturday and got the car running again. I haven't done the refurb part yet but I'm thinking I'm headed that way. Currently carrying the scanner and laptop with me so I won't get stuck...

Hope this helps someone out.

And I agree, we should sue AUDI lol. I love my car but this stinks. :-(
on February 14, 2018
This is a year later, but I just started having this problem. What solution did you find?
Appreciate the reply.
on February 14, 2018
I had to have the steering column replaced. I called my dealer and told him that a lot of people had been experiencing the same problem and I thought Audi should help out with this. Between the dealer and Audi I was able to get it replaced for a little under $1000 They had originally quoted me around $2500
on March 19, 2018
How did you get AUDI to help you? I can't get them to assist. They told me it is out of warranty.
on March 19, 2018
They have such thing called "Goodwill". They as a company have a X amount dollars per month they can use to help assist with the payment of a repair. They usually save the good will for the customers that through the serious bitch fits,
on March 19, 2018
That's atleast how I remember. Also, you don't have to replace the thing. Just find the relay under the dash. You will have to remove the driver side under- dash panel to find the control box that has the relay 109 in it. Also note, it's referred to as relay 109 but it's not numbered 109 and I forgot what number is on it. This relay controls the ignition circuit, that tells the other onboard electronics to come on. With a scanner that can read ALL the onboard computers (usually expensive but can be borrowed from a buddy or heck, if your making the money nessacary to own that Audi to begin with, buy a used snap-on scanner and use it for the repair and sell it back on craigslist.) connect to the onboard diagnostics and find the steering control module and erase the codes. All the while holding the relay in a closed circuit. Relay 109. Once you erase the code, everything comes on like Christmas. Also note that the key has to be inserted and turned to the on position.
on March 19, 2018
There should be a class action suit out there by now. Like I said I mentioned to my dealer that there have been a lot of
Audi's with this problem. It might have helped that I had owned four Audi's at the time it went bad. Now between my daughter and I we are on six. I would not have purchased another Audi if they hadn't helped me out.
on June 14, 2018
Hi. Just a question to put out there to see the response. I have the same problem - what would happen if you leave your spare key in the ignition - purely to switch ignition on, start the car and at the end switch off again WITHOUT pulling the key out! Switch MMI screen off and throw a towel over the dashboard (like in old days) 'to protect the dashboard' hiding key in ignition AND then lock car door manually. Alarm light does start flashing. Tried it already but heard that it might drain the battery (after a long time) due to the CAN bus being alive.
on June 26, 2018
If you are still interested in pursuing a class action law suit against Audi let me know
on July 06, 2018
I would be in as well. I am now having the same problem.
on July 07, 2018
Hi there. What did you do? I have the same problem. Please help
on July 09, 2018
I have had the same problem ! Did you find any solution ? My Car radio starts but the ignition does not, steering wheel is locked and my gear is in P and refuses to change. I tried different keys but nothing worked. Please help
on July 31, 2018
2007 A6 having the same issue.

MMI screen lights up, Radio works, no center lights & Not starting.
Audi Dealership gave rough estimate over the phone of over $3,500.

In Oregon there appears to be a right to repair law that tells dealerships to share the reprogramming required to repair, but not sure anyone has pursued this alternative.
on August 17, 2018
Hi how you fixed
on January 15, 2019
I was fortunate enough to work at a VW dealership & my co- worker & I removed the steering column , removed the 3 bolts holding on the module all in about 30 minutes . I called speedosolutions and spoke with the owner ( I think Dan was his name ) we talked for almost half an hour & he was explaining how he removes faulty relays , motor and a couple of other things housed in the module that are the REAL culprits . I sent him the module along with a key ( for testing purposes / NOT reprogramming ) about 10 days later , the module & key were sent back . we re- installed the module to the column , then the column back in the car ( probably LESS than 30 min ) . Moment of truth .....the car started up & were in business . I would defenitly say that the module rebuild route is the way to go as $400 was what i paid for the service . And was fortunate to have a master technician working with me ( He didn't want the $100 I offered him as a goodwill gesture , but I insisted ) . There are shops out there that can remove the columns ......My '06 A6 column is a spitting image of a 13-16 passat column that we at VW work on all day long , so it would be worth it if a shop that works on VW's could work on Audi's too .
on January 15, 2019
Bro, I'm telling you the quickest thing for these is to turn on Relay 109 to power up the canbus. Once you connect the contact and continue providing electricity to the on board computers, you'll be able to gain access through a high end scan tool to erase the code in the steering control module and this will open everything up. Guaranteed! No need in uninstalljng the steeringg column and sending out for a few hundreds of dollars in repairs when its a simple code issue
on January 17, 2019
How do you turn on this relay 109?
on January 17, 2019
Its the relay in the circuit that is responsible for sending current to all other electrical comsumers or computers so they don't have constant power. Sort of like an ignition switch. Its located under the dash deep. In older volkswagen/audi, they used to be labeled 109, Hence "Relay 109". Once you find it, usually found in the manual or online manual specific to your audi. You can either be a mechanic, they have relay switches or if you dont have one. Take the relay out and take the back off. Reinstall it and make contact by pushing in the top where the contact is at. Itll give power to the other components and thus allowing you to gain access with a high level scan tool to clear the code on the steering column control module. Several videos on YouTube explaining this process in different ways.
on January 18, 2019
Ok thanks for the extra detail. I am not a mechanic so presumably I could also remove the relay and just insert a shorting wire between the two contact terminals on the module?
on January 19, 2019
Tbh honest, once you take the housing (cap) off the relay, youll see whete you can pressing in without a short wire. Youll push that piece in to bypass the steering control module. However, you will require a high level scanner to access the module once you turn it on to clear the fault code. If not, it wont be fixed. Most people replace it because if the fault occurs, it doesnt allow the icm to speak with the CAN system to turn on thus automatically turning on relay 109 and awakening the CAN system. Scan tools off that level are usually $1,000 and up unless you have a laptop and dont mind downloading some software to do it as well.
on January 27, 2019
I’m having this problem. How did you fix it?
on April 10, 2019
what was the issue
General Diagnosis
$88 - $111 Learn More
on January 13, 2015
I had the same exact problem with my Audi A6 2007 and I am an attorney. The display module comes on and so does the MMI system, the radio works. The car will neither crank nor the steering wheel will move. The gears are immobilized as well. I think there for sure a design defect, and I would like to have some of you respond to me to proceed with going after AUDI
Sign in to reply
on January 15, 2015
I own an auto repair shop. I've been in the business over 40 years. I am a 3 times re-certified ASE master tech/shop owner. I have a 2005 A6 in my shop now. The steering wheel is locked and the key is locked in the ignition switch. The start access control module is not working causing these issues. I would suggest not buying poor engineering. To pay for a extended warranty so you can drive a poorly engineered car doesn't make sense to me IMO. Just don't buy and hopefully they'll improve the engineering, if you like other aspects of the vehicle, would seem more logical. The complete steering column will have to be replaced as an assembly to repair my vehicle at a cost of over $2000.00. Audi will not release repair information to independent repair shops so the part has to be replaced and reprogrammed at the dealer. Dealers are only required to carry support their products for 10 years I believe. After 10 years the dealer will not work on your Audi and some of your electronics will not be able to be repaired if they fail. The A6 has 19 control modules that have to communicate with each other over a backbone network called a CAN bus. Newer cars will have more modules because the modules are cheaper to produce than simpler circuits with copper wiring because copper is so expensive. Since certain repair information will not be release you really don't fully own your vehicle. You don't have access to the repair information nor does anyone but the dealer. A catch 22 situation. I feel the industry needs to change. Audi is not the only one but they are one of the worse offenders. Volvo is 100 times worse. Asians and domestics not so much.
on February 07, 2017
What ever happened? I have the same problem today!
on July 11, 2017
if you havent gotten it fixed yet i had the same problem with my car yesterday but i came up with a solution, if ur interested comment back
on December 18, 2017
My '05 A6 / C6 had this last Monday. It's the Start Access Authorization Module [fault code is 00288] in the steering column. Although AUDI says it's a non-serviceable part (entire steering column has to be replaced), you can actually take out the module though it is a bit of a pain because the screws are in with LOCTITE.

First, to get car moving again, get a VAG COM from Ross-Tech.com. I paid $199 plus shipping. This scanner & software will pay for itself over time.
When you hook up the scanner and downloaded/installed the software, you have to wake up the car so it communicates with the scanner.
To do that, turn on your Warning Flashers and your High Beam and put your foot on the brake. Hold it there. Then click on AUTO SCAN and once it's done, clear all DTCS Codes (incl. the 00288 code). I recommend saving a log of the first scan results before clearing.
On completion, the car will wake up, ignition turns on and you can start the car. It may run for a little while but the problem may very well recur.
In my research for an economically feasible solution, I found a service that reconditions these modules. They're also on ebay, search for "J518 Module REPAIR SERVICE" - seller name is speedosolutions and check their feedback.
Get with him on exactly what to do.
In short, you remove the module, send it in with one key and they fix it & return it with lifetime warranty. At the moment they charge around $399 for it. It seems worth it.

I was stranded Monday, ordered the VAG COM from Ross Tech Tuesday, got it Saturday and got the car running again. I haven't done the refurb part yet but I'm thinking I'm headed that way. Currently carrying the scanner and laptop with me so I won't get stuck...

Hope this helps someone out.

And I agree, we should sue AUDI lol. I love my car but this stinks. :-(
on February 14, 2018
This is a year later, but I just started having this problem. What solution did you find?
Appreciate the reply.
on February 14, 2018
I had to have the steering column replaced. I called my dealer and told him that a lot of people had been experiencing the same problem and I thought Audi should help out with this. Between the dealer and Audi I was able to get it replaced for a little under $1000 They had originally quoted me around $2500
on March 19, 2018
How did you get AUDI to help you? I can't get them to assist. They told me it is out of warranty.
on March 19, 2018
They have such thing called "Goodwill". They as a company have a X amount dollars per month they can use to help assist with the payment of a repair. They usually save the good will for the customers that through the serious bitch fits,
on March 19, 2018
That's atleast how I remember. Also, you don't have to replace the thing. Just find the relay under the dash. You will have to remove the driver side under- dash panel to find the control box that has the relay 109 in it. Also note, it's referred to as relay 109 but it's not numbered 109 and I forgot what number is on it. This relay controls the ignition circuit, that tells the other onboard electronics to come on. With a scanner that can read ALL the onboard computers (usually expensive but can be borrowed from a buddy or heck, if your making the money nessacary to own that Audi to begin with, buy a used snap-on scanner and use it for the repair and sell it back on craigslist.) connect to the onboard diagnostics and find the steering control module and erase the codes. All the while holding the relay in a closed circuit. Relay 109. Once you erase the code, everything comes on like Christmas. Also note that the key has to be inserted and turned to the on position.
on March 19, 2018
There should be a class action suit out there by now. Like I said I mentioned to my dealer that there have been a lot of
Audi's with this problem. It might have helped that I had owned four Audi's at the time it went bad. Now between my daughter and I we are on six. I would not have purchased another Audi if they hadn't helped me out.
on June 14, 2018
Hi. Just a question to put out there to see the response. I have the same problem - what would happen if you leave your spare key in the ignition - purely to switch ignition on, start the car and at the end switch off again WITHOUT pulling the key out! Switch MMI screen off and throw a towel over the dashboard (like in old days) 'to protect the dashboard' hiding key in ignition AND then lock car door manually. Alarm light does start flashing. Tried it already but heard that it might drain the battery (after a long time) due to the CAN bus being alive.
on June 26, 2018
If you are still interested in pursuing a class action law suit against Audi let me know
on July 06, 2018
I would be in as well. I am now having the same problem.
on July 07, 2018
Hi there. What did you do? I have the same problem. Please help
on July 09, 2018
I have had the same problem ! Did you find any solution ? My Car radio starts but the ignition does not, steering wheel is locked and my gear is in P and refuses to change. I tried different keys but nothing worked. Please help
on July 31, 2018
2007 A6 having the same issue.

MMI screen lights up, Radio works, no center lights & Not starting.
Audi Dealership gave rough estimate over the phone of over $3,500.

In Oregon there appears to be a right to repair law that tells dealerships to share the reprogramming required to repair, but not sure anyone has pursued this alternative.
on August 17, 2018
Hi how you fixed
on January 15, 2019
I was fortunate enough to work at a VW dealership & my co- worker & I removed the steering column , removed the 3 bolts holding on the module all in about 30 minutes . I called speedosolutions and spoke with the owner ( I think Dan was his name ) we talked for almost half an hour & he was explaining how he removes faulty relays , motor and a couple of other things housed in the module that are the REAL culprits . I sent him the module along with a key ( for testing purposes / NOT reprogramming ) about 10 days later , the module & key were sent back . we re- installed the module to the column , then the column back in the car ( probably LESS than 30 min ) . Moment of truth .....the car started up & were in business . I would defenitly say that the module rebuild route is the way to go as $400 was what i paid for the service . And was fortunate to have a master technician working with me ( He didn't want the $100 I offered him as a goodwill gesture , but I insisted ) . There are shops out there that can remove the columns ......My '06 A6 column is a spitting image of a 13-16 passat column that we at VW work on all day long , so it would be worth it if a shop that works on VW's could work on Audi's too .
on January 15, 2019
Bro, I'm telling you the quickest thing for these is to turn on Relay 109 to power up the canbus. Once you connect the contact and continue providing electricity to the on board computers, you'll be able to gain access through a high end scan tool to erase the code in the steering control module and this will open everything up. Guaranteed! No need in uninstalljng the steeringg column and sending out for a few hundreds of dollars in repairs when its a simple code issue
on January 17, 2019
How do you turn on this relay 109?
on January 17, 2019
Its the relay in the circuit that is responsible for sending current to all other electrical comsumers or computers so they don't have constant power. Sort of like an ignition switch. Its located under the dash deep. In older volkswagen/audi, they used to be labeled 109, Hence "Relay 109". Once you find it, usually found in the manual or online manual specific to your audi. You can either be a mechanic, they have relay switches or if you dont have one. Take the relay out and take the back off. Reinstall it and make contact by pushing in the top where the contact is at. Itll give power to the other components and thus allowing you to gain access with a high level scan tool to clear the code on the steering column control module. Several videos on YouTube explaining this process in different ways.
on January 18, 2019
Ok thanks for the extra detail. I am not a mechanic so presumably I could also remove the relay and just insert a shorting wire between the two contact terminals on the module?
on January 19, 2019
Tbh honest, once you take the housing (cap) off the relay, youll see whete you can pressing in without a short wire. Youll push that piece in to bypass the steering control module. However, you will require a high level scanner to access the module once you turn it on to clear the fault code. If not, it wont be fixed. Most people replace it because if the fault occurs, it doesnt allow the icm to speak with the CAN system to turn on thus automatically turning on relay 109 and awakening the CAN system. Scan tools off that level are usually $1,000 and up unless you have a laptop and dont mind downloading some software to do it as well.
on January 27, 2019
I’m having this problem. How did you fix it?
on April 10, 2019
what was the issue
on October 31, 2009
does the steering wheel lock and/or release? a fault in the colum lock prevents key on power from flowing. you may need a steering column. please check your owners book for the emergency shifter release in the ashtray area.
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on November 22, 2009
told ya...boy i'm good
Hi Yuriy, I had EXACTLY the same problem with my 2005 Audi A6. Dealer told me that the onboard computer cannot identify the smartkey anymore. Needs a new transponder but in order to replace the transponder, the entire steering column needs to be replaced! Costs: $2,000. Wanted to ask you if you had any problems before that may have caused this. Audi lost a class action suit with regards to a rooftop leak. I had this problem and water entered the interior, even though the rooftop was closed. Since then, the MMI failed first, now the transponder fails. Want to check whether this could be related to the rooftop leak and whether I can claim it under the class action suit?

ps. One thing I learned is that this will be my last Audi.
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Hi. Didn't have any problems before. But, I'm the second owner - bought it 2 years ago, 30k miles. Steering column has been replaced (covered with my Extended Warranty) - did cost me a time only. After that have a trunk leak - sealing replacement - free also.
About roof leak - I received notice - owner manual adjustment - moonroof drains should be cleared every 40k miles now.
P.S. - Don't give up on Audi - One thins I learned - get an Extended Warranty and enjoy this car. It needs constant maintenance.
I just experienced the same problem (2005 A6) and had to have the entire steering column replaced ($2,000.00). I asked why the entire column had to be replaced since the problem was only with the electronic module. The dealer told me that the module was part of the column and couldn't be seperated. The column was $1,200.00 of the cost, so I asked for and was given the old column by the dealer.
I came home, and within 5 minutes, I had removed the module from the old column (2 screws and 1 rivet).
Why did Audi charge me for an entire new column and $700 labor to remove and replace it?
I feel that Audi turned what essentially was a switch replacement into a major repair.
Is there some legal recourse?
Ken
Everything said above is spot on. I just had the same experience with my used 2005 A6. Only had it a week when one day I went to start it and no go. MMI would light up, but nothing on the dashboard and car didn't even try to crank over. Towed it to Audi dealer, they said it was the transponder in the steering column that recognizes the key, and yes, the whole steering column had to be replaced, cost me $1800.
on January 14, 2017
Hi Yurity, I'd like to forward new information I have found on to you and all those having this issue with their Audi. What has happened is your steering column security module's programming has become corrupted. The security module can be reprogrammed without replacing the steering column. A diagnostic service I use here in Houston can reprogram the steering column security module. I'm sure there are others throughout the U.S. who can do this service as well. Your Audi can do this at any time if the battery is replaced or goes dead so Audi's are not to be trusted, for example, on a long trip out of town. You are only safe driving your cars in a major city where you have access to individuals or shops have the strong diagnostic skills and equipment necessary to resolve these issues. Get to be friends with a towing service and keep their number handy if you love your Audi. I urge all owners of these cars not to buy into this type of technology again. If you keep buying into it car manufacturer's will keep making this trash. Unfortunately how are you to know before you buy? I for one have not found a good answer to that question except to check with an experienced independent auto tech before you buy maybe.

I'd also like to comment about autonomous driving cars. As you can see with this Audi issue, computers are far from being perfect and programmers are writing junk programs these days. When car manufacturers start to develop hands free autonomous steering it will be a blood bath. Many will die due to computer programming glitches and also poor overly complicated programming and mechanical systems. I'm an older guy. Thank God I will not be around if Autonomous driving ever is implemented. Tesla electric cars already have hands free steering technology. Several people have died already because Tesla engineer's are arrogant enough to say "our computers and programming are perfect". No other computer has ever been perfect but Tesla says theirs are and you are betting your life on it if you have one. All computers get corrupted from time to time and have to be turned off and rebooted. As long as microprocessors are used computers will always have issues.
on February 02, 2017
Hi, how can u help me am in South Africa and Audi said i must replace the whole column, Please Help!!!!
on May 03, 2018
I'm experiencing the same issues with the module , I'm a tech here at Clear Lake VW & even our VW scan tools won't clear the faults , only after we used a Snap-On scan tool did we clear the faults & the car started . I got my manager to talk to our sister Audi shop to see what type of employee pricing / help I could get from them , hopefully will find out something today . A question for Dteesben ......what was the name of the shop that can reprogram the security module ? trying to see what other viable options are out there . BTW I have an '06 A6 wagon ( purchased in 2016 ) that just turned 75K miles & still wanna keep it considering everyone else at the shop is saying " get rid of the car " . other than this issue , car runs like a charm I keep up the maintainence . plus it seems better than my previous Audi A6 Allroad which those pesky airbags were it's achilles heel .
on March 17, 2014
I have the same problem. Audi Dealership just called and told me it would be $2200.00 to install new steering wheel module on my 2007 A6 Quatro.
I'd like to know if any action is being taken for a class action suit
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on October 09, 2014
I just picked up my 2007 a6 Quattro. Same thing, the price was 1600 for the column and 890 for labor plus taxes on top of these.
on December 29, 2014
I have the same problem with my 2007 A6 Quattro. IL Dealer quoted $3500+ to fix (2800P/720L). In addition to replacing steering column, dealer has also quoted control unit for onboard power supply (J519), stating that new access/start authorization module (J518) and control module for onboard power supply have to be compatible. Have combed countless threads regarding this problem and haven't seen this additional control unit mentioned anywhere. Information from multiple threads indicates that average cost to fix access start authorization module problem (steering column replacement) is approximately $2000 P&L. The price quoted to me for the steering column (part only) was more than $2000. Thanks to threads like these, I have enough information to be armed for battle/negotiation, but I have few options outside of the dealer. Getting equipment for the initial tow was a 4 hour process (2 miles to dealer) and cost $240. To go elsewhere means I would have to pay for two additional tows - one to another service center, and then back to the dealer to get the keys recoded after the work is completed, which would also be an additional charge (unless, of course, I want to tow it to another Audi dealer). Not happy, but wanted to share in the event info will be helpful to the next victim...

Follow Up: Didn't need control unit for onboard power supply after all (ahem...), and was able to negotiate an additional $1000 off price. Cost to replace steering column with access/start control module was $2000, or $1500 less than originally quoted.
on January 24, 2015
This steering column replacement that Audi "stealers" seems to require in order to fix this is mostly not needed and is a huge money over-charge (ie they will replace and charge alot rather than try to fix). All that you need to do is reset the codes using a real VAG cable and software from Ross-Tech (cable cost about 300 bucks). For my A6 the reason the steering got locked in the first place was a weak battery, and a new one completely eliminated the issue. The other problem is how to connect the VAG to the car while the car is immobilized. To see how to do that click the youtube link (or search under Audi VW control modules wake up with out ignition)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNkNYqTrL3U
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on January 24, 2015
This just happened to my A6 yesterday, had 2 tow trucks come out and neither would winch it up on the tow truck. Sitting in my driveway now. I checked all the fuses, put a new battery in and still nothing. The 2nd tow truck driver told me that it must be the module that is bad and needs to be reprogrammed.

So, do I get this straight in reading your post here that if I were to purchase the VAG cable and software I can fix the problem myself?
on January 25, 2015
Before you go investing in the VAG cable and software, read the comments under the video. Edge Motors, who posted the procedure, later commented that, in many cases, the fix was only temporary (a month or so), and the steering coumnn need to be replaced anyway, but that they did have a couple of instances where the car continued to run for two years. I gave the video information to my dealership, who told me that the car in the video (A4) had a different ignition system, and that this procedure didn't work on my A6 (who knows if they tried it or not). Doesn't matter, because it really wasn't worth the trouble knowing that the fix might only last for a month. As for the tow, you need an old fashioned tow truck with a wheel lift and dolly. Not as easy to find as you'd think.
on January 26, 2015
Miffed1, why not try to fix first? No need to buy VAG cable, many indy VW/Audi mechanics have it and will be able to try this fix on your Audi, some will charge for it, but nothing like the 2 grand "your dealership" wants in order to replace the whole steering column. Also the VAG software is a free download, just the cable cost). For me, I do have the VAG cable and software loaded on my laptop since I can get many other uses for my audi (such is diagnostics testing and codes - over $100 at the dealership). My car got immobilized home, so being able to start the car with the VAG saved the tow ($120 cost around around here since the wheels were locked).
This YouTube video was posted over a year and half ago, and I was lucky enough to find it and try this fix over 6 months ago (thanks Edgemotors). It started the car right away and my A6 has been fine ever since. The VAG software also found several codes for the battery so I replaced it.
Beats the dealer option and the cost, but hey some guys still just want to go to the dealership...
on January 26, 2015
I wasn't suggesting not to try the fix. I was responding to the statement "So, do I get this straight in reading your post here that if I were to purchase the VAG cable and software I can fix the problem myself?" to let the poster know, before spending $300 or more on the cable and software, that it wasn't necessarily going to solve the problem, and if it did get the car started, said 'fix' might be temporary. This is not my opinion, it's subsequent information in the YouTube comments provided by the person from Edge Motors who posted the video. Your earlier statement that the dealer's steering column replacement solution is mostly not needed and can be circumvented by this video procedure is misleading. There's no reason not to try this 'fix', but if the immobilization is not found to be caused by some other problem, like the battery (i.e. is truly a faulty access/start authorization module), the person using the 'fix' should know that their (possibly) revived car may not continue to start for very long, and the steering column with new access/start authorization module will eventually need to be replaced. You were very fortunate that your problem happened to be the battery.
on January 26, 2015
Miffed1, you obviously do not get it (or else you just work for a dealer and would like to continue and "rape" us audi owners). You sound uptight that this fix worked for me...
For the rest who have/had this problem and tried what the youtube video suggests, please post results.
on January 27, 2015
Miffed1 truely sounded like he was trying to help you. If he was from the dealer he would have told you only a qualified Audi tech should make any repairs on your car and would not even have suggested that you work on it at all. My question is how would you guys ever trust your cars again knowing this type of technology is on your cars.
on October 20, 2009
Hi,
You will need to have the diagnostic codes read out, this may be a part of the immobilizer system and reading out the codes will help to answer that question.
Do you have any other keys for the car and have you tried them?
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on October 03, 2015
Hello to all

My name is Georgi Motev and I've been worked for the official dealer for VW, AUDI in Bulgaria, Sofia occupying the diagnostic position. All about the rape that this giant concern applies to it's clients is true. I have replaced some steering columns in my practice and yes the electronic control module of the steering column is indivisible part of it, according to parts catalogue. But in fact this control module is mounted with two bolts screwed from above of the steering column, and one screw bolt which holds the locking mechanism of the steering wheel. It is just like someone from the previous posts said. The sheared bolts located from the bottom (2pcs. big ones) are making the control module capsuled, but they can be still loosened with the proper instruments. These two bolts don't need removal for separating the control module off the steering column. The last sheared bolt located from the bottom should be loosened, again with proper tools, without brutal force. For removing of that module the steering column should be unmounted. It is mounted on four bolts located from the bottom. The shaft from steering column to the steering rack doesn't need removal. The whole steering column should be pulled out from the joint which enables regulation of the steering wheel back and forth. This work is good to be done from a well skilled mechanic. The options for You is to buy a second hand module which will need some adaptations with specific diagnostic equipment which is not legal or repairing of the original one. I'm repairing these modules but for Your bad fortune I'm on the other side of the world. I suggest You to search for a workshop with experience in electronic control modules repairing and knowing about this specific problem. The variant with erasing the fault from Access and Start Authorization system works to the next time the problem occurs, but is a perfect solution to get where You want to go without hitching, sliding, dragging and other pointless actions. There are some Bluetooth based, not expensive diagnostic devices, which can work with phone app's and are just connected to the OBD 2 connector of the car without any wires . If You can not get access to the above mentioned control module, which in VCDS diagnostic is with address 05 from the common screen just switch on the high beam flasher, hazart warning lamps or brake pedal for a moment, in order to wake the CAN BUS systems in the vehicle. You can recognize the CAN BUS is waked by the lit in the hazart warning switch which goes off after a predetermined period of time.
Hope I was helpful.
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on October 11, 2015
How do you repair the module? Do you have to replace any parts? I have the module out. I also have another used module.
Please reply.
on September 19, 2012
I have exact same issue today with my 2005 A6, 2100 dollar estimate, no way to replace the part that failed this is incredible. Must have the entire steering column replaced. As another responder said, last Audi ever. Had same issuers with trying to get it on flat bed. The tow guy and I agreed not to try to pull it with electric parking brake on, transmission in park and front wheels turned with steering wheel locked on top of that the tow hardware could not be screwed in as the threads were entirely corroded even though the protective cap still in place. How can they design a car that cannot be moved when its broke!! Had another tow company send an old school tow truck that lifted the back end, and attached dolly to front end.
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on January 23, 2013
My 2007 A6 is currently in the shop for the exact same problem. $2200... Seems like a common problem with the C5 A6's. Anybody up for a little class action?
on January 26, 2013
Has anybody initiated a class action suit for this problem ? Anyone knows how to do that ?
on February 23, 2013
My 2005 A6 bit the dust on Thursday of this week. Same problem, but DFW dealership tells me the cost to replace the steering column will be $3,450. $2,000 sounds like a deal at this point.
on February 23, 2013
I would contact Audi of America directly and tell them this is a common problem with these cars, so it is a design issue and not a normal wear and tear issue. They may be able to give you a break.
on March 14, 2013
I am having the same problem with my 2005 A6. Towed the car to an auto shop and the entire steering column has to be replaced for $2600 estimate. The guy at the shop told me that the steering column problem is so common that Audi dealerships has the parts on their shelves. Anyone filed a class action against Audi yet? I am ready to sign one!!!
on January 15, 2015
these cars is nothing but troubles,hard to fix,parts,hard to find, hard to find a mechanic,always to end up at the dealers,and they are a very expensive.car if has the flu good luck.change a battery cost me 410dlls, to change a fan 2 days,I changed the radiator fan in my old maxxima by myself.(Im not a mechanic.
on October 08, 2011
I had the exact same thing happenned to me on my 2005 Audi A6 recently. It was a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) with an extended warranty that expired 3 weeks before I had this problem. The dealer had to replace the steering column and charged me $1,700 to do it. The steering column itself was $1,250 and the rest was labor and taxes. On top of this, add the towing charges. No small change. There is no way around this one, believe me, I tried. I have the repair manual for the 2005 A6 and in the manual, Audi spells it out very clearly that the steering column has no serviceable parts. I got the old part from the dealer, and the screws for the steering lock module are the one-way type (you can't unscrewed them, at least not without using a brute force approach). The one other solution is to try to get a steering column from a junk yard, but I wasn't sure if this was going to be more pain than gain. I don't have the software to re-program the keys.
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on October 21, 2015
Have the same problem as the rest of you, my '05 A6 is in the shop now. Told it will cost $2755.30 plus tow. Cannot believe the entire steering column must be replaced. This is my second and LAST Audi. Class action should happen, recall at the very least.
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on January 10, 2015
I'm reading through all these replies to your problem and I am wondering to myself why people put up with this type of engineering. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. Audi and other Europeon cars are electronic/computer overcomplicated nightmares. Why would you ever consider buying another car like this once you know how they are made? Consumers have the power to choose what they buy. They need to educate themselves and not let car manufactures get away with this kind of engineering. If you quit buying it the manufacturers will respond and make a change. Do your homework before you buy and let others know.
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on January 13, 2015
Just got told.from my mechanic that i have the same problem with my 05 A6 with 131K miles. Few days ago car showed the same symptoms as what you are all saying. Electronic issues are known to plague Audi ..but yet we buy them for the other benefits.. my repair cost is $1900 .. it sucks but still beats having a monthly car payment on a new vehicle.. the extended warranty is worth it on most cases, just make sure you buy the best plan so it covers more and definitely negotiate on prices for the warranty.. last year i had the abs control module (the one located below the arm rest, all the way below there) and i also had water come in from the moon roof that caused some water marks on the moonroof slider.
on March 31, 2015
Wow...I'm guessing that is what happened to my 06 A4. All lights and radio turns on. Except the lights in the middle. My steering wheel is locked up.The key will not turn the car on I can't even move it. I called the dealership and they acted like that was weird, now I'm going to have to get it towed there, which is 45 min away. It was working just fine.ugh!!!!
of Avenue Automotive on February 25, 2015
We just received a 2006 Audi A6 with the same problem. We were able to find error codes in the Access/Authorization module. Clearing the codes in the module allows the car to start again. You will need a repair center with the right equipment to get directly in to this module, as it is not a typical "check engine" type of code. We aren't sure how long clearing the code lasts, or what caused the code to trip in the first place...but assumed to be the module mentioned here is going bad. We will test the vehicle over the next couple of days to see if code resets and access is denied again.
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on February 25, 2015
You are correct I checked power and ground and to ignition start authorization switch and to access module but I could not communicate or see codes to them with my Snap-On Solus scanner. I could see many of the other modules however so I know the can bus wasn't shorted. Can you tell me what type of scanner you were able to do this with? Thanks for the information. If people know the brand of the equipment you used they could ask the shop specifically and know they would be getting good service. Good to know. My customer got impatient and took his vehicle to the dealer who charged $3300 for the repairs which involved replacing the steering column with module. My shop has since purchased a Autel Mayisys. I've heard many good reviews about it.
of Avenue Automotive on February 26, 2015
We have several, but the one that allowed us to do this job was our Maxysis Pro. I can't speak for Autel's other scanners, but the Pro version we have enabled us to get where we needed to get. All in all the tool is extremely useful. There are times of course that we have to use some of our other scan tools, but all in all, this one is our go to tool first.
on February 26, 2015
Many Thanks. Have a great day. I just wanted to update this reply. Since my shop has had a chance to learn the many features of the Autel Maxsys Pro I have found it is an incredible piece of diagnostic equipment, however, in the case of the Audi that I had in my shop even though the start access module and the push button ignition switch had power and good grounds I could not communicate with these modules. This would indicate the modules were inoperative and had failed. My customers starter went out and he tried to jump the car himself. I'm thinking he may have caused a power surge that caused the failure of these parts. The A6 I had in my shop could not have the codes read or cleared since I couldn't communicate with the modules. Therefore we are back to this ridiculously complicated Audi manufactured security system. Any little spark or surge of power may take it out. I personally resent this type of engineering and having this knowledge I would never ever consider buying an Audi. There is hope for you Audi owners and everyone else for that matter! The state of Massachusetts has passed "right to repair legislation" that forces manufacturers to release all repair information to consumers and independent shops and manufacturers have to make diagnostic equipment available at a fair price to others besides the dealers. Hopefully all the other states will adapt this legislation. Its a good thing for all of us. I encourage anyone reading this to Google "Massachusetts right to repair" for more information.
on January 14, 2017
Hello, I have an audi 2013 A4 that won't start, no lights on, MMI Works, but won't turn on, No way to get car out of park to tow. Prior to problem car was at a panel shop for some cosmetics repairs and the battery needed to be often take out. Now the car won't start and prior to this the car starts, the car hasn't being driven for a month while at the panel beater shops but all along it starts even at the panel shop till recently , often says Ignition Lock defective. I was told the car could have loose it memory. How possible is that and how i get it to get back to his senses.
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on May 27, 2015
HI CLEAR THE DATA CODES IF THE CAR NO START AFTER THAT JUST REPLACE THE ACC M 90 % STEERING CODE
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on August 17, 2015
When you say replace the Acc M 90% what do you mean? Replace the steering column? Please explain. Thanks
on December 08, 2015
@Motev. please i have few question to ask you concerning the critical issues surrounding Audi steering column.
1.have you tried separating this module from the steering column?
2. Do you know if this module can be repair?
3. what do you think that goes bad in this module?
also, i have heard some people proposing cutting off a feed back wire that goes to the module, as it is the culprit that fries the module, what is your take on that?
thanks
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on May 23, 2017
Sorry it took someone a longtime to answer the question. I'm a certified Mercedes Benz tech that so happened to be working on the same car with same problem. Mercedes have failures suchs a this with the start-authorization control mondule warranting the replacement of the entire steering column and they have the same issues. I found by making manual contact (can also be done with a relay switch tool) with the casing off on the Power Supply Relay (terminal 15) -J329 located underneath the dash panel in the the top left corner look up at it in socket number 1. While the key was in the ignition in the on position, connect a suitable diagnostic scanner capable of reading all of the control module systems. In my case, I used my Snap-On Solus Edge while under Audi in European spec. While holding the relay intact with key in navigate your way into the Start-Authorization Control Module, copy and save the codes that are on control module for future diagnositic readings and then erase the codes off of the control module. And "Viola"

For references, this was the diagram I used to see where that relay was location on this car since there is no information elsewhere that could find. Hopefully this could be a cure all for all of these by jumping a damn relay, awakening the ignition circuit thus activating the computers the clear codes to get these things work!
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The ECU is failed
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on May 04, 2018
Rick at Diagnostic's on Wheels in Houston Texas has the equipment and can reprogram your module now, however, you have to be an automotive repair shop for him to even talk to you. If you are asking who can program your security module because you are attempting to repair this problem yourself in an attempt to save some bucks I would say you cannot afford the maintenance on your Audi and you should get rid of it and buy an Asian or Domestic car. If it is running like a top now this would be the best time to unload it. That situation will not last long. This sounds cold but its true.
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on July 11, 2017
I have a solution for this problem it will cost you a bit of money if you don't have a obd2 scanner but other than that its free, comment if ur interested you need to clear the code (00288) that will let the car start, then when you remove the key turn it off then wait 1 sec to pull it out (do not use start stop button) then when you want to start the car again, put the key in let it sit with only the mmi on for a few sec, then turn the ignition on (dashboard lights up) wait another few sec then turn the engine on. this fixed the problem on my 2006 audi a6, it will never be good as new but certainly better than spending $2500-3000 to have the dealership replace the entire steering column.
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