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Marty, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Audi
Satisfied Customers: 53901
Experience:  ASE & Bosch Master Tech. 30 years experience.
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Ignition Switch Replacement for 2001 Audi A6 Avant Quattro

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I have a 2001 Audi A6 Quattro Avant. The issue seems to be the ignition switch which as I understand is a common issue.


Car has 117000 miles, all dash lights are stuck on, cannot turn off with the key. car can be jumped at the starter however only runs for approx 30 seconds, seems the vehicle's deterrent system has the car, key whatever locked out.


Can you help me with what the what process is to replace the ignition switch (not the tumbler)  successfully


Second, I need to understand how to "unlock" the key/car so the car will run upon replacement of the switch (which I have ordered). I am a skilled mechanic from the past though not of the present, I do have tools though I do not have a scanner/code tool etc.


Can you please let me know in detail what I need to do here? I very much appreciate your help! Dr. Richardson

Hi Dr., and welcome. My name isXXXXX can help you with the instructions for replacing the ignition switch but you will need an Audi dealer to perform any key coding for you. Click on the instructions below. It's possible that the car will run with the new switch installed. Usually when you have a key or immobilizer problem the car will start and die immediately. It will not usually run for 30 seconds if it's an immobilizer fault. Please let me know if you need anything else.

Replace Ignition Switch
Remove Combination Switch
Remove Air Bag

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Do I take the key Fobs to them?


If the car won't run without the immobilizer deactivated, what do I do?


Dr. N

Unfortunately they are going to need the car and the keys in order to program anything. You might want to check in your area to see if there are any mobile locksmiths or programmers who can come to the car. Otherwise you will need to tow the car to the dealership. Based on your description this does not sound like an immobilizer problem. I'd get the switch replaced first and see if it will stay running.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, fair enough... should I not disconnect the battery?


Thus far, the lights/ignition have stayed on running the battery dead several times.


With this info, do you still think the new switch will correct the issue in your professional opinion?


Dr. N~

I would definitely disconnect the negative battery cable. Yes I think the switch will solve the issue of the lights staying on. When you get to the ignition switch just unplug it and the lights should turn off. Then you will know that the switch will fix the problem.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please accept my apologies for not positioning my question correctly.


My intent was to best understand how I will know if in your professional opinion, you feel the issue is less with the immobilizer active given teh information I've provided or more with the switch I will replace.


I guess Im looking for in your professional opinion if you think I'll yet be faced with having to deal with the immobilizer or do you feel given the info provided the path forward in replacing the switch will enbable the car to run normally?

Sorry for the confusion. The fact that the car runs for 30 seconds leads me to believe that this is not an immobilizer problem and more of a fault with a power feed from the ignition switch. I assume all of this occurred at the same time.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes Sir, It did


Battery has had to be charged several times as the ignition remains "on" cannot be shut off with the key thereby killing the battery.


Ok, this sounds good. I'll let you know how things turn out, should you have any additional info, I'd appreciate teh continued effort.


Dr. N~

Thank you for the positive rating. I'll be here if you need anything.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok... received the new switch, disassembled, replaced switch... same issue.


I'm able to use a screw driver into the switch itself (removed from key'd housing) and car turns over although, the radio says "SAFE" telling me the car is locked out but...


The issue appears not to be with the switch rather within the key'd housing.


So with the switch in or out, you slide key into lock, turn two notches the stops at the point where you would turn to engage the starter, the key housing/lock doesn't get that far, it stops hard short of the spring action to engage the starter.


so, my question is, is this a safety feature of some sort and if so, how do I disengage, or... is this an issue with the key'd lock itself if so, how do I remove?


Please help, I have the call fully apart and need to resolve before Monday (eeek)



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I should also mention, when I attempt to start the car (2001 Audi A6 Avant Quattro) with just the switch and the screw driver, all lights come on fine, I can engage the starter however the car doesn't start and the radio says SAFE.

Hi Noah, sorry for the wait I was away this morning. What usually happens on the switch is that the plastic breaks and the switch does not turn far enough when you turn the key. In your case it sounds like the steering lock is broken internally and is restricting the key from turning fully to the start position. You should however be able to start the car with the screwdriver. If the car does not start with the screwdriver there are more problems than just the steering lock. The SAFE on the radio just means that the radio needs to be coded because the battery was disconnected. Are you still able to jump the starter and have the car run for 30 seconds?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No SIr, that was information provided me by the previous owner that I cannot count on.


I believe the car is "Locked out" seems to want to start but doesn't.


Trying to reach an Audi Dealer that will talk to me is a chore!


I did remove the ignition housing (Fun) so figured that part out, I have another coming...


Do I need a scan tool to re-enable this car?



You are going to need a factory level scan tool to run fault codes to see if there are any immobilizer codes. If there are no immobilizer codes then it's just a matter of troubleshooting the fuel and ignition systems to see if there is fuel pressure and spark. If you can spray some ether into the air intake while a helper cranks the motor and the car fires on the ether you know that the ignition system is working and that there is a problem with the fuel delivery.

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