1997 Audi A4, No Headlights

This 1997 Audi A4 came in with a complaint of no headlights. I looked at the diagrams and it looked pretty simple. First I had to get to the wiring at the back of the headlight combination switch. There are four screws that hold the lower dash cover in place. Two behind the insert strips on either side of the steering column. One at the lower right corner of the panel and one at the lower left end of the panel, behind the fuse cover.

With that out of the way I found a couple of screws that hold the upper steering column cover to the lower. They would be slightly higher up in the picture if I would have gotten them in this picture. The screws shown are for the tilt handle and the lower cover. I removed all of the screws and found that the lower steering wheel cover would still not come off.

To get to the remaining screws the steering wheel had to be removed and therefore the airbag/srs system had to be disabled. The repair manual stated to disconnect and shield the negative battery cable and wait several minutes before working on the system. I usually wait at least fifteen minutes if unsure. Then I proceeded with disconnecting the airbag harness connector. It is the red connector in the picture and can be found on the left side of the steering column.

Next I removed the retaining bolts that held the airbag  to the steering wheel. With the air bag removed I took off the retaining nut, marked the steering wheel position in relation to the shaft. The engineers on this car over designed the steering column cover mounts and under designed the steering wheel to shaft alignment.

Anyways with the steering wheel out of the way I could now remove the three screws that still held the lower column cover in place.

One more engineering marvel.

The lower cover will not come off due to a trim piece that is still connected to the dash.

There are two phillips headed screws, one on either side that have to be removed along with some lower screws not pictured.

Now with the cover finally removed I could access the clamp bolt in the rear of the switch assembly.

Finally the switch is out of the way so I can start testing.

This is where I made a slight error in judgement. I assumed, as virtually all other vehicles in this country will clear an airbag code after the fault is corrected, that this one would too. Wrong,Wrong, Wrong. I reconnected the battery in order to test the headlight circuit. I located the wiring terminals as identified in the following pictures.

Jumped them together with a fused jumper wire and the headlights worked. Successful diagnosis of a faulty headlight switch.

I removed the screws that held the two halves of the switch together and pulled them apart.

Slid the new switch into the existing old switch and joined them together and reassembled the car.

I was happy to finally have this car done but what is this the airbag light will not go off. Checked to make sure all connections were good and consulted my repair information to see how to clear the code. I knew I set a code when I tested the headlight circuit but most other cars self clear airbag codes after the fault is corrected. Repair information stated that a scan tool is required to turn  off the airbag light. Okay, got mine out and found that the system was recognized by the scan tool but it would not communicate with the air bag system. Well to make a long story reasonably short, I did a ton of research and called several friends in the business and finally found one with a scan tool that could clear the codes. If I ever have to do one of these again I will do one of two things. I will make sure my scan tool will communicate with and clear airbag codes or I will test the switch to make sure it does not complete the circuit for the headlights instead of testing the vehicle with the battery hooked up as I normally would.

5 discussions on “1997 Audi A4, No Headlights”

  1. yes they were working before, the original problem was that the low beam headlights weren’t coming on (the issue with the copper contact heating up and melting the plastic housing) i took apart the switch and cleaned it which fixed the headlight problem but now my parking lights/dashboard lights refuse to work

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