- Audi owners who want to send us their faulty electronic module for a repair
- Audi owners who need to troubleshoot malfunctions in their car and need to know what electronics their Audi was fitted with
- Prospective Audi owners looking to make a second hand car purchase
If you’re not sure what VIN means, we have written another article explaining what is a VIN number and why do we care about it. The article discusses the VIN in the context of BMW, but it’s the same thing for Audi too.
If you’re wondering why we call this “VIN decoding”, it’s because this 17-characters code called VIN encodes a lot of information about your car and we are trying to retrieve the information encoded in this number.
The Audi VIN usage at a glance
We recently needed to decode the VIN for one of our customers who had an Audi. The customer was experiencing a lack of sound on the left side of the car and we wanted to know if that’s due to its MMI navigation unit or a faulty sound amplifier.
A quick thing to try is to check whether the car actually has a sound amplifier. The only problem is that it’s time consuming to physically look for that part. That’s why, when we handle BMWs, we always appreciated that we could go online, google BMW VIN check, go to any of the resulting links, input the VIN and get a full list of modules fitted on that particular BMW car from factory.
To our disappointment, VIN check for Audi is a headache. First, most websites charge a fee in order to disclose VIN decoding information. The little information that is given away for free tends to be useless (car model, number of doors etc). We asked an Audi representative if there is a way to get something like a buildsheet, which is the case with BMW and the answer was ‘no’. This is where Audi lags versus BMW, where you can get complete build information on your car. But we didn’t give up.
Audi VIN decoding options
1 One customer from the USA told us that the employees at his local dealership are usually very forthcoming about this and provide print outs of the stock options for a particular VIN number when he requested them.
2 Another option is to purchase this information from Audi through a system called erWin. Go to erwin.audi.com, you’ll be asked to create an account and then you will presented with the payment options. Rates start from one hour with printing rights (screenshots only) for 4 Eur. There’s a feature on there which decodes VIN to see factory options. Also, there are tons of workshop manuals and self study programmes if you need them. Mind that once you get into erWin, you will have to find your way around for getting what you need on your own. It’s best to read or ask the customer support how to find the information you need once you are in the system, if you plan to purchase one hour of erWin time.
3 The third option is to use VAG-COM interface and VCDS software. This is a cable Interface that plugs into the car’s OBD port. You can find them on Banggood, starting from as low as 6 USD. You also need VCDS, the Windows based software that is developed by RossTech – which uses the cable interface to log into car’s ECU diagnostics computer. This is a diagnostic software that will diagnose vehicles with VAG engines, meaning it covers nearly all Audi, Volkswagen Seat and Skoda models. A car owner/mechanic/electronics engineer can use the VCDS system for virtually all the functions that the dealer’s diagnostic tools can perform. You might want to check the local market thought – your local versions for ebay. In Romania for example, we can find the VAG-COM + VCDS package for around 50 Eur on the online marketplace OLX.
4 We also encountered Audi owners who reported using Audi.de > my Audi or the my Audi app to obtain build information on their car. My Audi certainly used to list all the options once you have registered your car into it, but some users reported that this feature might have been taken out or switched to a premium feature starting with 2018.
To use my Audi on a laptop / desktop, go to https://www.audi.de/. First you need to create an account. To that end, click on the links highlighted in the snapshot below.
Next, you have to confirm the new account by following the link emailed to you by Audi. When you log into your new My Audi account online, you will see the option:
You will most likely see this message next:
Click on the Information icon highlighted in the image above and it will show you how to connect your Audi to the my Audi online account.
Warning: You might create an online account, get the myAudi PIN and be instructed by the online platform to perform the Audi connect operation on your car’s MMI, only to find out that your car’s MMI navigation does NOT have the Audi connect option. Why on earth would Audi, having your VIN at hand and knowing exactly what options you have on your car, instruct you to use a MMI option that does not exist on your car is bewildering to us !
5 If you live in the USA and your car was produced for that market, Wikilender came up with a VIN decoder online tool. They call it a “Window Sticker Tool”. You can see in the example window sticker on their website what it looks like and the information it contains.
6 From all the Audi VIN decoding websites that Google finds, we came across one that seems to offer information about equipment the car has from factory. Check out autoDNA. The website states it will provide “vehicle equipment with factory configuration”, as seen in the screenshot below. If you try out this tool, please let us know how it goes in the comments section at the bottom of this article. Our readers will appreciate it !
It turns out that with Audi it’s much faster to physically check what modules your car has rather than trying to find this information through some online service.
Thanks for reading through. We hope this helps you save time. If you know another option for decoding an Audi VIN in order to obtain build information, like modules and options enabled on your Audi, please let us know in the comments section below.