A2 TDi scary steering / differential issue....

Hi all,
Had this problem for a year or so now, and strange it is.
Seems to happen on the first drive when the car is cold, particularly on slow left corners.. the front end would seem to slide out and the traction light flashed on a few times, even though the road is dry.
It's not the tyres as I have the same problem with my winter wheels on.
Seems to reduce alot when the cars warmed up after a couple miles which is why I thought perhaps a diff issue??
Tyres are wearing evenly, so wheel alignment ok..
worn balljoints? passed mot recently fine though.

anyone had a similar issue?



A2OC Donor
I had the exact thing happen to me once a few weeks ago although it was a right hand turn (roundabout). I don't seem to recall the road being slippery. But as it happened to you, the front end slid a bit and a warning light flashed briefly (couldn't tell which light it was, either alarm or traction, they're next to each other).

I was about 2 miles into a drive at that time. And for some reason, the remote alarm couldn't unlock the doors when I wanted to start my journey, so I had to use the key to unlock manually. As I was stopping for the said roundabout, I felt a slight bump as if somebody had hit me from behind. A warning light flashed only for a brief moment too brief for me catch which one it was. And after I entered the roundabout, the front end washed out.

It hasn't happened again but looking for answers as well.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

Mark Reilly

Active Member
could be any number of issues from out of alignment subframe affecting camber n castor, worn/leaking shockers , worn radius arm bushes/balljoints , gearbox dif issues , but the shocker would be my first check as culprit on the side that's losing traction / spinning up the wheel, and always replace in pairs

regards mark
Cheers Mark and ca2n, mine does have a 'clonk' at the front occasionally (had droplinks and arb replaced as garage thought that was it!)
Shocks aren't great as still on the originals at 240000 miles! (original clutch too)
I'll give them the bounce test at lunchtime.. would be cheaper than a new gearbox if they're to blame!


Active Member
Also worth doing a diagnostic scan. It could be one of the ABS sensors or even YAW sensor that is faulty. If you do a suitable scan it could help rule out any electrical items over mechanical ones.
I do the same route to work, twists, turns, roundabouts etc. One roundabout, Tadcaster rd, Tescos entrance, mine always skips out. It is a tightening adverse camber. I've decided that whatever set up mine is, it doesn't like that.
Another possible cause is a worn CV Joint, not had this on an A2, but had it on other VAG group cars in the past, inner joint on the TDI is the most likely to cause this issue as it is a3 legged spider joint not a true CV joint (6 ball type)
I'm not sure if this was unique to the TDI inner joints or if the petrols had the same or 6 ball CV joints inner and outer

Thanks Paul, yep inner CV joint could be a cause. Guess I can check by jacking up a front corner on full lock and in gear, see if wheel spins at all indicating a VERY worn joint.
Shocks seem OK after a bit of a bounce.
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A bit of a delay in an update.... still have the problem when cornering with good amount of lock. I jacked up each front corner in turn, held the driveshaft and felt for slack in the outer cv joints, there was about 2cm slack at the tyre diameter, a bit less on the other side.. is this 'normal'? I haven't heard the usual clicking when listening for worn CVs.
The mystery continues...
Just been doing a bit of research on the forum.. could this problem be a steering angle sensor issue? The traction control light flashes on while turning occasionally with the steering going light and the car understeering dramatically..
hmmm... maybe I should get the wheel alignment checked


Dick Chown Award 2016
Your tracking geometry would have to be way out for it to cause those symptoms. But no harm in checking, it is possible.
Steve B
Today I pulled fuse 40 for the ASR/ESP and took it for a test drive despite various warning lights, went around the same corners where I had the issue and all seemed fine! slid a bit but very progressively, no off/on as before so will keep it like this for the time being.


Dick Chown Award 2016
Are you 100% sure that your steering fluid is topped up properly? Cornering throws the fluid away from the pickup tube when it is low.

Sorry if you have already done that.

Steve B


Dick Chown Award 2016
That is a pity, but it was worth checking.

It could be your slip ring, but I would have expected that to have still given the same problem with the ASR/ESP off (although switching them off might therefore result in the feed from the slip ring being disabled too?)

Steve B


Dick Chown Award 2016
Just under the steering wheel. You need to remove the airbag and wheel to get to it.

Sometimes referred to as the steering position sensor.

But worth getting it checked via diagnostics first. If it is disturbed it can need resetting.

Steve B