Common problems with VW T6 transporters

VW Transporters are renowned for their reliability and build quality however everything has a weakness of some sort! Here I will highlight the common problems with VW T6 Transporters as well as the things to look out for if purchasing.

Volkswagen Transporter problems
Inside a VW T6

Which model VW T6 Transporter?

It is worth pointing out that there have been a wide range of different Transporter models over the years, both in terms of engine capacity as well as variation (such as LWB, SWB, Caravelle, Shuttle, Highline, Sportline, Trendline and so on!)

If you are looking to buy a Transporter or just want to brush up on your Transporter knowledge, make sure that you familiarise your self with the guide below on the key differences.

Buying a VW T6 second hand

The VW T6 has vastly reduced in price over the last couple of years. You can now snap them up for as low as 10k-12k on eBay (great eBay examples here) and they are ripe for conversion due to the high residual value that they offer.

Whilst the Transporter of all models are renowned for their high quality and high mileage ability the basics still apply when buying.

  1. Make sure that it has full service history, most will be on long life service plans which makes it even more important that no services have been missed. Running Transporters on old oil does the engines no favours.
  2. Check that any recalls have been carried out (here)
  3. Look out for poor starting/running and the renowned engine light issue that affects T6’s of any age and mileage as they could have an EGR problem
  4. Check MOT history for other signs of wear and tear
  5. If you are buying a VW T6 that is less than 4 years old then it is worth reading my guide on the transferrable warranty that can be found here.

VW T6 Common problems

The VW T6 as we know it now has only been around since 2016 so in terms of life longevity it is still early days for the model as a whole. A lot of the T6 shares the same components as the tried and tested T5.

However, there are plenty of T6’s that are hitting high 200,000+ miles which is giving us plenty of data to go on in terms of the mechanicals.

VW T6 service intervals

The VW T6 has relatively long service intervals.

With new technology in engine advancements as well as significant advances in long life oil quality that is now readily available, you have a choice of service intervals depending on the type of use and style of driving.

The VW T6 service interval comes with the option of:

  • Fixed time service (Based on fixed distance or time since last service) 12,000 miles or 12 months which ever comes first.
  • Flexible Service Regime (Intended for frequent users doing at least 25 miles per day) this is also referred to as the Long life service plan18000 miles or 24 month.

Despite the introduction of the Flexible Service Regime, the majority of VW enthusiasts still stick to the Fixed term service (every 12,000 miles) and this would be my personal recommendation if you are in any doubt which to go for.

You can view the full guide on VW T6 service intervals and which schedule you should follow based on your driving style/van use below:

VW T6 workshop manual

If you are a new owner then it is worth picking up a cheap workshop manual (usually about £10 on eBay) for the vehicle as the standard info provided by VW isn’t especially detailed for home maintenance.

VW T6 Recalls

  1. The VW T6 has had a recall for a relatively minor side airbag malfunction.
  2. A safety recall has been issued for T6’s produced between July 19 and Feb 20 due to reported issues with the drivers door bowden cable malfunctioning in cold temperatures.
  3. A recall was issued for only a small number of T6’s due to three fuel hoses requiring replacement as they were not manufactured to required specification.

In the Uk, if you have the vehicle registration number of the Transporter T6, it is possible to search the .Gov database to check to see if all recalls have been carried out. If you follow the link below you can find out more details on this.

Volkswagen Transporter problems

Below are the common problems affecting the VW T6 however you can also find details on all Volkswagen Transporter problems affecting the VW T5 and VW T4 models on the links below.

Go to VW T4 problems

Go to VW T5 problems

VW T6 Engine issues

There have been some reports of engine failure in the 2.0 TDi 180 and 205 Bi-Turbo range. There have been no recalls regarding this issue as it has been fairly rare. The most common cause of engine failure reported was due to a malfunctioning EGR valve allowing coolant to escape into the engine cylinders.

These repairs have usually been covered under warranty however, as the vehicles are starting to get older there are more T6’s that are falling outside of warranty. It may get harder to argue for the repair costs to be covered.

VW T6 Engine management light

In some unfortunate cases, EGR issues have led to complete engine failures however others have reported more minor (but irritating) malfunctions.

Engine management light

The yellow engine management light comes on and most frequently with a fault code of P0401 – an insufficient exhaust gas re circulation flow in the system.

The solution to this is usually an EGR flush/clean as they can have build up of carbon, especially if the vehicle has been used on lots of short journeys.

VW T6 remap problems

We have received a few emails over recent months asking about VW T6 remap problems. As a rule of thumb remapping a VW T6 is fairly common (and generally safe) however there are a few things to bear in mind.

It is advisable to have a VW Transporter remap completed by a specialist that focuses primarily on remapping VW Transporters such as Pendle Performance (as opposed to a general garage or helpful person with Laptop).

Before having a remap you should always have a diagnostic ran on general wear and tear items. If the diagnostic stage is skipped (especially on higher mile examples) you will likely find problems will crop up soon after a remap where already worn out components fail much sooner.

A small increase in some of the mapping figures can destroy key components if the mapping is wrong. If things like the fuelling, timing, or boost are applied incorrectly it will have a direct impact on the longevity of engine components. Power needs to be sympathetically matched to the design parameters of the associated drivetrain parts which is something a specialist will get right.

VW T6 EGR problems

To repair EGR issues on the T6 VW have been doing EGR flushes under warranty, if it is outside of the warranty however it will be a chargeable repair.

If you want to have a go at sorting the problem yourself then one of the best EGR specific cleaners available in the UK is manufactured by Wynns and breaks down carbon build up really well. (click here to view).

If the fault keeps reappearing or the vehicle is approaching higher miles it could be worth replacing the EGR Cooler (View price of part on eBay).

The part is expensive however it is a pretty quick job to change it on the T6 102’s (1 to 2 hours at most) if you have a Bi Turbo model however it is quite a bit trickier.

Volkswagen Transporter problems are fortunately fairly rare across models however the EGR valve is something that affects both the VW T6 and also the earlier VW T5.

VW T6 Leaking windows

The VW T6 with factory fitted side windows (Kombi’s etc) have had frequent reports of leaks when it rains.

The cause has been identified as a bad design of the window drains which result in water seeping in around the window seals (where it is bonded to the body) and running down the inside of the panel.

For those with kitchen units/camper conversions particularly it can cause extra damage.

VW have been carrying out repairs under warranty to rectify the problem however if you are outside of warranty then it is likely you will be paying for the repair.

If you are buying a used VW T6 it is worth checking with the owner to see if this repair has been carried out and if not check around the windows and panel beneath for signs of water ingress.

VW Transporter T6 reliability

Considering the VW T6 has now been around for 4 + years and there have only been the few common problems reported above, I think it is fair to say that the latest Transporter by VW is living up to it’s reputation as been one of the most reliable vans on the market.

If you are buying second hand then check the few recalls above have been done, check around the rear side windows (if applicable) for leaks and probably most significantly check for any history regards the EGR.

Checking for historic EGR issues will be the most challenging check and you will be more reliant on the seller giving you an honest answer.

Other than the Engine Management Light being on there is no other give away of EGR problems.

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