How many miles will a VW Transporter do?

Many enthusiasts looking to purchase their first Transporter will ask the question, how many miles a Transporter will do as it is so common to see high figures quoted on the second-hand market.

VW Transporter T4, T5 and T6 are all easily capable of over 250,000 miles if well looked after. Some have even been reported to reach 500,000 which is a huge nod to Volkswagen for building such a robust vehicle.

If you have chance, have a browse (Here) on eBay. You will see well looked after examples that still hold great value despite being over 250,000 miles which is quite remarkable. As I write this there are two VW T4’s with 280k miles selling for £5k.

What is high mileage for a VW Transporter?

This depends on year and model however anything under 100,000 is generally considered low miles. Medium miles would be between 100,000 and 200,000 miles and anything upwards of 200,000 is considered high mileage as a rule of thumb.

High mile T5 clocks

What goes wrong on high mileage Transporters?

Common issues on high mileage Transporters:

  1. Rust on arches/bottom of doors affecting the T4 and T5.
  2. Rust near rear suspension mounts on T4 (expensive repair).
  3. Slipping clutches on all models (expensive repair).
  4. Clunky drive shafts on T5 and T6.
  5. Electric locking issues on T5.
  6. ABS Sensor issues on T5.
  7. Water pump leaks on T5 and T6.
  8. Electrical charging problems on the T4 (usually the alternator).
  9. Leaking side windows on the T5 and T6 Kombi (also affects low milage models).
  10. Emission issues on the T4’s.
  11. Cam wear on the T5 2.5 models (can be expensive repair).
  12. Upper and Lower ball joints on all models.
  13. VW T4’s especially suffers from timing issues caused by garages not setting them correctly following cambelt service. Look out for poor cold starts.
  14. Poor paint condition/faded paint.
  15. Brake discs and pads/hand brake

That is not an extensive list however providing you follow the basic service schedule for servicing (especially the major services) then this normally addresses most eventualities before they happen.

Unfortunately, some owners only repair their Transporters when they show signs of a problem (such as a slipping clutch) rather than taking preventative maintenance which would usually replace consumable parts before they fail.

When shopping for a second-hand Transporter make sure that you check the service history as well as MOT history to show signs of missed services.

VW T6 dash

What mileage is too high on a Transporter?

This is personal preference and aligned to personal budget really.

So long as a Transporter has been routinely serviced and the mileage is reflected in the price then mileage should not be the deterring factor.

The more you pay then the lower the mileage you should aim for.

When looking at mileage it is more important to consider how recently its last major service was (usually at 5 year intervals or 60,000 to 75,000 miles).

I would choose a fully serviced T5 or T6 Transporter with 130,000 miles over a Transporter with 119,000 miles approaching its next major service as an example where lower mileage could be a negative!

Allow the service history to dictate what you are comfortable with rather than the miles on the clock.

Generally, the body and moving items on the VW’s fail before a well maintained engine so don’t just look at the miles on an engine, look at the vehicle as a whole.

How often should you change oil on a transporter

VW T4 Transporter 1.9 pre 1999 models – Every 6 months or 5,000 miles

VW T4 Transporter 2.4 pre 1999 models Engine code AJA – Every 6 months or 5,000 miles

VW T4 Transporter all other models – Every 12 months or 10,000 miles

VW T5 Transporter – Every 12 months or 10,000 miles

VW T6 Transporter – Every 12 months or 10,000 miles alternatively up to 18,000 miles if used mainly for long journeys. View more information on this here

What is the service schedule of a Transporter

How often is major service on a T4?

Every 80,000 miles the Timing belt and Tensioner should be replaced. On 5 cylinder models the injection pump and drivebelt should be replaced. Many owners choose to replace them sooner.

How often is major service on a T5?

Every 60,000 miles the timing belt and tensioner should be replaced. If you have the 1.9 model with engine code AXB and AXC you can stretch this to 75,000 miles however a lot of owners opt to stick to 60,000 mile intervals.

How often is major service on a T6?

Every 4 years or 120,000 miles the timing belt and tensioner should be replaced. Spark plugs at 60,000. DSG oil and filter should be changed every 60,000 miles.

What is the average mileage of a Transporter?

An accepted average of number of miles a commercial vehicle may travel is 30,000 per year however some vehicles cover significantly more than this.

For leisure use the average is normally much lower in the region of 5,000 and 10,000 per year.

Those Transporters that are converted earlier on in their life typically will have lower miles at point of sale and hold a higher value.


High mileage for a Transporter is regarded as being higher than most other vehicles within the same bracket thanks to the renowned reliability that comes with the VW badge.

Due to this reputation, many high mileage Transporter examples can be found for sale in the UK that still hold significant market values.

Rather than let mileage be the deciding factor on a purchase, observe the service schedules and service history in order to make a more informed decision.

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