Servicing Your VW T6 Transporter
Here we will cover the servicing schedule requirements and service intervals of the most recent VW Transporter T6 and T6.1 model.
- The VW T6 Transporter Service schedule, Inspection Intervals and rough costs
- Which is the best oil to use in a VW T6 Transporter
Since the very first VW Transporter rolled out of the factory in the 1950s, the popular Volkswagen series has come a long way, spanning six generations.
Service items you may need:
- Manufacturer - Castrol
- 5w -30 Fully synthetic long life
- Oil grade 507.00 VW approved
- VW Transporter T6 and T6.1
- Full oil change requires 7 Litres
- Manufacturer - OEM BOSCH Service Kit
- Fits VW T5 and VW T6 2.0TDI Engines from 2010 to 2017
- Genuine Bosch filter kit
- Not Suitable for 2.0 BiTDI CFCA Engine
- Oil Filter, Air Filter, Fuel Filter and Standard Pollen (Cabin) Filter Plus Sump Plug & Seal
- Manufacturer - Genuine VW parts
- Complete cambelt kit with water pump
- VW T5.1 Transporter / Caravelle 2010 - 2015 2.0 TDi (all models)
- VW T6 Transporter / Caravelle 2015 onwards (2.0 TDi models without adblue)
- For 120,000 mile service or 4 years
Whilst the VW Transporter service intervals have reduced significantly in the latest VW T6 Transporter range, the technology (and complexity) has advanced, making it much harder to carry out your own maintenance.
On the contrary, more modern VW T6 Transporters are used by different drivers for a variety of reasons, from carrying light goods to turning into strong camper conversions.
Regardless of the way you use your VW T6 Transporter, maintaining a regular service schedule ensures that you’re not transforming into some sort of a mad mechanic on your next escapade. But, above all, routine servicing assures that you’re safe and secure.
VW T6 service kit
If you are thinking about servicing your VW T6 yourself, you can buy good quality service kits for the VW Transporter T6 ready made up for less than £60.
There are a few places but usually the best prices can be found on eBay (HERE)
How Often Should Your VW T6 Transporter Be Serviced?
VW T6 service intervals
The VW T6 Transporter has options on when servicing should be carried out. Volkswagen introduced these two options to suit the different uses of the vehicles.
On both the VW T6 and VW T6.1 models there are two servicing regimes to choose from depending on the use of the vehicle. The Service schedules are significantly different and the selection criteria can appear a little woolly.
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 plan – 18000 miles or 24 month
*TIP* The VW Transporter T6 service interval regime should be programmed into the van’s dash by the dealer at point of sale depending on your stated use.
It should also be assessed at each service and reprogrammed if you are not meeting the criteria of the plan.
However from recent experience, this is not always checked! The default is usually the VW T6 Flexible Service Regime which is 18000 miles or 24 months.
VW Transporter service intervals explained
Fixed vs Longlife
So how to decide which service plan is best for you?
The following selection criteria should be used when deciding which VW Transporter service intervals to follow:
Fixed time service 12,000 miles (19,000 KM) or 12 months
If you intend on driving less than 10,000 miles or 16,000 KM per year AND your use meets the following three criteria:
- Frequent short journeys resulting in multiple cold starts. Examples being school runs, supermarket trips and general town driving where the engine does not get up to temperature on a regular basis.
- Towing, or loading the vehicle with heavy cargo on a regular basis that puts extra strain on the engine and components (brakes etc). If you live in mountainous areas, hill climbs also count towards strenuous activities.
- If you are heavy on the accelerator using high revs and heavy on the brakes you will also fall into this category or servicing.
Flexible Service Regime –Long life service plan 18,000 miles (29,000 km) or 24 months
Flexible Service Regime (LongLife Service)
We recommend this service if you are likely to drive more than 25 miles a day, and if you tend to drive in the following way:
This is recommended if on average you expect to be doing at least 25 miles (or 40KM) per journey and meet the following criteria:
- Frequent long journeys where the engine gets thoroughly warm.
- Frequent use of motorways or dual carriageways with minimal stop/start. This prolongs the life of engine oil, brakes, clutch etc
- Careful driving, light on accelerator and brakes.
- Rarely tow or load your VW Transporter T6 with heavy content. Minimal mountainous driving.
VW Transporter T6 Recommended Oil
One of the most frequently recommended oils for the VW Transporter T6 (and widely considered the best oil for them) is the Castrol Edge Titanium 5w-30 LL FST Fully Synthetic Car Engine Oil. This grade oil is approved for use by VW.
There are a few other oil manufacturers that are approved for use by VW for the VW T6 range. The two most important things to observe when selecting your oil is:
- It must be 5w -30 Fully synthetic long life
- Oil grade must be 507.00
Using the incorrect grade oil in your VW Transporter T6 will affect the longevity of your engine. If you are on a long life service plan especially (18,000 miles) you could do significant damage to your engine.
Another popular oil choice for the VW T6 Transporters is Quantum Longlife III 5w-30 Fully Synthetic Engine Oil however it is usually more expensive and does not offer any significant benefits over the Castrol Edge Titanium 5w-30 LL
If you buy a new VW T6 you should have been given a free top up bottle of oil (picture of mine below). It is usually left in the driver door card by the VW dealer.
VW Transporter T6 Service Schedule
Since VW Transporters T6 are considered newer vans, they do not require heavy servicing intervals. That said, they still must be serviced at least every one to two years to maintain their performance, engine life and it will also increase their resale value.
VW Transporters are equipped with a very helpful service interval display in the instrument panel. When the engine is on, the panel illuminates for approximately 20 seconds with service information.
The LongLife display calculates upcoming service intervals according to the vehicle speeds, brake pad wear, fuel consumption, oil level, and oil temperature, and length of journeys.
The service reminder is presented 20 days before the service is due. And once it has been reached, the display illuminates with a Service Now and a spanner symbol.
VW Transporter T6 routine service checks
There are a few checks that you should be doing at home on a regular basis between the official VW T6 service intervals. A good regime to follow is below:
Every 250 miles
You must check out the following:
- Engine oil level
- Coolant level
- Screen wash fluid level
- Brake/clutch fluid level
- Tyres and tyre pressures
- AdBlue level (only if the dash warning light is on) . Do not top up until it lights up on the dash as it can cause issues with the sensor.
VW Transporter T6 Service Costs
The exact servicing cost varies.* That is because services have to take into account the variable costs of VW parts and things like oil, oil filters, and more.
For an interim service you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of £180 to £220 depending on your area. For a full service you can expect to pay between £400 and £480. The following areas should usually be covered.
VW T6 Transporter interim service
This will include the oil, filters and the following areas of the vehicle should be checked:
- Wipers, washers and fluid level
- Condition of the front and rear lamps
- Battery terminal check
- Coolant level and ensure adequate anti-freeze strength
- Condition of visible drive belts for signs of wear. Replace if necessary
- Brake fluid level and cleanliness
- Power-assisted steering oil level – top up if required + check for leaks
- Air filter check + replace if needed
- Tyre condition, wear patterns (to check wheel alignment) and tread depths
- Tyre pressures
- Brake system for leaks and damage
- Thickness of the front and rear brake pads/linings meet required tolerances
- Steering and suspension for wear and leaks
- Drive shaft damage or wear
- Condition of the exhaust system for leaks or lose fittings
- Replace the VW T6 engine oil and filter with correct grade oil
- Reset the service interval delay
VW T6 Transporter full service
All of the above items plus the following areas should be examined
- Airbags for visible damage
- Tipper system and change the oil if necessary
- Paint and bodywork for damage and corrosion
- Expiry date on breakdown set
- Engine and engine compartment for leaks
- Gearbox, final drive and rear axle for leaks and damage
- Manual gearbox oil level
- Final drive oil level
- ABS sensor and cables
- Underbody sealant and panels for damage
- Supplementary rubber rings
- Steering joints and boot for wear and damage
- Condition of the camshaft drive toothed belt
- ATF level (automatic)
- Idle speed
- Adjustment of headlights
Off the back of the inspections you may have additional requirements which will cost over and above the service costs such as new tyres, brake discs, pads.
VW T6 Transporter major service items
The recommended major service schedule of a VW T6 Transporter are as follows:
- Air filters should be replaced every 18,000 miles (or 30,000km) or 2 years
- Replace pollen filters – every 18,000 miles (or 30,000km) or 1 year
- It is recommended that the fuel filter be replaced at : 25,000 miles (40,000 km)
- Those with the Dsg model should replace the oil and filters at 40,000 miles (or 60,000km) or at 3yrs. It takes 6 Litres of oil
- Those with the 4motion model the Haldex system should be checked every 20,000 miles and fully serviced at 40,000 miles or every 3 years.
- Timing belt should be checked at every service and replaced at120,000 miles or every 4years
- Spark plugs should be changed at 40,000 miles or every 4 years
- Brake fluid should be checked regularly and changed on it’s 3rd year (from new) and then every 2 years thereafter.
- Brake pads & discs – checked At least once a year. (2mm min pad wear limit)
- Airconditioning should be serviced every 2 years
- CV boots, Shock absorbers should be checked at every service
- Tyres should be checked regularly by driver and at every service
This is guidance only, if you drive in dusty climates or use your VW T6 Transporter in more strenuous circumstances, you may need to bring the servicing forwards on some or all of the above components.
It is worth noting that some VW T6 enthusiasts change things like cambelts earlier than the recommended 120,000 miles. Some also opt for more regular oil changes.
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Another recommended engine oil is Fuchs Titan Race Pro C3 5W-30 Fully Synthetic Engine Oil. This oil is meant to prevent the build up of carbon deposits in the EGR/Cooler on the Euro 6 engine. Egr is the achilles heel of this engine.
I’ve not tried it yet but will be doing so.
Great advice thank you Brian! Anything that can help prevent EGR issues further on down the line is worth a go.