VW Crafter Problems: Are They Reliable?

Got a VW Crafter? Dealing with pesky problems? You’re not alone. From interior quirks to safety system snags, the new Crafter has its fair share of headaches. But fear not – this article is here to offer assistance. We’ll delve into the existence of common issues and provide insights on how to address them, ensuring your enjoyment behind the wheel isn’t compromised. So, if you’ve got an inclination for smooth rides without green party hiccups or infotainment system troubles, stick around for some valuable know-how.

Key Takeaways

  • Regularly monitor the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) to prevent clogging and ensure proper maintenance to avoid costly repairs.
  • Address any issues with the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve promptly to maintain engine efficiency and reduce emissions.
  • Keep an eye on gearbox performance and address any unusual noises or difficulty in shifting gears to prevent potential transmission failure.
  • Prioritize timely repairs for ignition switch problems to avoid being stranded due to starting issues.
  • Stay vigilant about power steering problems to ensure safe and responsive vehicle handling.
  • Proactively address side door issues to maintain the security and functionality of your VW Crafter.
  • Using an OBD code reader on your VW Crafter is a great way to diagnose any faults and save money on potential visits to the mechanics.

DPF Problems

What is a DPF?

A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is an essential component in modern diesel vehicles, including the VW Crafter. Its primary function is to trap and reduce harmful emissions such as soot or particulate matter from the vehicle’s exhaust. The DPF works by capturing these particles and periodically burning them off at high temperatures, which helps to reduce air pollution.

The importance of regular maintenance for the DPF cannot be overstated. Without proper care and attention, the filter can become clogged, leading to a range of issues that can significantly impact the vehicle’s performance.

Common Symptoms of DPF Problems in the VW Crafter

Several common symptoms indicate potential problems with the DPF in a VW Crafter. These may include warning lights on the dashboard, reduced engine power or performance, increased fuel consumption, and even automatic engine shutdowns to prevent further damage.

If drivers notice any of these signs while driving their VW Crafter, it’s crucial to address them promptly before they escalate into more severe issues that could result in costly repairs.

Regularly checking and cleaning or replacing the DPF as part of routine maintenance can help prevent many of these problems from occurring. Ensuring that your vehicle undergoes regular servicing according to manufacturer recommendations will aid in maintaining optimal performance while preventing potential DPF-related complications.

EGR Valve Problems

Definition and Function of the EGR Valve

The EGR valve in a VW Crafter is responsible for recirculating a portion of the exhaust gas back into the engine’s cylinders. This process helps to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, improving fuel efficiency and lowering combustion temperatures.

The EGR valve problems in a VW Crafter can manifest as rough idling, engine knocking or pinging, decreased fuel efficiency, or even stalling. There might be an illuminated check engine light on the dashboard due to issues with the EGR valve.

Indications of EGR Valve Problems in the VW Crafter

If you notice any of these symptoms in your VW Crafter, it could indicate potential issues with the EGR valve. For instance, if you experience reduced power while driving uphill or towing heavy loads and observe black smoke coming from your vehicle’s exhaust pipe when accelerating heavily; these are clear signs that there might be problems with your EGR valve.

If left unaddressed, malfunctioning EGR valves can lead to increased emissions which may cause environmental pollution. Moreover, they can also result in decreased fuel economy and overall performance. Addressing such issues promptly is crucial to prevent further damage to other components within the vehicle.

Gearbox Problems

Common Issues

VW Crafter owners often encounter gearbox problems with both manual and automatic transmissions. Symptoms such as difficulty shifting gears, strange noises during gear changes, or slipping gears can indicate gearbox issues. For example, a manual gearbox might produce grinding sounds when shifting, while an automatic one could have trouble engaging the right gear.

These problems affect not only VW Crafters but also related vehicles with similar transmission systems. The impact of these issues on vehicle performance and safety is significant. A faulty gearbox can lead to decreased fuel efficiency, loss of power, or even complete transmission failure. Moreover, it poses a safety risk by potentially causing unexpected gear shifts or stalling while driving.

Transmission Impact

The transmission is crucial for transferring power from the engine to the wheels effectively. When facing issues like delayed engagement or rough shifting in a VW Crafter’s gearbox, it can directly affect its ability to operate smoothly at motorway speeds or when navigating through challenging terrains.

Ignition Switch Problems

Overview of Ignition Switch Problems

The VW Crafter may experience ignition switch problems, leading to issues with starting the vehicle. This can result in inconvenience and potential safety hazards for the driver and passengers. The ignition switch is a crucial component that initiates the vehicle’s electrical system and starts the engine. When faulty, it can disrupt the entire operation of the vehicle.

In some cases, a faulty ignition switch might cause intermittent starting issues or complete failure to start the vehicle. It could lead to unexpected stalling while driving, posing a significant risk on the road. These issues can be particularly frustrating and dangerous when they occur unexpectedly.

A malfunctioning ignition switch could also affect other electrical components in the vehicle, such as power windows, radio, and dashboard lights. This further emphasizes its importance in maintaining overall functionality within the VW Crafter.

Warning Signs of Faulty Ignition Switch

Drivers should pay attention to warning signs that indicate a potentially faulty ignition switch in their VW Crafter. These signs include difficulty turning or removing the key from the ignition cylinder, intermittent starting problems where turning the key does not initiate engine startup immediately after multiple attempts.

Furthermore, if dashboard lights flicker or fail to illuminate when turning on or off your VW Crafter’s engine – these are red flags indicating potential problems with your ignition switch.

It’s important for drivers experiencing any of these warning signs to promptly address them by seeking professional assistance before more severe complications arise.

Power Steering Problems

Common Issues

The VW Crafter may experience common power steering problems such as stiff or heavy steering, unusual noises when turning the wheel, or erratic behavior in the steering response. These issues can indicate potential malfunctions within the power steering system.

The symptoms might suggest that there are underlying faults with components like the power steering pump, fluid leaks in the system, or a failing electric power-assist system. These problems could lead to difficulties in controlling and maneuvering the vehicle, posing safety risks for both the driver and other road users.

Safety Concerns

When encountering power steering failures, drivers may struggle to navigate corners and maintain control over their vehicles. This not only increases the risk of accidents but also makes it challenging to handle emergency situations effectively. The loss of proper steering assistance compromises overall driving safety and could result in hazardous scenarios on the road.

Side Door Problems

Common Issues

The VW Crafter may experience common problems with its side doors, which can lead to inconvenience and potential safety hazards. One of the frequent issues is related to the door mechanism, where it may get stuck or fail to open properly. This can be attributed to wear and tear over time, especially if the vehicle is used for heavy-duty purposes. door mirrors on the side might also develop faults due to electronic malfunctions or physical damage.

Another problem associated with side doors is their susceptibility to malfunction in side winds. The aerodynamics of large commercial vehicles like the VW Crafter make them vulnerable to strong crosswinds, potentially causing difficulty in opening or closing these doors when parked in windy conditions.

Indicators and Consequences

Indicators that suggest issues with side doors include unusual sounds during operation, difficulty in fully closing or opening the door, and visible signs of damage such as dents or scratches around the door frame. If left unresolved, these problems can result in inconveniences such as being unable to access cargo stored behind a malfunctioning side door.

Moreover, neglecting these issues could pose safety risks by compromising security and increasing vulnerability during transit. For instance, a faulty side door might not shut securely while driving at high speeds due to air pressure changes around the vehicle’s body. This can lead to potential cargo loss or even accidents if not addressed promptly.

Starting Problems

Signs of Starting System Malfunctions

VW Crafter owners have reported various starting problems with their vehicles. One common issue is the engine not turning over when the key is turned in the ignition. This can be accompanied by a clicking sound or complete silence, indicating potential malfunctions within the starting system. Another sign of starting problems is difficulty in getting the engine to start, even after several attempts.

In addition to these signs, some owners have also experienced dashboard warning lights related to the starting system, such as the battery or check engine light illuminating unexpectedly. These indicators are crucial as they alert drivers to potential issues and prompt them to seek professional assistance promptly.

Importance of Prompt Diagnosis and Fixing

Diagnosing and fixing starting issues promptly is essential for VW Crafter owners. Ignoring these problems can lead to more severe complications down the line, potentially leaving drivers stranded due to an inability to start their vehicle altogether. Moreover, addressing starting malfunctions early on can prevent further damage and costly repairs in the long run.

Prompt attention also ensures that VW Crafter owners can continue using their vehicles without interruptions caused by unreliable starting systems. By addressing these issues swiftly, owners can maintain peace of mind knowing that their vehicle will reliably start when needed.

Turbo Problems

Indications of Turbocharger Issues

If you’re experiencing turbo problems in your VW Crafter, there are several signs to look out for. One common indication is a significant decrease in engine power, especially when accelerating or going uphill. You might also notice excessive exhaust smoke, either black or blue, coming from the tailpipe. In some cases, you may hear unusual whistling or grinding noises from the engine compartment.

Another key indicator of potential turbocharger issues is a noticeable increase in fuel consumption. If you find yourself refuelling more frequently than usual without any change in driving habits or conditions, it could be linked to turbo problems affecting the fuel efficiency of your TDI diesel engine.

Potential Engine Damage

Unresolved turbo problems can lead to severe damage to the TDI diesel engine of your new VW Crafter. The turbocharger plays a crucial role in ensuring optimal air intake and compression within the engine. When this system malfunctions, it can result in an imbalance between air and fuel mixture entering the combustion chamber.

This imbalance not only affects performance but can also cause overheating and increased wear on vital engine components. Over time, these issues can lead to costly repairs and even permanent damage if left unaddressed.

What Is the Best Year for VW Crafter Vans in Terms of Reliability?

In general, all models of the VW Crafter have been lauded for their reliability, but it is the post-2011 models that have been most popular with owners and critics for the combination of design, comfort and reliability.

The 2018 VW Crafter won the Parkers Guide best large van award while the 2022 VW Crafter came number two in the Best large panel vans for Auto Express.

How Many Miles Can a VW Crafter Last?

The main thing to remember here is that at around 80,000 miles, if parts have not been changed, then you will most likely have to spend out some money.

In this case, a van with 100,000 miles on the clock that drives well and has been fully serviced and had the appropriate parts changed, may make a better investment than a lower mileage one that has not had parts changed.

As always, we can only recommend that you check the service history when buying a second hand VW Crafter and if it has been well looked after then you should be able to keep it going for well over 150,000 miles.


You’ve learned about the common problems that VW Crafter owners face, from DPF and EGR valve issues to gearbox and turbo troubles. It’s crucial to stay on top of maintenance and address these problems promptly to keep your Crafter running smoothly. Remember, regular check-ups and timely repairs can save you a heap of trouble in the long run.

If you’re experiencing any of these problems with your VW Crafter, don’t delay – get them checked out by a professional. By taking action early, you can prevent more significant issues down the line and keep your van in top-notch condition. Stay proactive, and your Crafter will thank you for it!