VW Transporter T6 Problems: Buyers Guide

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There are many Volkswagen Transporter T6 models and versions. The VW Transporter T6 is a versatile, reliable and well-designed van that can be used in myriad different settings. But sometimes we discover any number of problems with them when they come off the production line or after they have been on the road for a while.

xThis blog post will explore some of these issues so you know what to look out for before you buy one or if you find yourself having trouble with your current one.

VW Transport T6 Models – A Quick Overview

The sheer number and variety of Transporters is enough to make your head spin! They come in different engine sizes, body styles (cargo or passenger) including standard panel van, Caravelle, California and Kombi.

The options don’t stop there though as the T6 is also available in short and long wheel base options.

Engines were 2.0 units in either petrol or diesel formats and an automatic dual clutch DSG gear box was also available as an option.

Which model you choose can depend on what your uses are for the van and how many seats you need inside. For example, if you want to use it as an people carrier the the Shuttle, Caravelle or Kombi versions will give you a few more seats.

What are the common problems with a VW Transporter T6?

VW Transporter T6 EGR problems

EGR stands for Exhaust Gas Recirculation and is an emissions control system that returns some of the exhaust gas back into the engine to be burnt again.

Fault codes related to EGR usually become apparent during routine MOT tests or when they are due their annual service. The gases can’t circulate in your engine without the EGR valve so you can expect a number of warning lights to appear on the dashboard.

There are a number of different reasons why your EGR valve might be at fault and it’s not always an easy fix. It could need replacing entirely or it could just need cleaning out with some WD40 or a specialist cleaner, taking care not to damage it in the process.

EGR problems do seemed to plague Transporter models as this issue also affected the VW Transporter T5.

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VW T6 Engine issues

Two of the more powerful diesel engines can be susceptible to engine failure although this is quite rare. These seems to affect the 180bhp and 205bhp Bi-Turbo Diesel models and is caused by a faulty EGR valve (see above).

Due to age of the T6, most of these engine failures are covered under the original VW warranty but could catch later owners out and land then with an expensive repair bill. One quick check (although not fool proof) it to check for any dashboard engine management warning lights and get any fault codes read.

VW Transporter T6 Engine management light

The engine management light could come on to indicate that there is an issue with one of the vehicle’s sensors or due to a programming fault. You can buy your own code reader fairly cheaply and many garages will check the codes for you but, if you are confident enough you can save yourself quite a bit of money by doing it yourself.

The most common issue is with our old friend again, the EGR system. You’ll need to get the fault code read but more often than not this is “P0401” – P0401 is a code that the engine control module (ECM) detected that the engine exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve is not opening up enough.

VW Transporter T6 Leaking windows

Surprisingly leaking window issues are not related to poorly executed DIY camper van conversions, but on the models with factory fitted side windows such as the Kombi and Shuttle.

The problem here is with the window seals and how they drain – basically the design allows the water to get between the window and the side panel. The first you will probably know of this is damp interior door or side panel trim. Again this is a warranty fix so check that the previous owner has had any recall work done. It can be tricky one to spot though but damp or any early signs of rust would be a tell-tale sign.

Its more important to check on vans that had a camper van conversion as the damage can be far worse and may required the replacement of any fitted furniture units.

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Is the VW Transporter T6 reliable?

On the whole, yes. There are a few things that should be checked, but it seems to represent good value for money and you do get four years warranty as standard. Just make sure you look after your T6 Transporter well and service it regularly to make sure any problems are spotted quickly before they become too serious.

VW Transporter T6 recalls

Recalls don’t seem very common with the VW Transporter T6 at all, which can be a sign of how reliable they are, and also the fact that these are still relatively new models.

General tips on buying a used VW Transporter T6

Always remember that these vans are built for use and it’s worth looking at the condition carefully before ploughing in with your hard-earned cash. You want to be sure you can trust the previous owner, so take a good look around and ask lots of questions – they key is to feel confident about what you’re buying.

Specifically, you need to be on the look out for the common problems mentioned above. That is:

  • The EGR system, leaking windows and engine management lights.
  • You can’t do much with the EGR issue apart from hope that any problem is covered by warranty – and again make sure the seller has had it resolved under this as you don’t want to inherit their issues.
  • Leaking windows are a little more difficult but ask the seller if they have had any further problems with the seals after they have been replaced.
  • Engine management lights can be a pain so ask if there are any on – if so, get the code(s) checked and see if this is an issue you want to take on.
  • One last tip would be to check that, if applicable, the camper van conversion was professionally done.