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Fluid level checks Volkswagen Transporter T5 2003 - 2014 Diesel 1.9 TDi

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Transporter T5
2003 - 2014  | 1.9 TDi Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1

Underbonnet check points

2.5 litre engine (others similar) 1 Engine oil level dipstick 2 Engine oil filler cap 3 Coolant reservoir (expansion tank) 4 Brake and clutch fluid reservoir 5 Power steering fluid reservoir 6 Washer fluid reservoir 7 Battery

Engine oil level

1 • Make sure that the vehicle is on level ground .
2 • The oil level should be checked with the engine at normal operating temperature, however, wait at least 5 minutes after the engine has been switched off..
HINT: If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick.

The correct oil

3 Modern engines place great demands on their oil. It is very important that the correct oil for your vehicle is used.
Engine oil grade;
  Standard (distance/time) service interval: Multigrade (high-lubricity) engine oil, viscosity SAE 5W/40 to 20W/50
    Engines without particulate filter VW 505 01, 507 00 or better
    Engines with particulate filter VW 507 00 or better
  LongLife (variable) service interval: VW LongLife engine oil
    Engines without particulate filter VW 506 01, 507 00 or better
    Engines with particulate filter VW 507 00 or better

Vehicle care

4 • If you have to add oil frequently, you should check whether you have any oil leaks. Place some clean paper under the vehicle overnight, and check for stains in the morning. If there are no leaks, the engine may be burning oil.
5 • Always maintain the level in the dipstick’s cross-hatched area (see photo 3). If the level is too low severe engine damage may occur. Oil seal failure may result if the engine is overfilled by adding too much oil.
Where applicable, lift up the access panel in the centre of the engine cover.
The dipstick is brightly coloured for easy identification (see Underbonnet check points for exact location). Withdraw the dipstick.
Using a clean rag or paper towel remove all oil from the dipstick. Insert the clean dipstick into the tube as far as it will go, then withdraw it again.
Note the oil level on the end of the dipstick; it should be in the cross-hatched area – never above the ‘MAX’ line or below the ‘MIN’ line. If topping-up is required (only if the level is between the cross-hatched area and the ‘MIN’ line, or below) add no more than 0.5 litre of oil at a time.
Oil is added through the filler cap. Unscrew the cap and top-up the level. A funnel may help to reduce spillage. Add the oil slowly, checking the level on the dipstick frequently. Avoid overfilling (see Vehicle care). Should you need to renew the oil and filter, click below

Engine oil and filter change

Coolant level

Warning: Do not attempt to remove the expansion tank pressure cap when the engine is hot, as there is a very great risk of scalding. Do not leave open containers of coolant about, as it is poisonous.

Vehicle care

6 • Adding coolant should not be necessary on a regular basis. If frequent topping-up is required, it is likely there is a leak. Check the radiator, all hoses and joint faces for signs of staining or wetness, and rectify as necessary.
7 • It is important that antifreeze is used in the cooling system all year round, not just during the winter months. Don’t top-up with water alone, as the antifreeze will become too diluted.
Antifreeze type Mixture of 40% VW coolant G12 plus plus or higher (to spec TL-VW 774 F or G) and 60% water
The coolant level varies with the temperature of the engine, and is visible through the expansion tank (remove the engine cover if necessary to check the level). When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be between the MAX and MIN marks on the side of the tank. When the engine is hot, the level may rise slightly above the MAX mark.
If topping-up is necessary, wait until the engine is cold. Slowly unscrew the expansion tank cap, to release any pressure present in the cooling system, and remove it.
Add a mixture of water and antifreeze to the expansion tank until the coolant level is halfway between the level marks. Refit the cap and tighten it securely. Should you need to replace the coolant, click below

Coolant replacement

Brake and clutch fluid level

Note: All models have a hydraulically-operated clutch, which uses the same fluid as the braking system.
Caution: Hydraulic fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling and pouring it.
8 • Do not use fluid that has been standing open for some time, as it absorbs moisture from the air, which can cause a dangerous loss of braking effectiveness.

Before you start

10 • Make sure that your vehicle is on level ground .
10 • According to model, undo the retaining bolts and rotary fasteners and remove the battery cover and engine covers as applicable, for access to the reservoir.

Safety first!

11 • If the reservoir requires repeated topping-up this is an indication of a fluid leak somewhere in the system, which should be investigated immediately.
12 • If a leak is suspected, the vehicle should not be driven until the braking system has been checked. Never take any risks where brakes are concerned.
HINT: The fluid level in the reservoir will drop slightly as the brake pads wear down, but the fluid level must never be allowed to drop below the MIN mark.
The MAX and MIN marks are indicated on the front and sides of the reservoir. The fluid level must be kept between the marks at all times.
If topping-up is necessary, first wipe clean the area around the filler cap to prevent dirt entering the hydraulic system.
Unscrew the reservoir cap and remove it.
Carefully add fluid, taking care not to spill it onto the surrounding components. Use only DOT 4 fluid; mixing different types can cause damage to the system. After topping-up to the correct level, securely refit the cap and wipe off any spilt fluid.

Power steering fluid level

13 • Park the vehicle on level ground.
14 • Set the steering wheel straight-ahead.
15 • The engine should be turned off.
16 • For the check to be accurate, the steering must not be turned once the engine has been stopped.

Safety first!

17 • The need for frequent topping-up indicates a leak, which should be investigated immediately.
The reservoir is mounted at the front right-hand side of the engine compartment. According to model, undo the retaining bolts and rotary fasteners and remove the battery cover and engine covers as applicable, for access to the reservoir.
Wipe clean the area around the reservoir filler cap and unscrew the cap. Using a clean rag or paper towel remove all oil from the integral dipstick, refit and tighten the filler cap, then unscrew and remove the cap again.
Note the fluid level on the end of the dipstick – if the system is cold the fluid level should be within the cross-hatched area marked ‘cool’ If the vehicle has just been driven and the system is hot, the fluid level should be within the cross-hatched area marked ‘hot’.
If topping-up is necessary, use the specified type of fluid and do not overfill the reservoir (check the level on the dipstick after a small amount of fluid has been added). When the level is correct, securely refit the cap.
Power steering fluid VW hydraulic fluid G 002 000

Screen washer fluid level

18 • Screenwash additives not only keep the windscreen clean during bad weather, they also prevent the washer system freezing in cold weather – which is when you are likely to need it most. Don’t top-up using plain water, as the screenwash will become diluted, and will freeze in cold weather.
Warning: On no account use engine coolant antifreeze in the screen washer system – this may damage the paintwork.
The reservoir for the washer systems is located at the front right of the engine compartment. If topping-up is necessary, open the filler cap.
When topping-up the reservoir a screenwash additive should be added in the quantities recommended on the bottle. It could also be time to replace the wiper blades. For details, click below
- Close + Open

Wiper blade replacement

1 • Only fit good-quality wiper blades.
2 • When removing an old wiper blade, note how it is fitted. Fitting new blades can sometimes be tricky, and noting how the old blade came off can save time.
3 • While the wiper blade is removed, take care not to knock the wiper arm from its locked position, or it could strike the glass.
4 • Offer the new blade into position the same way round as the old one. Ensure that it clicks home securely, otherwise it may come off in use, damaging the glass.
HINT: If smearing is still a problem despite fitting new wiper blades, try cleaning the glass with neat screenwash additive or methylated spirit.
Check the condition of the wiper blades; if they are cracked or show any signs of deterioration, or if the glass swept area is smeared, renew them. Wiper blades should be renewed annually.
To remove a windscreen wiper blade, pull the arm fully away from the windscreen until it locks. Swivel the blade through 90º, then depress the locking tab (arrowed) and push the blade down the arm.
Detach the blade from the end fitting on the arm. When fitting the new blade, make sure that the blade locks securely into the arm, and that the blade is orientated correctly.
Don’t forget to check the rear wiper blade(s) as well (where applicable) which are removed in the same way.