Skip to main content

Volkswagen Transporter T4 routine maintenance guide (1990 to 2003 diesel engines)

Volkswagen Transporter T4 routine maintenance guide

Do you own a Volkswagen Transporter T4 and have questions about its routine maintenance, such as when to change the oil, or even what oil type? Perhaps you've been wondering how often to change the fluids in your Transporter T4 or how often to get it serviced, check the brakes and perform other common jobs.

Our Volkswagen Transporter T4 routine maintenance guide comes straight from our best-selling manual for 1990 to 2003 diesel engines and has all the information you need! 

Modern cars and vans need much less maintenance than the vehicles of 25 years ago, but they still have needs. You no longer have to do a service every 6 months, or change the oil every 3 months, but regular fluid changes are still essential to your vehicle’s longevity. 

What follows is our quick reference guide to many of the recommended routine maintenance tasks for your Transporter T4, most of which you can do yourself at home. If you need more guidance or step-by-step instructions, check out the video tutorials in our online manual or get our traditional printed manual.

Oil Change

Engine Oil Type 5W/30 to 10W/40 to VW spec 500 00 or 5W/30 to 20W/50 to VW spec 505 00 (non-turbo engines)
Engine Oil Capacity 5W/30 to 20W/50 to VW spec 505 00 (Turbo engines)
(with oil filter) 5.0 litres (4-cylinder engines)
 

5.5 litres (5-cylinder engines)

Oil Drain Plug Torque 30 Nm (4-cylinder engines)
  50 Nm (5-cylinder engines)

Transmission Fluid Change

Manual Transmission Fluid Type 75W/90 gear oil (VW G51)
Automatic Transmission Fluid Type VW ATF (01P transmission)
  Dexron ATF (098 transmission)
  75W/90 VW synthetic gear oil (final drive)
Manual Transmission Fluid Capacity 2.5 litres (02B type transmission)
(drain and refill) 2.3 litres (02G transmission)
Automatic Transmission Fluid Capacity 3.5 litres (main transmission)
(at fluid change) 1.15 litres (final drive)

Coolant Replacement

Coolant Type 40% VW coolant G12 (spec TL-VW774 F or G) and 60% water
Coolant System Capacity 9.0 litres

Other Miscellaneous Fluid Types

Power Steering Fluid VW G 002 000
Brake Fluid Type DOT 4 brake fluid

Other Miscellaneous Torque Specs

Roadwheel Bolts 160 Nm (up to December 1995)
  180 Nm (January 1996-on)
Front Brake Caliper Guide Pins 25 Nm (VW caliper)
Front Brake Caliper Guide Pin Bolts 35 Nm (Lucas floating caliper)*
Front Brake Caliper Guide Pin Nuts 70 Nm (Lucas floating frame caliper)
Front Brake Caliper Body-to-Swivel Hub 280 Nm (Lucas floating frame caliper)
Front Brake Caliper Bridge Retaining Bolts 90 Nm (Lucas floating frame caliper)
Front Brake Caliper Mounting Bracket-to-Swivel Hub  280 Nm (except VW FNR caliper)
  355 Nm (VW FNR caliper)
Rear Brake Caliper Guide Pins/Bolts 35 Nm*
Rear Brake Caliper Mounting Bracket Bolts 170 Nm
ABS Wheel Speed Sensor Bolts 10 Nm

*Do not re-use

Volkswagen Transporter T4 Maintenance Schedule

The Volkswagen Transporter T4 maintenance intervals in our manual are provided with the assumption that you, not the dealer, will be carrying out the work. These are the minimum intervals recommended by us for vehicles driven daily. If you wish to keep your vehicle in peak condition at all times, you may wish to perform some of these procedures more often.

We encourage frequent maintenance, since it enhances the efficiency, performance and resale value of your vehicle. If the vehicle is driven in dusty areas, used to tow a trailer, or driven frequently at slow speeds (idling in traffic) or on short journeys, more frequent maintenance intervals are recommended. 

Note: The mileage conversions from kilometres are approximate.

Later Transporter models are equipped with a service interval display indicator in the instrument panel. Every time the engine is started the panel will illuminate for a short time, displaying one of the following: 

In 0 – no service required

Service OIL – 15 000 km service required

Service INSP – 12 month, 30,000 km or 60,000 km service required, according to mileage completed

This is basically a reminder that a service is due, eg: when the VW technician completes an oil change service, the display indicator is  re-programmed to show OIL when another 15  000 km have been covered. When a service is due, the display will begin indicating it sometime beforehand. The indicator is programmed in km, even if the vehicle has mileage indication.

Every 250 miles

  • Check the engine oil level
  • Check the coolant level
  • Check the screenwash fluid level
  • Check the brake/clutch fluid level
  • Check the power steering fluid level
  • Check the tyres and tyre pressures
  • Check the condition of the battery

Every 5,000 miles or 6 months – ‘OIL’ on the interval display*

*Note: This service interval only applies to pre-1999 1.9 litre models with engine code ABL and 2.4 litre models with engine code AJA.

  • Renew the engine oil and filter
  • Drain any water from the fuel filter
  • Check the front and rear brake pad/shoes thickness 
  • Check the condition of the wiper blades
  • Reset the service interval display – later models

Every 10,000 miles or 6 months – ‘OIL’ on interval display

  • Renew the engine oil and filter
  • Drain any water from the fuel filter
  • Check the front and rear brake pad/shoes thickness 
  • Check the condition of the wiper blades
  • Reset the service interval display – later models

Annual inspection – ‘INSP’ on interval display

In addition to the relevant items listed in previous services, carry out the following: 

  • Check the condition of the exhaust system and its mountings 
  • Check all underbonnet components and hoses for fluid and oil leaks 
  • Check the operation of the handbrake 
  • Check the steering and suspension components for condition and security 
  • Check the condition of the driveshaft gaiters 
  • Check the headlight beam adjustment 
  • Check the condition of the airbag unit(s) 
  • Renew the pollen filter element 
  • Lubricate all hinges and locks 
  • Check the coolant antifreeze concentration 
  • Carry out a road test and check exhaust emissions 
  • Check the operation of the windscreen/rear window/headlight washer system(s) 
  • Check, and if necessary, adjust the engine idle speed  - SD and TD models

Every 2 years (regardless of mileage)

  • Renew the air filter element 
  • Check the engine management system and exhaust emissions
  • Renew the coolant*
  • Renew the brake fluid 

*This is a Haynes recommendation, to be applied if there is any doubt about the quality of antifreeze in the cooling system. If the vehicle is known still to have the original coolant, VW do not specify a renewal interval. Seek the advice of a VW dealer if in doubt on this point.

Every 20,000 miles – ‘INSP’ on interval display

In addition to the relevant items listed in previous services, carry out the following: 

  • Check the condition and tension of the timing belt
  • Check the condition and tension of the injection pump drivebelt – 5-cylinder engines
  • Check the condition of the auxiliary drivebelt(s), and renew if necessary
  • Check the steering and suspension components for condition and security 
  • Check the manual transmission oil level 
  • Check the headlight beam adjustment 
  • Check the underbody sealant for damage 
  • Check the operation of the sunroof and lubricate the guide rails

Every 40,000 miles - ‘INSP’ on interval display

In addition to the relevant items listed in previous services, carry out the following: 

  • Renew the fuel filter
  • Check the automatic transmission fluid level
  • Check the automatic transmission final drive oil level

Every 80,000 miles – ‘INSP’ on interval display

In addition to the relevant items listed in previous services, carry out the following: 

  • Renew the timing belt and tensioner
  • Renew the injection pump drivebelt – 5-cylinder engines