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  7. VW T5 Transmission Problems: 5 Common Causes & Solutions

VW T5 Transmission Problems: 5 Common Causes & Solutions

vw t5 transmission problems

VW T5 Transmission Problems: 5 Common Causes & Solutions

The Volkswagen T5 is the fifth generation of the Volkswagen Transporter series of vans. It was introduced in 2003 and replaced the fourth generation T4. The T5 is available in short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase versions.

The T5 Transporter comes with a 6-speed manual or an optional 6-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, VW T5 transmission problems are relatively common. Many owners have reported issues with the gearbox, including difficulty shifting gears, grinding noises, and even complete failure. While the problem seems to be more common in early models of the T5, it can occur in any vehicle.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common VW T5 transmission problems and what you can do to fix them.

What are the most common VW T5 transmission problems?

vw t5 transmission problems
Photo by: Wikipedia Commons

The VW T5 is a reliable vehicle, but it can develop transmission problems over time like any van.

Transmission fluid leaks

The most common issue is transmission fluid leaks. These can be caused by various factors, including worn seals, gaskets, or a damaged pan.

If left unchecked, transmission fluid leaks can lead to severe damage, including transmission failure.

Slipping gears

Another common problem is slipping gears. Slipping gears can be caused by various factors, including low fluid levels, damaged clutch discs, or worn gears.

Slipping gears can cause the engine to rev up without the vehicle moving, or it can cause the vehicle to lurch forward when shifting into drive. If left unchecked, this issue can also lead to transmission failure.

Difficulty shifting gears

Another common issue is difficulty shifting gears, especially from first to second gear. This can be caused by several factors, including low fluid levels, damaged clutch discs, or worn gears.

If you’re having difficulty shifting gears, it’s important to have the problem checked out as soon as possible. Continuing to drive with a damaged transmission can cause even more extensive damage and may ultimately result in the need for a complete transmission replacement.

The warning light is on

If the transmission warning light is on, it’s important to have the vehicle checked out as soon as possible. The warning light can indicate various transmission problems, including low fluid levels, leaks, or issues with the gears.

Unusual sounds or smells

If you notice any unusual sounds or smells coming from the transmission, it’s also important to have it checked out. Unusual sounds indicate that the gears are not meshing correctly, while strange smells could signify burning transmission fluid.

What can be done to fix VW T5 transmission problems?

transporter t5 transmission
Photo by: Pixabay

Like any other vehicle, preventive maintenance is always the key to a lasting lifespan for your VW T5 Transporter. However, even with the best care, your van will eventually experience some problems. 

While transmission problems can be frustrating, you can try a few things to fix them.

Change the fluid and filter

Sometimes, the problem can be traced to a faulty filter or low fluid levels. You can often resolve the problem quickly and easily by replacing the filter or topping up the fluid.

Parts need to be replaced

In more severe cases, parts of the transmission may need to be replaced. This could include anything from the clutch discs to the gears themselves.

Seals and gaskets may also need to be replaced if they are damaged or worn.

Full transmission replacement

In extreme cases, the entire transmission may need to be replaced. Replacing the transmission is usually only necessary if the transmission is severely damaged or has failed completely.

Replacing the transmission is a more extensive and expensive repair, but it may be necessary to get your vehicle back on the road.

How much will it cost to get the repairs done?

transmission replacement cost
Photo by: Pixabay

When it comes to VW T5 transmission problems, the cost of repairs can vary depending on the extent of the damage and the type of repair needed.

Sometimes, a simple flush and fill of the transmission fluid may be all that is needed. However, more severe problems may require a complete transmission rebuild. This type of repair can range from $3,000 to $4,000.

Therefore, it is important to consult with a qualified mechanic to diagnose the problem and determine the best course of action.


Is it cheaper to rebuild or replace a transmission?

Rebuilding a transmission involves disassembling the existing transmission, cleaning and inspecting all parts, and then reassembling it with any new or replacement parts. Replacing a transmission, on the other hand, involves installing a new or rebuilt transmission in the vehicle.

In terms of cost, rebuilding a transmission is typically cheaper, as it can be done for around $2000. However, if the transmission is severely damaged, it may be more cost-effective to replace it with a new or rebuilt one, which can cost around $4000.

Are VW Transporter DSG gearboxes reliable?

The short answer is yes, VW Transporter DSG gearboxes are reliable. The Transporter’s gearbox is generally considered to be robust and reliable. Many owners report that their Transporters have clocked up hundreds of thousands of miles without significant issues.

Of course, no vehicle is infallible, and there have been reports of gearbox problems with the Transporter. But these seem to be relatively rare and – when they do occur – are usually resolved quickly and easily.

How many miles is a VW T5 transmission good for?

The average VW T5 transmission will last for 100,000 – 200,000 miles. However, some drivers have reported getting up to 500,000 miles out of their transmission before needing a replacement.

Ultimately, the lifespan of a VW T5 transmission will vary depending on the driving habits of the owner and the overall care and maintenance of the vehicle.


If you’re experiencing VW T5 transmission problems, don’t despair – several things can be done to fix them. In most cases, the problem can be resolved relatively easily and without too much expense. However, a complete transmission replacement may be necessary in more severe cases.

Consult with a qualified mechanic if you’re unsure about what’s causing the problem or how to fix it. They can diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action.