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  • Writer's pictureWill

Maintenance on the road

The one inescapable fact regarding our vintage VW busses is that they are old and come from a different era of both driving and, as we will see, maintenance.

While all vans are rented after a thorough check they do require a daily check before setting off each day, especially if longer distances are envisaged.

Basically these checks are straightforward and take only a minute or two.


While you are unlikely to need to set the tyre pressure (we do this before you pickup) you need to just look over each tyre before setting off each day, look for cuts or damage to the side of the tyre and if a tyre is visibly soft it will require to be checked before going on.

If you are parked and a tyre is slowly deflating, but still has sufficient air in it, try to move the bus to a level hardstanding, this will make changing the tyre that much simpler.

Punctures do happen and it is important that you do not drive on a deflated tyre, doing this will damage the tyre and possibly the rim, if you are on the road and feel, or hear, something from the wheels, pull over at the first safe opportunity and check the wheels. You have a jack and a spare tyre either under the sink or in the back of the bus, if you do not feel confident to do this on your own please call the ACP and they will do it for you.

Cooling and oil in your vintage VW.

Oil and air are how the VW keeps its engine cool.


Before setting off look under the engine for signs of oil leakage, a couple of drops is fine, a pool of oil is not. While we check oil levels before you leave if you are driving long distances it is vital that the oil levels are checked and if necessary topped up. Do this with a cold engine on a flat area and check that the oil level is between the two marks on the dipstick.

If you are already on the road and want to check the levels make sure that you wait at least 5 minutes after the engine has stopped running before checking.

VW oil level
Oil levels on the VW engine at rest, this is borderline too full

VW oil filler cap
Oil filler cap, use the supplied funnel to avoid getting oil on the engine

If the level is below or on the bottom line after at least 5 minutes we will need to top up, there is oil in the toolkit please use this but do it very slowly and check the level frequently. DO NOT OVERFILL. If too much oil is in the system it is liable to overheat and blow out oil seals, if you suspect you may have overfilled the engine please call us, we will arrange a mechanic to draw off some of the excess oil.

If you see signs of oil leakage while on the road it is vital these are investigated, please call us and we will arrange to check the engine.


The engine is cooled by a large fan that blows air over the engine, this fan is driven by a fan belt that also drives the alternator, it is a vital part of the engine cooling and the engine will quickly seize if the fan belt is broken. If you are driving and the alternator warning light comes on it is vital that you pull over immediately it is safe to do so and turn the engine off. A broken fan belt can be fixed by ACP or a local garage.

Before setting off each morning check the condition and tension of the belt, it should be in good condition with no sign of wear, if the belt is fraying or loose please call us we will advise what to do, a squealing noise from the engine may indicate a loose belt and should be investigated as soon as it is safe to do so.

VW engine T1
Image of a good fan belt, the fan is inside the black housing

While the air cooled VW engines are very reliable the design is now almost 70 years old so a little care and maintenance goes a long way and helps to ensure a happy and incident free holiday.

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