Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop

Compression test in Kent / South East



VIP Member
T5 SE 180
Hi there,

I'm hoping someone may be able to help.

We have been looking for somewhere relatively local (in the Kent area) to carry out a compression test on our 2012 VW California. It's the 180 Bi-turbo. So far there are no signs of any issues - but we wanted to get it checked as a precaution - before deciding whether to swap the EGR cooler.

We live in Thanet not far from Margate - so at the furthest point really to get anywhere.

We have tried a couple of local "named" Volkswagen garages / not official VW. Both of them as soon as you mention the 180 Bi turbo, either say they don't have the necessary tools (basically don't want the hassle of trying on the biturbo) or are waiting for the required VW valve extensions to reach the glow plugs (apparently have been on back order for sometime). Seems slightly hard to believe.

Out of desperation we contacted the official VW Commercial service location at Canterbury. The senior service engineer seemed to either be unaware of or was very careful not to acknowledge any awareness of any EGR related issues. He basically suggested if the vehicle has had regular servicing at expected intervals there is nothing to worry about. When pushed he said yes they would do a compression test. I asked for a price estimate and was quoted 5 and a half hours labour to do it - at a price of £100 an hour. £550 for a compression test!!!! I had been expecting something at around £150 or less. He tried to justify the price by saying there can be issues accessing the glow plugs and its not easy to get to.

A local mechanic we have used on other vehicles offered to do it - but once he started and realised how deep in the engine bay the glow plugs are had to stop as his testing kit would have been difficult / impossible to reach to detach.

I've read some people have even purchased their own extension kit to enable a compression test to be done on the bi turbo. Will have to dig out the link.

So far we have found out of the various garages specialising in VW in the area, one is so busy they can't even get back to you with a price estimate for an EGR replacement. Another garage seems to have better availability but won't carry out work with non VW parts. I'm not sure if we would really want to replace the EGR with a VW model D EGR / cooler variety - especially without knowing if the compression test is good.

Can anyone recommend anywhere in the Kent area that could be worth trying?

I'm not a mechanic - so please forgive me if any of the terminology sounds a bit off!
Interesting issue and sounds frustrating, sorry.

There’s an independent Transporter specialist at Crowborough that I’ve used. They’re well recommended on this forum and might be worth speaking to

Best of luck