Posted on: 22 August 2018Share
An increasing number of cars on the road today are fitted with a turbocharger. At one time this was considered to be a luxury or something that you would only find on a high-performance vehicle, but not any more. A manufacturer will fit this device to provide cost-effective power for a relatively small engine in keeping with industry trends. As these components are so prevalent you should understand how to look after them, as they can make a big difference in terms of performance and reliability. What should you be on the lookout for?
If it's been some time since you took your vehicle in for a comprehensive car service, then you may not have noticed a gradual power loss. Over time, the efficiency of the turbo will be affected, and the vehicle won't accelerate as it used to. You may notice the odd whiff of white smoke from the exhaust and put this down to overburn, but it could well be an issue with your turbocharger housing or oil seals.
The turbocharger works in a very harsh environment and has to be carefully maintained if it is to perform. It requires a constant supply of clean oil to lubricate the internal parts, some of which have to turn at incredible speeds. If you haven't changed the oil and filter on your vehicle for some time or are using a substandard lubricant, then carbon deposits and contaminants can build up and damage the inside of the turbo. For a vehicle like this, you may be better off using a fully synthetic oil product instead.
Patience Is a Virtue
Are you someone who is always in a hurry and can't wait to get on the road? If so, you may jump into the car, crank the ignition and drive off at speed. If you do so, the oil pressure levels will be low while the lubricant itself will be too thick and this will, in turn, cause friction damage inside the turbocharger.
The job of the turbo is to increase the air pressure provided to the engine and it relies on an intake system to do so. Sometimes, foreign objects can enter through the compressor or turbine inlets and these can also cause internal damage. From time to time, the intake pipes and air filter should be checked and cleaned out as appropriate to avoid any developing problem.
If you don't have one fitted to your car, consider introducing a turbo boost gauge. This will tell you if the boost pressure is adequate and can give you an early warning of any problems.
The turbocharger is now a crucial component in the average Australian car and you should fully understand its importance. Take your vehicle in for a full service, to bring your turbo back up to speed.