Can Turbo Failure Cause Engine Damage

Can Turbo Failure Cause Engine Damage?

If you’re a car owner, then you’re undoubtedly aware of how a turbocharger improves the performance of your engine. But owning a car comes with its own set of issues. When your vehicle begins to cough and smoke, a genuine question to wonder about is, “Can turbo failure cause engine damage?”

Whether you own a turbocharged engine or are thinking about purchasing one, it’s critical to understand the risks of turbocharger failure and how to avoid them. Keep reading this blog post to find the answer to the question, “Can Turbo Failure Cause Engine Damage?”

How Do Turbo Chargers Work?

A turbocharger compresses air and forces it into the engine to improve power production. It is made up of a turbine and a compressor. The engine’s exhaust gases power the turbine.  At the same time, the compressor compresses the air entering the engine, allowing more fuel to be used efficiently and providing more power and torque.

Turbo Failure Symptoms

Certain symptoms can tell you whether your turbo has failed and is causing engine damage. 

  • The car loses power and does not accelerate as quickly, reacts slowly, or fails to maintain high speeds.
  • Your turbo emits a loud, whining noise that sounds like a dentist’s drill or a police siren.
  • Your engine expels unique blue/grey smoke produced by an oil leak in the exhaust system.
  • The check engine light on the dashboard alerts the driver of turbo issues.

If you witness any of the above symptoms that indicate a turbo failure, you must get your vehicle inspected to remedy any problems.

Turbo Failure Causes

Turbo Failure Causes

There can be numerous causes behind turbo failure, including the following:

  • Turbochargers can be damaged due to a variety of circumstances, including foreign items in the intake or oil loss.
  • Oil shortage is the most prevalent reason for turbo failure, which can cause friction, excessive strain, and premature wear and tear.
  • Proper oil levels are necessary for the turbo to perform properly and to avoid damage to the impeller and other critical components.
  • It is recommended that you check your car’s oil levels frequently, especially if you suspect problems with the turbo.

How to Test If Your Turbo Is Working

If you own a turbocharged vehicle, you may have a boost gauge that displays the amount of turbo boost. To check the pressure of the turbo, you can alternatively install a boost gauge or a vacuum/pressure gauge. If the gauge isn’t reading as high as it used to, it could mean your turbocharger isn’t working properly.

Can You Drive a Car With Turbo Failure?

Turbo charger

If your turbo has failed, you might ask yourself, “Can turbo failure cause engine damage?” Or “Can I drive your car with a failed turbo?” The straightforward response to your question is yes; you can operate your vehicle even with a malfunctioning turbo.

Driving your car with a blown turbo might cause additional engine damage and a higher repair expense. While driving a car with a damaged turbo is possible, it’s best to stop and have it towed to a garage for repair or replacement.

Ignoring the problem may result in severe engine damage, including the possibility of the turbo blade/impeller being pulled into the intercooler or catalytic converter.

Preventing Your Turbo from Failure

Follow these seven tips to avoid turbocharger failure:

  • Use the recommended engine oil and change it on schedule.
  • Let the engine idle briefly before turning it off.
  • Allow the engine to warm up before putting it through its paces.
  • Do not overwork the engine or exceed the manufacturer’s suggested boost levels.
  • Inspect the intake system for leaks and repair them as soon as possible.
  • Regularly check and clean or replace the air filter.
  • Maintain your vehicle regularly and according to the manufacturer’s maintenance plan.

What to Do When Your Turbo is Damaged?

Once you have confirmed without a doubt that your turbocharger is blown or damaged, you have two options. 

The first option is to take your vehicle to a service center and replace the broken turbocharger with a brand-new one. It may be a more expensive option, but you can be confident that the part is brand-new and potentially comes with a warranty.

For those looking to save money, the second alternative is available. You can repair or recondition the turbocharger and reinstall it in your car. However, this option is only recommended for individuals with minor damage to their turbos. It is advised that you replace the turbocharger if it is significantly damaged.


Turbo failure can cause engine damage to a severe extent. The longer you drive with a failed turbo, the more damage it causes to your engine. So, if you see any symptoms mentioned above in your turbo, simply take your car to an experienced mechanic for repair.

If your turbo is beyond repair, buy a new one from Diesel Components Inc. We have a range of engine kits, turbochargers, and other parts to help you repair your diesel components. Contact us now by simply calling at (800) 252-6625 or (952) 890-2885.