Why Do Turbochargers Fail Frequently

Know the Warning Signs of a Failing Turbo

Did you know that your car has a unique part called the turbocharger? This part makes your vehicle run faster when accelerating, especially on the highway. Sometimes, you can even hear a distinctive sound when the turbo transfers extra air into the engine.

But if your turbo is not working properly, your engine might not work, too, affecting your car’s speed. How can you tell if your turbo is having issues?

Things like debris, oil problems, rash driving, and regular wear and tear can cause a turbocharger to stop working. However, spotting the issue early can save you time and money and from the trouble in the long run.

Now, the question is, how can warning signs of a failing turbo be detected?

How Does a Turbo Charger Work?

The turbo makes your car go faster by pumping more air into the engine. It works like this— when your vehicle runs and makes exhaust fumes, the turbo uses those fumes to spin a pump. This pump gets extra power from the engine using the energy from the exhaust gases. It then sends more air into the engine, making your car powerful and faster.

Warning Signs of a Failing Turbo

1. Less power and speed

The turbo is meant to make your car go fast. If your vehicle takes more time to speed up and can’t move through traffic like it used to, the turbo might be a problem.

2. Emission of Excessive Smoke from the Exhaust

Seeing excessive smoke from your car’s exhaust, especially grayish-blue in color,  could indicate a failing turbo. Worn-out seals and cracks in the turbo can let the oil get into the exhaust, and when you drive fast and use the turbo, the smoke becomes more noticeable. If you spot this kind of smoke in your rearview mirror, the turbo might be causing it.

3. Check engine light

If this light on your dashboard comes on, it could mean different things, like sensor problems or a loose petrol cap. But sometimes, it might signal a serious issue with your turbo. To be on the safer side, have a mechanic check your car.

4. The boost gauge is not working

Some fancy cars have a boost gauge showing how much power the turbo makes. Like your acceleration, you’ll get used to its usual performance. If you notice a drop in the boost, it’s a sign that you should take your car to the service center for a checkup.

5. Burning oil

If oil leaks in the turbocharger, it’s a slow failure sign. Disconnect the downpipe in front of the turbo and check inside. Do you see oil? Any deposits mean you should get the turbo checked. Ignoring this problem could lead to the whole system failing.

6. Whining turbo

A failing turbo can make a loud, whining noise when boosting. It’s like a siren, and the noise gets louder as the problem worsens. If you notice this sound along with the other signs mentioned, it’s a sure warning sign there’s an issue with the turbo.

What Causes a Turbo Failure?

Understanding the red flags of a failing turbo: Diesel Components Inc

Turbo problems often happen because of the following common reasons—

  • Not enough oil and lubrication: The turbo needs clean oil to work well. If it doesn’t get enough of it, the turbochargers can get clogged with dirt and other debris, making it less effective or even stopping them from working over time.
  • Foreign objects: Big objects like rocks or broken parts from other cars can get into the turbo and damage its wheels and blades. Make sure to check and change your air filter regularly to prevent this.
  • Going too fast: If you constantly pressurize the engine, it can push too much gas through the turbo, causing leaks and cracks. This can make a turbo’s work more difficult, causing faster wearouts.
  • Getting old and worn out: Turbos don’t last forever. Therefore, your turbo might need to be replaced, especially after driving for around 100K to 150K miles.
  • Other issues: Because the turbo is constantly under pressure, it can be affected by things like high exhaust temperatures, moisture causing rust, and problems with the exhaust system, fuel intake, or wastegate.

How do I Know if My Turbo is Failing?

If your turbo is having trouble, you might notice symptoms like—

  • Your car feels less powerful in terms of speed.
  • It takes longer to go faster, and it’s noisier than usual.
  • Your vehicle needs help to stay fast on the highway.
  • Weird-colored smoke is coming out.
  • Your car’s engine dashboard light starts showing.

Can I Keep Driving if My Turbo is Broken?

Spotting symptoms of turbocharger failure: Tips from Diesel Components Inc

If you suspect your turbo is broken, stop your car and check right away. If you see a lot of smoke coming out, it’s a clear sign of a failed turbo. But if you need more clarification, contact a professional immediately.

Surprisingly, you can drive without the turbo, but calling for help is a much better idea. However, if you still drive with a broken turbo, disconnect the linkage from the wastegate activator first. Then, use a wire to keep it open while driving to the nearest mechanic.

Be gentle on the gas because the wastegate can’t handle full exhaust pressure. If you drive with a blown turbo, keep an eye on your oil level, and don’t go more than 100 miles.

Are You Already Experiencing Warning Signs of a Failing Turbo? Contact Diesel Components Inc. Today!

Recognizing warning signs of turbo troubles: Diesel Components Inc

If your car shows signs of a failing turbo, it’s crucial to get it checked by the experts at Diesel Components Inc. immediately.

We’re a family-owned business in Burnsville, MN, and we’re authorized to fix turbochargers from brands like AireSearch, Garrett Turbo, Schwitzer, and more. Our team is well-known for being experts in diagnosing turbo problems for heavy-duty vehicles in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.Come to Diesel Components Inc. today for the top Turbocharger Repair Services in Burnsville, MN!