A turbocharger, or turbo, forces air into a car's combustion chamber to make the vehicle more powerful. Installing this car part improves speed and performance, but a faulty turbo can lead to expensive repairs. There are a number of warning signs that indicate that it is time to replace or repair a turbocharger, which can help car owners to avoid the time and expense of severe damage to the vehicle.
Warning signs of turbo failure
There are a variety of symptoms that are commonly associated with turbocharger failure in cars. Carefully analysing the performance of the vehicle while driving helps car owners to spot irregularities and diagnose turbo issues.
One of the most significant symptoms of a failing turbo is lack of overall power. The car may not accelerate quickly or produce the usual amount of power while on the road. When drivers are operating a car with a failing turbo, they may notice that it is slow to respond and does not reach its optimum speeds as rapidly as before.
Irregular or excessive exhaust
An excessive amount of exhaust fumes or grey smoke expelled from the exhaust pipe may be a sign that it is time for a new turbocharger. A crack in the turbo housing can cause oil to leak into the exhaust system, which produces irregular gases.
Check engine light
In many instances, the engine sensor detects a failing turbocharger, triggering the check engine light on the dashboard. An illuminated check engine light may be an indication that further inspection is necessary to determine whether a repair or replacement to the turbo is the right course of action.
Lack of boost
Many turbochargers have a boost gauge, which displays the amount of boost that the turbo is producing. Car owners can look at the boost gauge to determine if the turbo is creating the right amount of boost and if it is rising much slower than usual, a replacement turbocharger may be necessary.
Loud shrieking noise
If a turbo is failing, it may produce a noise when the boost is running. The noise comes directly from the engine and sounds like a loud siren or shriek, which tends to get louder as the problem worsens. Any unusual noise under the car's bonnet is worth investigating, especially if the noise accompanies any additional turbo failure symptoms.
Common causes of turbo failure
A number of factors can be the root cause of a failing turbo and a thorough examination and diagnostics are often necessary. There are a few common issues that may contribute turbocharger damage and eventual failure.
Build-up of debris
Small particles or objects, such as rocks or dirt, can enter the turbocharger through the turbine or compressor inlet, especially if the air filter fails to catch debris while the car is in motion. If this occurs, the build-up of debris can cause compressor wheel abrasion or damage the turbine blades, diminishing the performance of the turbo.
Cracks or faulty seals
Cracks or faulty seals between the engine and the compressor mean that the turbocharger has to put much more effort into building pressure and forcing air into the engine. As a result, the turbo cannot provide its usual level of boost, which hinders its ability to boost the car's speed and performance.
While clean oil offers the turbo a fresh supply of lubrication, oil that contains an abundance of contaminants can lead to turbo damage. Failing to change the oil or the oil filter regularly can cause the build-up of carbon deposits, which prevents the turbocharger from working correctly.
Normal wear and tear
Even with proper maintenance and care, a turbocharger endures wear and tear over time. The lifespan of a turbo greatly depends on the driving habits of the car's owner, the quality of the turbo part, and the make and model of the vehicle. The typical turbocharger has a lifespan of about 120,000 kilometres. However, car owners can check the manufacturer's information to verify how long their turbo may last before it becomes faulty.
How to buy turbos and replacement parts on eBay
Sellers on eBay offer a wide selection of turbos and replacement car parts that allow you to repair or replace your turbocharger at home. You can even find tools and manuals, as well as accessories to make your turbo more powerful, such as a turbo boost controller to increase the life and efficiency of your turbocharger. Look for local sellers to reduce delivery costs and times, or search for a turbocharger kit to get everything you need in one transaction.