If you notice any of the warning signs, then get your turbo checked as soon as possible. Your turbocharger isn’t going to repair itself, and the longer you leave it, the worse (and more expensive) the problem will get!
The warning signs
There are several ways that your vehicle will let you know that its turbo is in need of maintenance or repairs:
Check engine warning lights – On most modern cars, the computer diagnostics will pick up turbo faults and the check engine light will come on. Of course, the check engine light doesn’t just cover turbo failure, and you will need to do some further checks to see what kind of engine problem you have.
The boost gauge – Some turbocharged vehicles are fitted with a boost gauge, which lets you know how much boost your turbo is producing (you can also fit one to your car if desired). If your boost gauge isn’t going up as much as it used to, then there is a good chance your turbo is in need of repair.
Power loss – If you notice that your turbocharged vehicle is accelerating more slowly than usual, or isn’t capable of reaching the speeds it once could, this may be a sign that your turbo is failing.
A smoking exhaust – If the turbo housing has cracked, or the internal seals have blown, oil will start to leak into your exhaust system. As this burns off, it produces a distinctive blue/grey smoke, which will probably become more apparent as the engine revs increase just following an idle situation.
A loud whining noise – Often, a failing turbocharger will make a loud, distinctive noise when under boost – a bit like a dentist’s drill or police siren if compressor wheel damaged. If you start to hear this noise from your engine, it’s definitely time to have it checked out!
What to do next?
Essentially, you are looking for signs of oil, excessive movement, impact damage and contact between the compressor wheel and housing.
Before you start the process, we recommend checking the air filter, exhaust system, breather system and fuel system on your vehicle are all working properly, as these can cause similar symptoms to turbo failure.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to remove the air filter to gain access to the turbo. First, examine the exterior, checking for any signs of oil or loose connections.
Then, check the compressor wheel – it should be clean, without any dings, chips, or signs corrosive pitting. Look out for evidence of excessive movement, ensuring that the wheel can’t touch the housing, and check to see whether the turbocharger is able to rotate freely.
I you are feeling particularly ambitious; you can also check the exhaust side of the turbo. First, remove the exhaust pipe all the way to the turbo, so you can see the turbine wheel. This should look clean, with no carbon build up, scale or oil along the surface, and the blades should be free from cracks, wear and damage.
Finally, you can check the turbo housing at the exhaust end for any cracks or leaks, which will also affect performance.
Here at Best-Turbos we will help you, and do a FREE turbo inspection.
Just call us on: 0121 23 801 61