How to take care of a turbocharger

take care of a turbocharger

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A turbocharger has now become standard for diesel and petrol engines, although most vehicle owners do not know what the functions of the turbo in their car and what should be considered when driving. Here you will find the most important information on the topic of turbochargers, so that you know exactly how to take care of a turbocharger, what functions it performs, how you can best care for it and how you should drive a turbo to protect it.

What do you have a turbocharger for?

A turbocharger, also known as an exhaust gas turbocharger (ATL) or turbo, is used to increase the performance of an internal combustion engine. An engine derives its power from the combustion of the fuel-air mixture. Therefore, the performance of the engine is increased when it receives more of the mixture. In order to increase the displacement, the cylinders are often enlarged or an additional cylinder is added. The same condition can also be achieved by injecting more air into the existing cylinders. This is exactly what the turbocharger is responsible for.

How does a turbo work?

An engine without a turbocharger only sucks in fresh air and feeds it to the combustion process. An engine with a turbocharger also uses the exhaust air. In this way, significantly more air gets into the cylinders than would be possible without charging. This ensures higher engine output with lower consumption and also better emission values.

A turbocharger usually consists of an exhaust gas turbine and a turbocompressor, which are mounted on a common shaft. The gas flows from the outside to the inside of the turbine and from the inside to the outside of the compressor. First, the exhaust air is accelerated by the turbine and fed into the compressor. The air is then compressed in the compressor.

This compressed air is then passed through an intercooler to cool it sufficiently. This is particularly important in order to reduce emissions and increase engine performance. The air is then directed into the cylinders and drives the pistons there with the injected fuel.

What is a twin turbo?

Many turbocharged engines now have two turbochargers instead of one large turbocharger. The turbochargers are somewhat smaller and share the exhaust gas flow from the cylinders. In the case of a six-cylinder, for example, each turbocharger uses the exhaust gases from three cylinders.

A great advantage of two turbochargers is that they have less inertia. This means that a large turbocharger requires more energy and therefore higher engine speeds to build up a usable boost pressure. This is not the case with two turbochargers, which means that they can deliver sufficiently compressed air even at lower speeds. In addition, these can also provide sufficient performance even at particularly high speeds.

What is turbo lag?

A turbo lag is the lack of power that a turbocharger has until a certain speed is reached. This doesn’t happen too often these days, which is why the term primarily refers to turbochargers from the 90s.

How long does a turbocharger last?

As a rule, turbochargers should reach the life of the engine and should not be replaced beforehand if you take care of a turbocharger. However, the life of the turbocharger depends on many different factors, so it may still be necessary to change the turbo in individual cases.

How to take care of a turbocharger

From the quality workshops in our network, we know that most damage to the turbocharger is caused by things that could be avoided by regular maintenance and checks. It is therefore advisable to adhere to the oil change intervals, to have the oil filter system serviced regularly, to check the oil pressure and to clean the air filter system. In this way you can ensure that your turbocharger remains functional for as long as possible and does not have to be repaired or replaced early.

What are the most common types of damage?

The most common damage to a turbocharger is the penetration of foreign bodies into the turbine or the compressor of the turbo. Dirt particles in the oil can also damage the turbocharger and cause some errors, so you should avoid this to take care of a turbocharger .

In addition, a lack of oil supply leads to damage to the engine and the turbocharger, which can lead to it no longer working and must be replaced completely. Excessive exhaust gas temperatures can damage your turbocharger. Mostly, elevated temperatures are triggered by faults in the ignition or injection system.

How do I drive a turbocharger?

A turbocharger is exposed to very high temperatures because it uses exhaust gas energy, which can reach up to 1,000 degrees in a normal gasoline engine. If the car is parked after a long full throttle drive, especially after a long motorway trip, heat build-up can build up in the engine compartment. This happens due to the sudden lack of headwind, which the turbocharger cannot adjust to. This can significantly shorten the life expectancy of the turbocharger and should therefore be avoided.

Therefore, strong temperature changes should always be avoided. If you have been driving on the motorway for a longer period of time, you should end up driving a little slower for part of the route and not leaving your car immediately after leaving the motorway. So the Turbo can adapt to the higher temperature.

At the same time, you should also take care to avoid a large temperature difference when starting your journey. It is therefore advisable to warm up the turbo and engine before you go full throttle.

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