What is a turbocharger?

Inside a combustion engine, air and fuel are mixed together and ignited. This gives your car the necessary power to work. A turbocharger (or turbo) is a device that increases your engine’s power by forcing extra air into the engine combustion chamber. This extra air is mixed with fuel to give your engine more power.

Turbochargers are formed from two main parts – the turbine and compressor.  Exhaust gases force the turbine to spin at very high speeds, causing the compressor to spin as well. This results in more air being forced into the engine cylinders.

Learn more about how turbocharges work >


What causes turbocharger problems?

Like all moving parts, the turbocharger is prone to damage over time. Below is a list of common causes for turbocharger damage:

Lack of oil – The turbocharger requires a constant flow of clean oil to stay lubricated. This helps to prevent the wearing of parts, which can create damaging carbon deposits.

Cracks or poor seals – Any cracks or seal damage can cause the turbocharger to lose effectiveness. This is because some of the air may not make it to the engine. 

Turbo Charger Bearing Damage – worn turbo turbine / compressor bearings can allow the main turbo charger shaft that is connected to the compressor and turbine to move sideways or up and down. This means that it is therefore possible for the turbo charger compressor wheel or turbo charger turbine wheel to scrap on the tubro charger housing, causing major damage,

Turbo Charger Waste gate stuck – The turbocharger waste gate has a valve that redirects exhaust gas around the turbocharger when a pre-determined exhaust gas pressure has been reached.  The turbocharger spins faster as the more air is forced through it by a faster revving engine, which produces more engine power. At a set threshold the turbocharger waste gate opens to avoid the turbo spinning any faster (which could destroy itself) which also avoids excess air pressure on the intake manifold.

Common problems for the turbo charger waste gate include it seizing or being stuck in one position. Often turbocharger waste gate can be either stuck wide open or fully shut.

If the turbo charger waste gate is seized open, then there is less air forced into the engine, meaning less turbo boost and less engine power / performance. If the turbo charger waste gate  is seized shut, it could allow too much turbo boost (positive air pressure) that it could spin the turbo too fast, and destroy the turbo charger and the engine.

Faulty Turbocharger Boost Sensor – turbo charger systems needs to know how much positive air pressure / boost is going into the intake manifold and engine combustion chambers. The turbocharger boost sensor looks like a Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor, and performs a similar function, except it measure positive air pressure instead of vacuum.

Symptoms of turbocharger damage:

Loss of power – If you notice that your vehicle is struggling to accelerate as quickly as usual, there may be a problem with your turbocharger. This loss of power can be caused by a lesser amount pf air reaching your engines cylinders.  As mentioned above always get your If the turbo charger waste gate check if your turbocharged engine lacks horse power. 

Smoky exhaust – If the turbo seals have blown or are leaking, oil can leak into your exhaust system. As the oil burns, you will notice blue/grey smoke coming from your exhaust.

Whining noise – A failing/damaged turbocharger may produce a whining noise when the boost is applied. This is often the sound of air leaking out, or mechanical bearing damage allowing parts to physically contact inside the turbo charger at high speed. 

Check engine light on – The check engine light is your car’s way of telling you there is something wrong with the engine. If an incorrect amount of air is entering the engine or the turbo charger boost sensor is faulty, the Check Engine Light (CEL) will turn on. At Grimmer Motors, we can diagnose check engine lights

Reduced fuel economy  – A damaged turbocharger will cause your vehicle to use more fuel. This is due to the inconsistent amount of air entering the engine cylinders and resulting incomplete combustion of the air fuel mixture and possible misfires. 

Increased exhaust emissions – any oil leaks passed turbo oil seals, incomplete engine combustion or engines misfires will result in increased engine exhaust emissions.


Turbocharger installation/replacement in Hamilton

At Grimmer Motors, we can inspect and replace your vehicle’s turbo system. This will allow for improved engine operation and fuel economy. Our team of mechanics are experts in diagnosing and servicing engine components including turbo chargers, waste gates and boost sensors. This means that your vehicle will be in good hands.

For fast, accurate, reliable turbocharger replacement in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today!


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