Why do Turbochargers get dirty?
Turbochargers are used to increase engine efficiency and performance. Using exhaust gases to spin a centrifugal compressor the turbocharger compresses and forces more air into the engines combustion chambers than would be achieved in a Naturally Aspirated engine i.e. at atmospheric pressure. This is known as force induction. Additional air along with proportionally more fuel creates for a bigger combustion, hence more efficiency and power.
Unspent fuel and poor fuel atomisation leads to clogging of the exhaust, especially the DPF or Catalytic Converter. This leads to negative pressure on the turbocharger causing loss of performance and power. As this problem manifests it can lead to noisy and unbalanced turbochargers which will shorten their lifespan as well as white exhaust smoke and a high oil consumption.
Extend the Turbocharger lifespan
Just like all moving engine components the turbocharger is lubricated by oil so first and foremost it’s critical that the manufactures recommended oil changes, using the correct oil grade, are adhered too.
It’s important to understand oil only works well as a lubricant when it’s up to operational temperature (usually between 190 and 200 Fahrenheit) so warm the engine up before hard acceleration will reduce wear and tear.
Don’t turn the engine off immediately after it’s been driven hard. Doing so will over a period of time cook the oil, this thickens it into a ‘sludge’ which would then clog all the oil channels leading to excessive wear on the turbo bearings. We recommend leaving the engine to run idle for a minute or two at the end of each journey.
It sounds obvious but use correct gear selection to reduce the workload placed on the turbo.
Cleaning your Turbocharger
The costliest option is a set of complete replacement parts. Most mechanics will recommend this – Why? It’s generally their only solution. The price of a turbocharger will vary dependant on brand and type but on average expect to be quoted anywhere between £500 and £1,500.
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