Why does Car Turbocharger Fail

September 20, 2022
Posted by: Ramee M

The function of car turbochargers is to increase the engine output through the engine exhaust. Various manufacturers offer models with turbochargers. Turbochargers are not cheap and you can always access the third party brands for aftermarket turbochargers. Keep track of the Qatar modification laws and take permission from the relevant authorities, as turbochargers may be considered as engine modification.

The turbochargers are designed for durability as they operate in a high temperature and pressure environment. Under such conditions, problems with the cooling system or lubrication can result in car turbocharger failure.


Turbochargers are known for reliability, however insufficient lubrication and the user’s way of driving are usually among the prime causes for failure. Let’s explore what causes failure in a car turbocharger.


Lubrication protects the car from wear and corrosion as well as keeps the parts cool in a high-temperature environment. Just like an engine, a turbocharger requires a constant flow of clean oil. If the engine oil is not changed at the appointed time, contaminants from the old oil do not only cause abrasive damage to the turbocharger but negatively affect the overall engine life as well.


Cracked or damaged seals between the engine and compressor can cause oil to leak into the exhaust system. Hence, the turbocharger has to work harder to maintain and increase the air pressure. This will ultimately result in a loss of speed and efficiency in a turbo engine.


The compressor and turbine wheel are the two main components of a turbocharger. When on the road, contaminants like dust, debris, small stones and even leaves can make their way inside the turbocharger through the compressor and turbine inlet.

If the air filter is not serviced, such contaminants can sometimes enter the compressor housing, resulting in damage to compressor wheels and turbine blades. Additionally, clogged air filters can also damage other engine components and reduce their efficiency. Hence, periodic replacement and service of air filters is advised.


Engine idling is another cause og turbocharger failure. When stopping a car from a high-speed drive, the turbocharger needs to cool down before you turn off the engine. If the engine is turned off without a proper idling period, the circulation of oil stops and forms a burnt layer on the turbocharger.

The problem is caused by the user’s way of driving and can be mitigated by either driving slowly near the destination or giving idle time for the oil to cool down.


Car turbochargers can last a long time ranging from 250,000 km to over 300,000 km. Failure normally occurs due to overtime wear depending on the user’s driving habit, lack of lubrication and quality of the turbocharger itself.


A blown car turbocharger will have the following tell-tale signs that may require a professional inspection.


Loss of power can be due to various reasons and one of the causes can be a failing turbocharger. If you feel vehicle acceleration is reduced or is slow to react, the turbocharger may be the culprit. Additionally, the vehicle will also experience problems in maintaining high speed.


The turbocharger does muffle the exhaust sound as it disrupts the exhaust gases and adds its own whistling sound. If you start to hear a high loud whining noise from the engine, your turbocharger might be failing and may require an inspection for diagnosis.


Damage and cracks in turbocharger housing can result in oil leaks. The leakage can result in grey exhaust smoke as it burns off.


Although engine check lights can turn on due to numerous reasons. A diagnostic scan and professional inspection is essential to find the root cause as a failing turbocharger might be one of the problems.

Even though turbochargers are designed to last a long time, just like other engine components, proper maintenance practice and driving habits can reduce the chances of failure. In fact, a regular oil change can increase the life of the engine as well.

If your car’s turbocharger is blown, you can either attempt to get it repaired or find a replacement. Check out auto accessories & parts for sale in the Qatar to regularly find good deals on turbochargers and other auto accessories. If repairing alone does not improve your car performance, how about buying a used car for a better road experience.

Stay tuned to the Qatar’s leading auto blog for more information on car parts, market trends and automotive technology.

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