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Guide To Replacing Your Turbocharger

Guide To Replacing Your Turbocharger

Have you been thinking about swapping out your inefficient stock turbo for one that's bigger, better, and more powerful?

The stock turbos that come pre-installed on cars and trucks tend to do the bare minimum—they provide increased horsepower and fuel economy, but not as much as most people expect from a turbocharged engine.

This is because stock turbos are rarely the best size or model for your vehicle. It would be expensive for the manufacturer and customer alike if the best-of-the best was installed on every single vehicle, so compromises are made here and there. This means that most vehicles have room for improvement in the turbocharger department, and that's where replacing your turbo comes in.

If you're interested in boosting your engine's horsepower, fuel economy, drivability, and more, here's our guide to replacing your turbocharger with something that's better suited to your vehicle.

Signs You Need a Replacement

Maybe the only reason you want to replace your turbo is that you think your current one is inefficient. Or maybe you're considering replacing your turbocharger because the one you have now is causing much more trouble than it's worth. Perhaps it's getting up there in age or is the source of slow acceleration, unusual noises coming from the hood, and other concerning issues your car or truck is experiencing.

If you need a reason to justify swapping out your turbo, here are some signs you could use a replacement.

You Want More Power

Are you unsatisfied with the performance of your existing turbo? That's a good enough reason to replace it. There's nothing worse than having a vehicle that doesn't perform as well as you want it to. This is especially true because vehicles that don't perform up-to-standard can be more costly than even the costliest modifications (because they consume more fuel) and more frustrating (because low horsepower translates into a slower and less comfortable drive).

Your Current Turbo Is Old

Turbos are designed to last around 150,000 miles. This is the lifespan of the average gas-powered engine. But if you have a diesel engine or a well-maintained gas engine, which last longer than that average, there's a good chance the original turbo will become too doddery to function at some point.

If you have 150,000 miles or more on your vehicle and have recently experienced a noticeable decrease in engine performance, it might be time for you to retire your old and worn turbo.

You Recently Made Other Mods

Have you recently made some other mods to your vehicle? If you have a stock turbo, it will be forced to work harder in order to keep up with the increased performance, fueling levels, and horsepower provided by these mods.

When turbos reach their limit, they lose power, efficiency, and resilience and create excess heat that can lead to engine damage. So, if you're replacing the rest of your engine, it's in your best interest to replace the turbocharger as well.

You've Been Having Turbo Problems

Has your turbo been causing you problem after problem? Some turbo issues are simple to fix, but ones that are recurring or severe may necessitate replacement. If you're experiencing any of the following issues, you may want to replace your turbo with something less finicky:

  • Slow acceleration
  • Lit CEL
  • Scraping, whining, or rattling noises
  • Blue-black smoke coming from the exhaust

These four problems are the most commonly cited symptoms of a failing turbo.

Benefits of Replacing Your Turbo

There are numerous benefits of replacing your turbo. Some of these advantages include:

Improved Performance and Drivability

Wish you could improve the performance and drivability of your vehicle? You can, if you install a high-quality replacement turbo. Turbos improve performance and horsepower, making your vehicle faster, making it easier to accelerate out of a dead stop, and just generally improving your overall driving experience.

Easier Towing

Do you tow heavy loads on the regular? A performance turbo can provide extra pulling power that will make towing a breeze.

Faster and More Responsive

If you enjoy taking your turbocharged vehicle to the racetrack whenever you have free time, a new turbocharger can make your aspiring race car faster and more responsive.

How To Choose the Best Replacement Turbocharger

So, you're thinking about replacing your turbo. But before you replace your current one, you need to find a replacement turbo. There are many factors to consider when choosing a replacement turbo. Luckily, this guide to replacing your turbocharger is here to run you through the basics. Here are some things you'll need to decide and do.

OEM or Aftermarket?

The first thing you'll need to determine is whether you want an OEM turbo or aftermarket turbo. OEM turbos are made by or supplied by the same company that produced your vehicle. Aftermarket turbos, on the other hand, are turbos produced or supplied by a company that isn't the manufacturer of your vehicle.

So, what's the difference? Reliability and costs are two things that you should consider when choosing between an OEM part and an aftermarket part. You can rely on OEM parts to be high-quality, but keep in mind that these parts tend to be on the expensive side. Aftermarket parts are usually cheaper, and when made by the right company, can be even more reliable and efficient than OEMs. But be careful when you're shopping—there are some aftermarket parts manufacturers that are legit and others that are shady. Make sure to visit the company's website and parse through reviews before making a purchase.

New, Used, or Refurbished?

You have a lot of options when it comes to the newness of your replacement turbo. You can get a brand-new turbo, but those tend to be costly. Alternatively, you can get a used turbo. This is a significantly cheaper option, but keep in mind that most used turbos will have lower efficiency, durability, and longevity than something brand-new.

Another fantastic option is a refurbished turbo. Refurbished turbos are less expensive than new turbos but come with virtually all the same benefits. This is because the internal parts of a refurbished turbo are completely brand-new. The only difference between new and refurbished turbos is that the exterior and housing components of a refurbished turbo have been expertly ground down, refinished, and reused instead of replaced with something fresh from the factory.

What Kind?

There's more than one type of turbocharger. You can choose between single turbos, twin turbos, twin scroll turbos, variable geometry turbos, variable twin scroll turbos, and even electric turbos. Each kind of turbo comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Sizing Your Turbo

You'll also need to make sure you're matching the turbo to your engine. There are a lot of metrics, calculations, and other confusing variables involved in sizing a turbo, but luckily, Turbo Turbo has a handy turbo sizing guide designed to help you navigate the process.

Planning to replace your turbo with one that's new (or like-new)? Turbo Turbo has new, used, rebuilt, and refurbished turbos for sale. No matter what you're looking for, we have exactly the kind of high-quality and powerful turbochargers you and your vehicle need. Come and shop with us today!

Guide To Replacing Your Turbocharger


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