What even is wastegate, and why would it fail? The turbocharger in a vehicle provides the engine with an additional “boost” of air inside the fuel injection manifold, forcing it into the combustion chamber. This ultimately creates a more efficient burn. However, throughout this process, it is possible for too much pressure to be built up. If this is the case, the pressure needs to be released, which is where the wastegate comes into play. The wastegate opens or closes depending on if it is needed or not. If this is not working properly, numerous problems for your engine can occur. If you think this might be the case for your vehicle, here is a list of symptoms of a failing wastegate to help you further identify if this is the problem.
Boost is Not Being Produced
Driving a vehicle with a turbocharger is very different than driving without one. If you have experienced this before, you will know when the turbocharger in your vehicle is not working properly. If the turbo does not engage when you apply full throttle pressure to the engine, the boost is not being produced.
While there could be numerous reasons this is not working properly, one of the most common is the wastegate is failing. In most situations, it is not functioning properly or there is a blockage in the hose. Once this is noticed, it needs to be fixed immediately. Additional damage could occur to the turbocharger if this is not dealt with.
Check Engine Light Turns On
The wastegate is monitored by the engine control unit. This allows for the pressure zone to be watched regarding the wastegate. If this pressure zone is not correct, it will trigger a warning code—ultimately lighting up the check engine light to show that something is off in your vehicle.
Don’t just ignore the light coming on. While it only might be a small issue, such as a vacuum leak, it also could be larger. Having a professional look at the wastegate will allow for it to be fixed properly and efficiently.
Fuel Economy Decreases
Fuel economy is exceptional for vehicles that have turbocharged engines. When the wastegate is failing, this is not the case. It doesn’t matter what the issue is; most likely, the raw fuel is being expelled from the system without being burned. If this is the case, you are going to have a decrease in your overall fuel economy. If you notice that you’re filling up your fuel tank often, it might just be time to have the wastegate looked at to ensure it is working properly.
Keep an eye out! Pay attention to how your car is driving and any differences you might notice in your overall vehicle performance. It just might be paying attention that leads you to catch one of these symptoms of a failing wastegate. And just like any situation, the sooner you catch a problem, the faster you can fix it at a turbocharger repair service!