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Turbocharger Lag: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

Turbocharger Lag: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

What is turbocharger lag? If you’ve pressed on your throttle and felt a moment of nothing before the torque kicks in, that’s turbocharger lag and it can be frustrating to experience.

Learn more about turbocharger lag, what it is, and how to get rid of it.

What Is Turbocharger Lag?

Turbocharge lag happens at low engine speeds. For example, if the car is coasting or at lower speeds, there isn’t enough power to boost because the engine needs time to produce pressure to spin the turbo. So why aren’t there turbochargers that can go from idling to redlining?

A turbo needs a specific RPM range to work properly. And a turbo small enough to boost an engine at low-RPM speeds could explode if the driver pushes the turbocharger to full throttle. However, there are ways to get rid of turbocharger lag.

How To Reduce Turbocharger Lag

Before trying to get rid of turbocharger lag with any of these methods, you’ll need to make sure you have the right engine set up for the turbo you’re using and even the proper braking system.

Nitrous Oxide

A shot of nitrous oxide into your engine can make your turbo perform better, but you need to ensure your air/fuel ratio is able to handle the extra surplus of oxygen. Otherwise, you could have a backfire and significant engine damage.

Compression Ratio

Increasing compression rate can also help. The extra compression points can enhance spooling turbos by investing in a turbo engine with a 9:1 to 10:1 compression range.


Adding a wastegate is an option, too. A wastegate is a smaller exhaust that will spin the turbo faster and it’s an easy change to make. An exhaust wastegate removes excess exhaust pressure when the engine reaches higher RPMs to prevent mishaps.

Sequential Turbocharging

Pairing a small turbocharger with a larger turbocharger can eliminate lag. For example, if the smaller turbo works up to 4,000 RPB, adding a larger turbo that takes over at 4,000 RPM would help. This solution is more complicated, especially for gas engines, but diesel engines have used sequential turbocharging for some time.

Turbos for Sale

Understanding turbocharger lag, what it is, and how to get rid of it can give you the optimal performance you’ve been wanting. Find a larger turbocharger for sale at Turbo Turbos and explore our blogs for more information on improving your engine!

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