The turbocharger attached to your engine is a primary source of your vehicle's ability to drive faster with better gas mileage. However, this technology may become damaged, leading to problems within the engine, such as damage to other parts. Knowing the warning signs of a damaged turbocharger will prevent further problems from occurring and help you determine what needs repairs.
A Constant Check Engine Light
Many drivers are familiar with the check engine light, as numerous potential problems in the engine trigger it. The light will signal a problem in the engine that may originate from damage that the turbocharger received and caused a problem in the engine.
How the light appears will help you understand how serious the damage may be; a steady light indicates a minor problem, and a blinking or red light signals a serious problem. Serious damage could include a blockage in the turbo system that could lead to a buildup of exhaust or further damage, such as a cracked seal. It's important to note these warning signs of a damaged turbo before they worsen.
A warning sign of a damaged turbo may include smokey exhaust from the tailpipe or engine. There may be a crack in the tubing or a broken seal in the turbo that causes oil to enter parts it shouldn’t. The oil will eventually burn when heated due to the turbine wheel and from entering the combustion chamber thanks to the engine. Smokey exhaust is an important warning sign of a damaged turbo and should be taken seriously to avoid issues that may cause engine failure.
A Noticeable Decrease in Power
One of the best benefits of a turbocharger is its ability to take exhaust from the engine and give the vehicle a better boost. If you notice a loss in power from your boost, the turbo may have sustained damage. There is a noticeable difference in how your car functions when the turbocharger is active.
You will have an easier time discerning if the vehicle takes longer to accelerate or moves slowly from a problem in the turbo. For instance, trucks with turbos will significantly boost their speed due to their special Cummins turbo parts built for diesel engines. These trucks significantly shift power and emissions with a damaged turbo. The machinery should receive repairs as soon as possible.
Is It Possible To Drive With a Damaged Turbo?
Although it is technically possible to drive with a damaged turbo, it’s not advised. Much like any vehicle part that is not whole or breaks down suddenly, it's best to pull over, inspect the turbo, and estimate whether you should call a tow or go to the nearest auto shop.
Ensuring your turbo is undamaged and working well is essential for turbo engines. Understanding these warning signs will ensure you know how to estimate and resolve the problem to keep your turbocharger functioning properly.