Request a Password

Turbocharger Problems With Solutions

Posted by Scott Goldfarb on

Turbochargers play a crucial role in enhancing the power and efficiency of a vehicle’s engine. But they can also fail and lead to various issues. Are you interested in reading about the common turbocharger problems with solutions? You will find everything you need to know in this article.

We will discuss the most recognizable signs of bad turbochargers and how these issues can be prevented and managed. There are many potential causes of each problem. But you can address the problem if you know what are the most effective solutions.

Common Turbocharger Problems With Solutions

A turbocharger is an air compressor known for its high efficiency and impressive performance. But just like any other device, turbochargers are imperfect, so users may face problems if they are improperly handled and maintained.

Hence, we will present turbocharger problems with solutions. You must understand the causes leading to these issues to possibly prevent them from happening. This practice also may ensure the longevity of your vehicle’s engine.

Common Turbocharger Problems With Solutions
Source: shutterstock.com/ Photo Contributor: Rudy Wijanarko

Oil leaks and related issues

Turbochargers revolve at very high speeds and need sufficient oil to work properly. But turbo oil must have a correct flow rate and pressure to achieve top performance. So, engineers consider oil very important for turbocharger’s efficiency due to several reasons.

The oil can lubricate the thrust and journal bearings of the turbocharger. It can also stabilize the rotating shaft and act as a cooling device before reaching high speed. As the engine load increases, more oil is needed in the turbocharger.

Some engine failures may occur if the oil cannot reach the turbocharger at the expected time. The easiest way of recognizing oil delay is by observing the bearings that might become blue due to excessive heat exposure.

Moreover, diesel lubrication is a vital part of the engine. Thus, modern oil technology has focused on producing good oils. However, some oil-related issues in turbochargers are negligible due to several reasons.


Some modern diesel engines can produce high temperatures, so the oil may crack and break down. The hydrocarbons in the oil mix with oxygen, producing organic acids that can be highly corrosive. This leads to oxidation in the turbocharger.

If the acids become concentrated, they might attack the bearings and cause failure in the turbocharger. If the oil in the turbo forms a sludge, it may go directly into the filters, damaging the oil supply of the whole engine.

Furthermore, if the oxidation becomes very severe in the engine, you might be able to see hard varnish. The sludge may pass through the bearing housing, sticking to the internal surface and preventing the oil from flowing freely.

The problem with the oil flow may also lead to oil starvation and leaking pipes. Oil may also accumulate on the turbine side of the engine. Therefore, the heat will cause it to harden, leading to a dysfunctional turbocharging system.


Most turbocharger problems are related to oil changes and breakdowns caused due to air and heat exposure. However, other elements can also cause oil contamination. For example, foreign matter may enter the engine through the air system, damaging the cylinders and the turbocharger’s efficiency.

Some fuel combustion elements, including ash, soot, unburnt fuel-heavy ends, and water, may enter the turbocharger and contaminate it. Thus, the engine undergoes an oil breakdown due to the metal materials passing through the turbo.

Overboost or underboost

Overboosting or overspeeding involves the use of excessive pressure or engine speed beyond the turbocharger’s limits. This practice may cause severe stress on the turbo’s components, leading to engine failure.

High boost or speed also creates several problems for the engine’s efficiency. It may cause faulty engine injectors, creating a higher output than expected due to excessive overload. This may also lead to incorrect gauge readings and a dirty, clogged, or damaged system due to foreign object entrance.

In comparison, under-boosting a turbocharger is the opposite problem of over-boosting. It involves using less than the necessary amount of pressure and engine speed to achieve peak performance. This causes low boost and gas leakage in most turbochargers.

Another problem that may occur due to under-speeding is incorrect gauge reading. It may also make the air filter and labyrinth seals dirty. As a result, the turbine blading may get damaged, the bearings may become defective, and the compressor system fouled.

Solutions for Turbocharger Problems

If you suspect or recognize your vehicle’s turbocharger issues, taking immediate action is important. This is to prevent further damage and ensure the long-lasting efficiency of the turbo. You can take a look at a few potential solutions to successfully address such problems:

Regular maintenance and oil changes

Some turbocharger problems may also occur due to the user’s improper maintenance techniques. A turbocharger requires regular oil changes and air filter replacements to work efficiently. This is to avoid wearing and tearing the turbo after some time of using it.

To ensure the longevity and quality retention of your car’s turbocharger, pay attention to the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer of your turbocharger. In addition to frequent oil check-ups, you must also regularly maintain the coolants.

Replacement of worn or damaged parts or seals

Turbocharger issues can be of various severity. So, you might need professional help to address such problems, including part replacements. Technicians are able to determine the cause of the problem and replace the damaged parts with highly functioning ones.

Replacement of worn or damaged parts or seals
Source: shutterstock.com/ Photo Contributor: Palitsyn Evgenii


Professional technicians specializing in diagnostics can also inspect the turbocharger and determine whether it needs some adjustments. They might recommend using clean and higher quality oil and proper filtration systems to prevent further damage and ensure a turbo’s durability and increased lifespan.


We presented common turbocharger problems with solutions to encourage you to look more into the causes of a failing device. Understanding the causes and recognizing the troubleshooting signs may help you take action on time and prevent further damage to your vehicle’s engine.

Regardless of the problem you face by using a turbocharger, you can follow our recommended solutions. Therefore, you can maximize the performance and longevity of your car’s turbocharger.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


Stay up to date with our best deals by signing up for our email specials.

Weekly Specials
Join Our Newsletter
Save 10% on your next order