All the diesel engine powered cars on the market get turbochargers. With the emission norms becoming stringent, many modern petrol cars have started getting turbochargers. The turbocharger increases the power output of the engine enabling the manufacturers to squeeze out more power from even a smaller displacement engine. With the number of increasing turbocharged vehicles on the road, it is essential to know how to take care of such an engine. The turbocharger is a high-speed spinning device that induces compressed air in the combustion chamber and it is quite costly, to say the least. Here are five tips that can keep your turbocharger safe for a long time.
Cold engine revving
A cold engine is highly susceptible to wear and tear. It does not matter if the engine is naturally aspirated or turbocharged, a cold engine should not be revved hard. In turbocharged engines, the damage can be much more. The engine oil lubricates the engine and keeps it safe from any wear and tear. Until the engine oil reaches its optimum temperature, it does not become thin enough to reach every small creek and corner of the engine.
All engine oils need a minimum temperature to operate efficiently. Mind you, the engine is also responsible for keeping the turbocharger well lubricated and temperature regulated. It is important to ensure that the engine reaches an optimum temperature before the turbo works at its full speed. If you’re driving the car with a temperature gauge, keep an eye on the engine temperature. If there is no engine temperature gauge, always drive at a slow speed, keeping the engine RPM minimal to warm up the engine without harming it. Modern cars do not need idling to warm-up, unlike older generation cars.
Let the engine settle down
A turbocharger is driven by the exhaust gases. The hot exhaust gases and the high spinning speed of the turbochargers make them extremely hot after a drive. The high temperature of the turbocharger causes a lot of engine oil to burn and lose its properties. Also, if you turn off an enthusiastically driven car suddenly, the exhaust gases remain trapped inside the charger and it can corrode the turbo over time and bring down its lifespan.
To ensure that the turbocharger remains well-lubricated and free of most of the exhaust fume, it is always a good idea to keep the turbocharged vehicle idling for some time before turning it off. Alternatively, one can always drive at a lower RPM for the last few kilometres.
Lugging the engine
Lugging the engine means driving the car at a higher gear on low speeds. It drops the engine to a low level, which creates an illusion of high fuel efficiency. While in theory lower rpm equals to higher fuel efficiency, in turbocharged vehicles, it is not true.
A turbocharger uses the exhaust gases to gain a high spinning speed which is used to forcefully induce air inside the engine. If the turbocharger does not spin at a particular RPM, it will not work how it is supposed to and it causes the engine to generate less power. This, in turn, causes the car to not get the optimum power that the engine can generate.
In diesel cars, the fuel is delivered based on the accelerator input and while driving in higher gear at a lower speed, one needs to press the accelerator more to keep the engine alive. This results in the engine running rich with fuel and due to low air in the combustion chamber, the fuel remains unburnt. This causes the engine to use more fuel and can damage the turbocharger and exhaust system in the longer run. In smaller engines, lugging can also damage the engine. One should always drive the car in an optimum gear that is mentioned in the manual of the vehicle.
Use cheap fuel
Naturally aspirated engines do not need any special fuel due to the simplicity of their construction. Spurious or adulterated fuel can damage a turbocharged engine irreversibly. Adulterated fuel does not ignite properly that creates engine knocking and directly affects the way turbocharger works. If you drive a turbocharged vehicle, always ensure that you buy fuel from a reputed pump and even on the highways ensure that you only refill from good fuel stations.
Using full throttle while coming out of a corner
But that’s fun, right? Well, it is fun but one needs to understand the turbo lag completely and know when exactly the power will kick in. Turbocharged vehicles have a delayed response as the power output surges as soon as the turbo kicks in completely. This causes a lot of cars to understeer or oversteer (depending on the drive layout of the vehicle). If the front and rear slip angle of a car do not remain equal, it will start to slide and can go out of control.
The best way to tackle a corner in a turbocharged car is by modulating the throttle slowly. One should never press the accelerator to the floor while taking a turn on a turbocharged vehicle.