Is Your Car's Turbocharger Underperforming? A Replacement Might be in Order

Is Your Car's Turbocharger Underperforming? A Replacement Might be in Order

Turbochargers are becoming increasingly popular as we face the need for vehicles that are fuel-efficient and produce fewer emissions. But as with any mechanical component, turbochargers do reach the end of their life cycle, where they don't function as they should. This means that your car won't perform as it should either. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to identify when your turbocharger is underperforming since many car owners don't know what to look for.

This post will cover how to identify underperforming turbochargers and the steps you need to take to ensure a replacement.

Poor Fuel Economy

Typically, a turbocharger is designed to increase the engine's efficiency and performance. However, if the turbocharger is not functioning optimally, fuel consumption increases and the car delivers lower horsepower instead of more. If you're consistently getting poor gas mileage, lag in acceleration and lower engine output, your turbocharger is most certainly the culprit.

Warning Lights

Modern cars come with a range of sensors to monitor their parts and systems to prevent any damage or accidents. If your car's dashboard is flashing a warning light, it's time to check the owner's manual to understand the issue before driving further. When the check engine light flickers on, it gives a signal that something abnormal is happening under the hood, and it's usually a bad turbocharger that needs replacement.

Smoking Tailpipe

One of the initial signs of serious turbocharger issues is smoke coming from your car's exhaust pipe. You might see blue smoke once you start up the engine, come to a stop or when accelerate. When this occurs, you should take note of the smell and colour of the smoke. If the smoke has a bluish tint and smells burnt, then that's oil burning up in your combustion chamber, and the root cause is a bad turbocharger.

Unusual Sounds

A malfunctioning turbocharger can produce whining or whistling noises that indicate the bearings have worn out. These sounds can become louder as you accelerate, and you'll hear them more frequently as the force increases. The noise level usually depends on the severity of the problem. Any abnormal noise should prompt you to seek professional intervention, as a worn-out turbocharger can cause catastrophic damage to your engine.

Lack of Power

Finally, and perhaps the easiest of the signs, is a noticeable lack of power. This could come in the form of laggy acceleration or an engine that sputters or simply won't rev past a certain point. Whatever the symptom might be, a car with an underperforming turbocharger won't have the power and pep you've gotten used to, and it might even lose its ability to climb steep hills.


Turbochargers significantly increase engine efficiency and overall car performance, but they do have a life cycle. Knowing the signs of an underperforming turbocharger will save you from bigger engine problems and other costly repairs. If you notice any of the above signs, it's crucial to get your vehicle checked and repaired as soon as possible to stay safe on the road. Remember, your car talks to you about the issues it's facing; listen to it carefully; it might save you from significant expenses in the long run. For more details, visit page to get a better understanding.