A turbocharger can boost the power of your pickup by up to 35%. This can be essential for trucks that need to carry or tow heavy loads, such as those used in the construction or labor trades. The boost in engine power can enhance the performance of an existing engine without needing to shell out for expensive engine conversions. You don’t need to upgrade to a larger engine. Let’s take a closer look at how this useful part works and discuss how you can tell if an existing turbocharger might be in need of repair.
How a TurboCharger Works
On a simple level, to function, your engine needs two things: air and fuel. Without these two essentials, ignition is impossible, but with more air, the power of ignition can be boosted. The main job of the turbocharger is to suck more air into the engine for this reason. The act of sucking in more air does not require fuel to accomplish. This makes the turbocharger an affordable part to run. The turbocharger is able to add more air into the engine’s combustion chamber by using a pump, which is spun by the power of the exhaust fumes. Overall, turbochargers are typically a reliable part and are the perfect solution to provide extra power to small engines. However, as with all parts, they are not immune to failure.
Five Signs of Turbocharger Failure
There are five clear signs of turbocharger failure, so let’s discuss possible signs and symptoms of problems to alert you to the need for service:
1. Sluggish Acceleration
As the turbocharger is designed to provide extra power to the engine, when working correctly, acceleration should feel snappy. You should be able to feel the overall power increase of your vehicle. However, when the turbocharger starts to fail, you’ll notice that accelerating becomes sluggish, and your car will lack the power it had before.
2. Guzzling Oil
If you find yourself having to regularly top up your engine oil but you have no sign of a leak, then you may need to investigate the status of your turbocharger. It is possible to diagnose whether the turbo is at fault by using an endoscope. If when looking inside the turbocharger you notice oil failure, then you have a clear sign that your charger is on the way out. This issue should be addressed swiftly to prevent sudden and total failure.
3. Increased Exhaust Emissions
During their lifespan, turbochargers can develop cracks in their housing as well as wear to the internal seals. This can result in oil leaks. Due to the turbocharger’s relationship with the exhaust system, when oil starts to leak from the turbo system, it makes its way into the connected exhaust system. The exhaust system is very hot, so the oil will burn, resulting in exhaust fumes with a blueish-gray tinge. The fumes will darken in color when the turbocharger is used. In a healthy truck, the exhaust fumes will be clear, so coloration of any kind should always be investigated.
4. Engine Management Light/Check Engine Light
The Engine Management Light (EML) is often referred to as the check engine light. This will illuminate when the ECU (engine control unit) notices an issue or a change in engine performance. Of course, the EML can light up for a variety of reasons from a loose gas cap to a critical engine issue and everything in between. So, it might not be because of your turbocharger. However, you should always be thorough with diagnostic work following the illumination of this light and will need to rule out the turbocharger as the main culprit.
5. Whining Noises
A turbocharger that isn’t working correctly can often produce loud and uncomfortable whining noises. This can actually be so loud that it sounds almost like a siren and will only get louder as the problem gets worse. Therefore, if you have been experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, it’s likely your turbocharger is to blame and should be taken for repair, preferably before you are forced to endure this stage of breakdown.
Diesel Pickup Pros
At Diesel Pickup Pros, we are happy to get to the bottom of your truck’s turbocharger issues. We’re located in Jeffersonville, IN, meaning that we’re in an ideal spot for pickup owners living in Louisville, KY, New Albany, IN, Georgetown, IN, Floyds Knobs, IN, and Jeffersonville, IN. So if you’re looking for a brand new, high-quality pickup truck specialist in your local area, contact our friendly team at Diesel Pickup Pros. Let us earn your business.