Do you have a vehicle with a turbocharger? These days, they’re pretty common. In 2019, over 30 percent of newly produced light-duty vehicles came with turbochargers. On the surface, a turbocharged car might seem like any other, but in reality, they’re a lot more complex. To keep them in perfect shape, you’ll have to make a few simple changes to the way you maintain and handle them. Let’s look at some ways to maintain your turbocharged car.
Regularly Scheduled Oil Changes
Oil is important to your engine’s longevity, but it’s invaluable to your turbocharger. The first turbocharged engines were exclusively oil-cooled, and even today, they’re still heavy on the oil. A turbocharged system consists of fast-moving parts that operate under intense heat and pressure and can wear out quickly. To reduce wear and help them function at peak performance, they need a constant flow of clean, quality engine oil. Ideally, you’ll want to change your oil every 5,000 miles. Full-synthetic oil is best, but to be sure, you should check your owner’s manual for a list of compatible products.
Warm It Up
Another way to maintain your turbocharged car is to warm it up. When it’s cold, oil tends to thicken, which keeps it from flowing freely around the engine bay. Until the oil warms and thins, the moving parts of your engine are at a higher risk of wear and tear. Turbocharged engines are especially vulnerable to this type of damage. Whenever you get behind the wheel on a cold day, make sure you give your engine enough time to warm up. For the first ten minutes of your drive, go easy on the accelerator pedal to reduce strain on the oil pump and prevent any damage to the engine’s moving parts.
Don’t Overstep the Limits
Having a turbocharged engine might sound exciting, but in most cases, turbochargers are only there to make up for the reduced power of a low-capacity engine. This means that, just like standard engines, turbocharged engines have their limits. Be aware of your car’s limits, and avoid being too aggressive with the accelerator. Turbochargers are durable, but that doesn’t mean that they’re invincible. If you push them too hard, they could break or start to show signs of early failure. So ease the power on slowly when you’re driving, and use the accelerator sparingly to maintain your speed. Cruising gently doesn’t just save your turbocharger from early failure—it gives you great fuel economy, too.