Investing in a vehicle that boasts an engine with one or more turbochargers has grown to be quite popular among buyers, and for good reasons. Turbochargers give a smaller engine a boost of power, which makes sense for fuel-efficiency reasons, and the equipped turbo can mean better acceleration, less stress on the engine, and smoother power boosts without a lot of fuel. While obviously valuable, turbochargers can also mean you have an engine that has an additional layer of mechanical function that may occasionally have to be repaired.
With turbo boosters, the quicker you can spot signs something is wrong, the more likely it is that the system can be repaired. Here are a few signs of trouble with turbochargers so you know when to get to an auto repair service for help.
You notice drastic changes in gas mileage.
As the turbocharger fails, your engine has to pick up the slack. Therefore, the engine will be consuming more fuel just to compensate for the demands for power. You may initially see a slight change in fuel consumption, but as the turbocharger further fails, the fuel consumption will go up markedly. You could easily lose several miles per gallon even though your driving habits haven't necessarily changed. If your turbo-equipped vehicle suddenly starts using more gas, it is a definitive sign to get in for auto repair.
You feel delays when accelerating.
Since the turbos on an engine are meant to support the acceleration when you hit the gas, problems with turbos will almost always be accompanied by changes in acceleration. Since the turbo is no longer yielding that added power, you will have the engine alone pushing out power. Problems with delayed acceleration may not be something you notice if you don't drive the vehicle on a regular basis, but if you know what the turbo power usually feels like, you will definitely see a difference.
You notice a lot of smoke from the exhaust.
When the turbocharger has issues, it changes how fuel combusts and passes through the engine; the fuel-to-oxygen ratio is different. Therefore, you may notice that your exhaust is yielding dark-colored smoke, especially when you hit the accelerator. Normally, this issue will also trigger mass airflow sensors, which means you could also see a check engine light come on at this point. Even if you don't, make sure you get to an auto repair center for help.