Typical turbocharger issues and symptoms


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The turbocharger is an important part of the engine, especially in modern vehicles. This is like a small power plant that supplies the engine with additional air, making it possible for it to generate more power.
In order for the turbo to supply the engine with more air, it is important that this component works properly. However, when problems occur, they can lead to serious damage. In this article, we will deal with the most important error symptoms, such as insufficient boost pressure and blue smoke from the exhaust.

However, if you are first interested in more information on the function and structure of a turbocharger, you will find the most important information here.


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Low boost pressure

A common fault symptom in turbochargers is insufficient boost pressure. If the boost pressure is lower than expected, this can cause the engine to lose power. The cause of this error can be manifold. A common cause is a damaged or leaking exhaust valve. If the exhaust valve does not close properly, pressure can escape, resulting in low boost pressure. Another possible reason is a defective turbocharger itself. If the turbine blades are damaged or clogged, this may result in insufficient boost pressure.

Blue smoke from the exhaust

In most cases, the bluish smoke is an indication that oil has entered the combustion process. This may be due to a leak within the component that is conducting oil into the exhaust stream. The oil is then forced through the turbine blades and burns in the engine, causing the blue smoke from the exhaust.

Another possible cause of blue smoke is excessive oil consumption. This may be due to defective piston rings or valve stem seals, which feed oil into the combustion chamber and produce blue smoke when burning.

Other potential Symptoms

Rattling noise when accelerating

If a rattling or screeching noise is heard from the engine compartment, this may indicate a problem with the turbo system. A possible reason for this noise may be a damaged or loose turbine blade hitting the casing. It can also be a sign of a problem with the turbocharger’s bearing shells or drive system.

Engine power reduced

Delayed acceleration or a delay in power delivery may indicate a problem with the turbocharger. If the supercharger is not able to build up the required boost pressure, the engine’s performance will be impaired. This can occur due to factors such as a blocked air filter or a dirty intake system.

Car is burning oil

Another error symptom that may indicate a problem is excessive oil consumption. If oil gets into the turbocharger, it can be forced through the turbine blades and enter the exhaust system, where it is burned and causes blue smoke from the exhaust. Another possible reason for the oil loss can be a defective turbocharger or a damaged oil line.

Reduced power under load

A loss of power under load can be another sign of a problem. This can occur due to factors such as a clogged air filter or a faulty boost pressure sensor. If the turbocharger is unable to build up the required boost pressure, this can lead to a loss of power and torque.


In a nutshell, there are many possible causes for turbocharger error symptoms that can lead to serious damage to the engine. Therefore, it is important to precisely narrow down the cause of the problem so that the problem can actually be found and efficiently remedied.

Turbocharger repair

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is recommended that to perform a diagnosis with an OBD2 diagnosis scanner immediately. A diagnostic device helps to clearly identify and isolate the fault. When in doubt, you should always play it safe and contact a professional for an accurate diagnosis and repair.

Before the turbo is removed for repair, the fault memory should be checked using the OBD2 scanner to ensure that the actual source of the fault is not related to a fault with an electrical component. In many cases, an electrical component associated with the turbocharger system is defective (e.g. the boost pressure control valve). Such a fault can also make it appear that the turbocharger itself is defective.

Can I repair the turbocharger myself?

Repairing a defective turbo requires considerable technical know-how and experience, and should therefore only be performed by trained specialists. Depending on the severity of the damage, the repair may require extensive disassembly and overhaul of the component. Possible repairs include replacing defective bearings, inspecting and cleaning turbine blades, and repairing leaks.

An experienced mechanic can accurately diagnose the problem and make an appropriate repair to ensure the turbocharger is back working effectively and safely. Since a lot of experience is required here, it is important to stress that the repair is usually no DIY project and should only be performed by experienced professionals.

Keep in mind, that every car has different software and modules built-in. Therefore specific features will vary with every model.

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