Turbocharged vehicles are becoming prevalent in the Philippines. You see these cars in the SUVs that roam the streets, the pickup trucks plying the roads, and with the new generation of crossovers that come with 3-cylinder engines. While a turbo can give your engine a boost in performance and put it on par with a much bigger displacement motor, turbochargers still can break. This then begs the question: can you drive on a blown or damaged turbo?
What can cause your turbo to get damaged?
There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to what can damage your turbocharger. These can range from foreign objects entering the intake of the turbo to loss of oil. While objects entering the turbo are a rare occurrence, the more likely cause of turbo failure is due to lack of oil.
A turbo needs oil to function properly as it is rotating at a high speed. That said, if there isn’t enough oil it can cause friction along with premature wear and tear to the turbo itself. If left alone the impeller could get damaged along with other critical internal components of the turbocharger. While these are the extreme cases it's still better to keep an eye on your car’s oil levels especially if you suspect that something is wrong with the turbo.
Can I drive my car with a damaged or blown turbo?
The short answer is that you can still drive your car with a blown or damaged turbo. However, the longer you drive it in this state, the more damage the engine will have and the more expensive repair bill you will get. It's important to note that the car will still be able to drive under its power, it's highly recommended that you stop driving it and have it towed to a service center instead.
Will my engine overheat when driving with a damaged turbo?
Another question you might have when you find out that your car has a blown or damaged turbo is if it will cause the engine to overheat. The short answer is this will depend on the damage to the turbo. If the impeller gets stuck then it will make your engine work harder to get the car moving. This, in turn, may cause it to overheat with the extra strain, that said if you find out your car has a damaged turbo only drive it if it's an emergency or if you are going to the service center.
What to do if your turbo is damaged?
If you have determined if your turbo is blown or damaged there are two courses of action you should take. The first is to bring your car to the service center and purchase a brand new turbo to replace the damaged one. While this will cost you a substantial amount of money you will be reassured that the part is new may even come with a warranty. The second option is for those who want to save a bit of money. You can have the turbo repaired or reconditioned then put back into your vehicle. Take note that the second option is only for those with light damage to their turbos. If the turbocharger is severely damaged then you will need to buy a new one.
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