What is turbocharger?

Thanks to the turbocharger it is possible to increase the engine power by providing a larger amount of air in its interior. Therefore the car can go much faster. Turbo Boost mechanism is quite simple and it bases on expeditious use of energy that the escaping from the engine exhaust have. For others - naturally aspirated engines - this is not possible and this valuable energy remains unused. Another element of the whole structure is to put a special turbine into the exhaust system, through which it is possible to interchange exhaust gas energy into rotational motion which is a necessary factor for compressing air that is inside the engine.

There is therefore a close correlation between the amount of air in the engine and the power of the vehicle - the more oxygen is in it, the faster we go. If we know that to burn one kilogram of fuel about 14 kilograms of oxygen are needed,, then we can understand it clearly. We see therefore that an increase in the combustion is achievable while maintaining the same rotation and volume of the drive unit. This allows to provide more air into the engine. The great advantage of fuel-air mixture is also more efficient combustion and therefore the atmosphere is less harmful to us and the environment.

The structure of all turbochargers is similar. Its base is the bearing shaft on which there are fan turbine and compressor mounted next to each other. By forming the body in specially adapted to its tasks way, the traffic of fumes is forced. It causes that the turbine increases its turnover and the air is compressed in an appropriate manner. 

Details of the turbocharger’s operation

The special relief valves - thanks to them there is no permanent damage, they allow precise control of pressure. Depending on which the construction of the boost system we have, valves whop air forced into the cylinders or exhaust fumes.

There are several types of the most commonly used elements. In case of petrol engines the waste-gate and blow-offs (they are valves in the intake) and the by-pass in the exhaust system are usually used. The valves remain closed while the engine is running at low speed to provide him with the rapid growth in air pressure. Conversely it happens at high speed – to make good portion of exhaust missed the turbine, the valve is opened by-pass, keeping the lower turnover. Water-gate valve is applicable when adjusting the pressure in the intake. It is normally controlled with the use of a solenoid by the computer. When it comes to excessive increase in pressure, the water-gate rises automatically, leading to its reduction by discharging a portion of the compressed load. Yet another function is performed by a blow-off valve, which is useful when we suddenly take a foot off the accelerator. This causes that the air embossed at high speed encounters a throttle, which is closed. This threatens the efficiency of the compressor and the efficiency of the vehicle. A blow-off valve lets avoid such situation by opening up when it comes to closing the throttle. There are the so-called intercoolers used in the cars. These are the charge-air coolers, based on the principles of thermodynamics, according to which the colder is denser and thus it gathers even more. Applying this rule to the turbochargers, there is more air that can be forced into the cylinders, if it will be cooled first. The power of engine is then significantly increased with minimal cost. This type of valve does not occur in diesel engines that do not have a throttle. The diesel engines do not have the by-pass valve, but there is a special steering wheel gradually introduced more and more. This creates turbocharger of variable geometry. Exhaust gas flow rate can be adjusted through the blades, sliding or rotating according to its axis. The steering wheel may be constructed with different types of blades that at low speed drives air flow tangentially to the turbine. This lets to increase the velocity and - when high - sets perpendicularly to the flow unimpeded.

You do not smear, do not go

Turbochargers manufactured today are generally very durable but to make them serve us very well and function properly, it is necessary to follow a few rules that can help to prezent from damage to our turbocharger:

First of all, to could enjoy the efficient of your vehicle, you should never save on oil. We should take care of its good quality and properly and frequently change it for new one, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Using the wrong oil can have a negative impact not only on engine performance, but primarily on the work of the turbocharger. Such savings can be good for us, if we take into account the need of repairs or even complete replacement of the turbocharger.

Let us also remember that the turbo engine is not very resistant to high temperatures because always - before we would like to take advantage of the highest performance of the vehicle - let it warm up. Pressing the gas pedal to the end and putting the engine at the highest turnover in the short time since the launch is not the best idea. In turn after completion of driving fast it is recommended to cool the car for a while and not switching it off suddenly. The optimal time to provide lubrication and saving it from damage takes about one minute. It is also justified in the case of diesel engines. Therefore it is worth to have a lot of experience when choosing the car with a turbocharged engine.

When we buy a second-hand car

What we should take care of when buying the second-hand car that has a turbocharger? Let's see if the car had regularly carried out inspections and let's prove whether the previous owner knew how to use the turbo engine. Otherwise, we have to deal with improperly operated equipment, which could cause problems in the future. Then we should take a closer look at the turbocharger, looking for signs caused by leakage of oil or coolant. The sound with the normal operation of the compressor is regular, resembles not too loud whistle. A sign that there is something wrong with the turbocharger, is also usually the lack of adequate performance. So while deciding to buy this car, you should thoroughly check the status and history of use. If you detect any irregularities it is worth giving the turbocharger to have it regenerated or repaired.

Following the manufacturer's instructions in case of the operation of our car, we do not have too much to worry about processes occurring in the engine. We should rather focus on the pleasure of smooth driving. If we only follow a few basic rules and keep the minimal care, the turbocharger will probably serve us a long time, as it is designed to work with the engine throughout its life.

When it does not pose us any problems, the periodic checks associated with a few simple actions are sufficient:

  1. Oil change
  2. Maintenance oil filter and wires
  3. Check of oil pressure
  4. Maintenance of the air filter and wires