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6 Tips That Will Help You Maintain Your Turbocharged Car

In recent years, there's been a trend of engine downsizing. Many newer engines are becoming turbocharged. It's expected that by 2021, nearly 38% of all new vehicles that are sold in the US will be a turbocharged car. If you're thinking about getting one or looking to add a turbocharger to your current vehicle, it's essential to learn how to take care of it. Here are some tips that will help you maintain your turbocharged car.

1. Warm the engine up.

A turbocharged engine tends to experience the most wear and tear when it's revved up after a cold engine start. Even non-turbocharged cars will experience wear and tear from doing this. The reason why revving up after a cold start can be problematic is that when your engine is cold, the oil will settle down in the oil pan. It results in the piston pins, cam bearings, piston rings, crankshaft, and turbocharger bearings being deprived of oil. A lack of optimal lubrication in the first 10 to 15 minutes of startup leaves the engine more likely to get worn down quicker. In general, modern car manufacturers recommend starting the engine and driving the car at a calm pace until the engine temperature is at the optimal operational level. Usually, this will take about 10 to 20 minutes for most cars.

2. Cool the turbochargers before turning off the engine.

One thing that’s common with all turbochargers is they can get really hot. It’s necessary to let them cool down before you shut off the engine. Typically, turbochargers are cooled down by the engine oil fed to the turbo bearings. You can let the engine idle for about two minutes so the flowing oil can cool it down. Additionally, it’s helpful to drive the last few miles of your destination at a calm pace. If you shut off the engine without allowing it the chance to cool, the oil collected near the turbochargers will burn and build up gunk in the system. The more build-up there is, the more obstruction there will be in your oil line, and as a result of the lack of lubrication, the wearing down of your system increases.

Some newer cars do come with a system that continues the process of the turbo cooling down even if the engine is shut off instantly. The system in newer cars keeps the oil flowing through the turbocharger for a few minutes, whether the engine is on or off. Additionally, whether it's when your parking or just want to hear the sound of your turbocharger, avoid blipping the throttle before you turn the ignition off. Pressing on your accelerator causes the rotating turbines in your turbocharger to spin. If you're not using a newer car, that means the oil won't lubricate your turbine while it's still spinning. It will put a strain on the bearings, and the build-up of heat will, over time, lead to the turbo system failing.

3. Avoid lugging the engine in a higher gear.

Those who are driving an automatic transmission car don't have to be concerned with this problem. If you're driving a manual car, you should be mindful of not increasing the engine load when you're at lower RPMs. One example is when you're driving up a hill. In that scenario, you want to keep the engine going at a normal speed. Putting your car in high gear, when you're sitting at low RPM and need extra power to get up the hill, will put more stress on your turbocharger and other parts of your engine.

4. Use the right engine oil.

Oils can get extremely hot in a turbocharged car. They can reach temperatures up to 204 degrees Celsius. It’s double the temperature that oil rises in a naturally aspirated engine. With so much heat to deal with, the oil can start to deteriorate over time. It's important to read your service manual's instructions to know how often you should change your oil. If you're driving a newer vehicle, it will likely have a longer oil change interval because of the advancement of oil technology, improvement of engine component quality, and environmental reasons. The type of oil you use is also important. A good type of oil to use is fully synthetic oil that meets your manufacturer's specifications. The burning point of these oils is higher than regular oils, which helps your engine and oil galleries be cleaner. Make sure the oil you choose also doesn't have any additives that aren't recommended by your manufacturer.

5. Avoid accelerating hard out of corners.

When you're accelerating hard on a car, the power doesn't immediately transmit to the wheels. The slow transmission of power is especially the case when your car is experiencing turbo lag. Once the turbo lag is over, the power gets delivered to the wheel immediately, and this can cause your car to lose balance. As a result of the loss of balance, you may end up understeering or oversteering your vehicle, which could lead to an accident. This is especially true if your car has a negative caster angle, as your car will suffer from reduced stability and poor handling. You can find out more about caster angle here. Whenever you’re driving around corners, always go slow. The only time you should accelerate hard on your turbocharged car is when the roads you’re driving on are straight and not as curvy.

6. Change the air filter.

Consistently changing the air filters can help to maintain and possibly even improve your turbocharged car’s performance. Debris can have a significant impact on your turbocharged engine’s ability to perform. Additionally, regularly changing the air filters will also reduce emissions and keep your vehicle operating with the correct air-fuel mixture. Debris and dirt can also be damaging to other engine parts, so having a filter that’s able to keep most of it out can increase your engine's lifespan.

As more engines become turbocharged, it's more important than ever to know how to take care of it. Be sure to keep all of these tips in mind to keep your turbocharged vehicle running smoothly and for as long as possible. If you're interested in looking for turbochargers or other parts, you can look for some at this link:

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