Not long ago, our beloved cars had big naturally aspirated engines which produced low power outputs – somewhere around 40 to 70 HP/Liter. Those engines could have run for over 400,000 miles without breaking. Unfortunately, those are legends now, and there are no manufacturers which stick to that rule.
Fast forward to our modern world, and we see high power outputs (100 to over 150HP/liter) from small turbocharged engines. That’s the current tendency.
Diesel cars have 1, 2 or even 4 turbochargers (BMW 750xD), and most of the gasoline engines are also turbocharged, whether they’re high performance vehicles or just simple passenger cars.
Now here’s a short list of what you should not do if you own a turbocharged engine:
- Don’t lug the engine – what I mean by lug, is to full throttle the acceleration when the engine is at low revs. The turbo will break apart easily – you’re forcing it to give you boost when the engine doesn’t have the power and torque.
- Don’t stop the engine if you’ve driven aggressively – temperatures in turbocharges can reach 900 degrees Celsius, so your oil will get burnt and get thick. The next day, that thick oil will run through your engine, leaving it unprotected. Thus, you have to change the oil quicker, and problems may occur. To solve this, simply let the engine cool down (let it run idle) for 2-3 minutes and that’s it.
- Take it slow when the engine is cold – while this is available for every kind of engine, turbocharged engines require even more attention. If you have a naturally aspirated gasoline engine, you can rev it at 4,500 rpm without any problems. Turbocharged engines (especially Diesels), are sensible when the engine is cold, so try not to push it too hard until you reach the optimum operating temperature.
- Rev it to the max from time to time – constantly driving at low rpms will slowly damage the turbocharger – oil, dust, and fine particles will be deposited inside the turbo, so what you need to do is to floor the throttle several times to clean things up. Do this when you go on a longer journey, when the engine runs at optimum operating temperatures.
- Be aware of the turbo lag – unlike supercharged or naturally aspirated engines, a turbocharger works based on pressure of the exhaust gases. To get pressure, you need to accelerate, and the whole process until you feel the boost takes between 0.5 and 1.5 seconds. Naturally aspirated engines respond almost instantly, so be aware of this.