How to Tell if Your Turbo is Bad? [know the warning signs]

How will you react if one day you notice that excessive noise is coming from your car? You will think there’s a problem with your engine or somewhere else!

But actually, it’s the turbo. When the turbo turns really bad, then millions of problems knock at our doorstep.

There are a few symptoms to realize the condition of your turbo, like poor acceleration, weird noises, an increase in gas consumption, and many more. However, by a routine check-up, you can surely know and everything about your turbo.

Many questions arise in everyone’s mind regarding a turbo. So let’s gain more information about it to save ourselves from unwanted situations.

How to tell if your turbo is bad? (5 warning signs)

As a car owner, I usually remain concerned about the condition of the products that I use in my car specially when it comes to a “turbo.” I prefer turbos as it accelerates my car and makes the ride enjoyable.

So, it’s a necessity to check out the condition of the turbos you use. But alas! You don’t know how to determine the turbo is not functional?

The signs of a turbo being bad are stated below:

1. Poor acceleration:

A turbo is expected to boost your engine, but it’s time to say goodbye to the old one when it fails to do it properly. While accelerating your car, if you do not feel the same power as before, your turbo is terrible.

2. Noise:

A bad turbo sometimes ends up making weird siren noises. The more the noise, the bigger is the problem. So if you face anything similar to this, then you should repair the turbo.

3. Exhaust smoke:

An oil leakage may take place due to a damaged turbo. This leakage results in blue smoke which comes out from the exhaust pipe. This smoke may be black as well. You shouldn’t ignore these colored smokes if you want your car to remain fit.

4. Increase of gas consumption:

Gas consumption increases drastically if your turbo is faulty. So, do notice if the gas consumption is normal or not.

Ignoring these above symptoms may cost you much as a bad turbo will surely give rise to many additional problems.

How long can you drive with a bad turbo?

When you realize that you need to work on your turbo or replace it, do not drive your car until you repair the turbo. A bad turbo often disables an engine, and that’s a huge problem.

Still, if you wanna know, then the answer is “it depends.” It depends on the condition of your turbo. You may drive with a lousy turbo for as long as  5years or not even for five days. So I would recommend not to drive unless it’s an emergency.

can turbo engine run without the turbo?

Yes, a turbo engine can run without the turbo. But you’ll regret this decision as you won’t get the same speed as a turbo. So the vehicle will become really slow though it won’t harm the engine in any way.

How often do turbos need to be replaced?

We all expect the turbos to work for years after years without replacing them. But every auto part has an expiry, and the same goes for a turbo. Mostly, one needs to replace the turbo between 100,000 to 150,000 miles. But indeed, it depends on the usage and maintenance.

How much does it cost to replace a turbo?

In replacing a turbo, you need to buy the proper one instead of the cheaper one. You cannot compromise with the quality as it can cost you a lot later.

Generally, the starting price for a turbo is  $400. However, the prices vary according to the model and the size of your car. Naturally, the bigger the car, the more is the price.

should there be oil in my turbo?

Conversely, turbos are at it’s best when we provide them with a continuous flow of oil. Turbos remain in intense heat, so oil becomes a necessity in this condition. A frequent change in the oil can give you the desired performance from your turbo. Lack of oil leads to oil contamination which causes huge damages inside the turbo.

But it works inversely in case of a bad turbo. Having excessive oil in a bad turbo may result in the turbo being blown. In addition, oil leakage will occur, which will result in colored smoke.

As a result, you need to have a clear idea about your turbo and work accordingly.

3 main causes a turbo to fail

Regarding the failure of a turbo, we become clueless about the reason. Because many damages are noticed at the same time, the cause of the failure of your turbo may be anyone of the following:

  • Oil contamination: Mostly, it happens due to carbon. If the concentration becomes high, then the oil feed holes get closed. It also increases the noise level and results in smoke coming out from the pipe.
  • Oil starvation: You can surely guess the reasons for oil starvation. It may happen due to the lower level of oil or any restriction in the oil path. A damaged oil filter may also be the reason for oil starvation.
  • Over speeding: Over speeding may cause the incorrect amount of air passing in the turbo. The engine may also be blamed for this.

Avoid the above mistakes so that you do not have to face turbo failure.

Identify turbo problems >> Check out this video below:

Can you bypass a turbo?

While changing my turbo, this thing crossed my mind. But fortunately, I didn’t work on bypassing my turbo at once. So eventually, I realized that avoiding a turbo is a bad decision. You cannot bypass the whole system! If you do so, then be ready to face a lot of problems.

Turbos are made with proper orientation. So if you bypass it, then it won’t work properly. I highly recommend rebuilding or replace your turbo. You can also buy a used turbo if it works well. These options are certainly better than bypassing the turbo.

    closing thoughts:

    Through this article, I tried to acknowledge you about a turbo. Now, as you know how to find out your turbo’s present condition, hurry up and check it out. A small delay in your decision may cost you a lot.

    As a result, everyone should always keep checking the turbo and should notice every single change

    Who Worked on This?



    I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is helpful for our reader.

    Mahir Ahmed


    I'm the guy responsible for ensuring honest, informative, accurate and helpful guide to the reader.

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