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Turbocharger Cleaning

 

1 - Why do turbos get dirty?

Compressed air is one of the principal aspects of a working engine. The turbocharger is a turbine-driven forced induction device that increases an engine’s efficiency and power by forcing extra air into the combustion chamber. This improvement results because the turbine can force more air, and proportionately more fuel, into the combustion chamber than atmospheric pressure alone. The power needed to spin the centrifugal compressor is derived from the kinetic energy of the engine’s exhaust gases, without consuming any power from the drive shaft.
 
Poor fuel atomization leads to the generation of soot, which can clog up the exhaust system. This puts negative pressure on the turbocharger, which inhibits the exhaust and reduces engine power. In addition to a less powerful engine, the main symptoms of this predicament are faulty engine starts, a noisy turbo, white exhaust smoke, and the over-consumption of oil.


2 - How to preserve the life of the turbocharger?

The turbocharger is lubricated by oil from the engine. Therefore, as is the case with other mechanical components, it is in the best interest of the owner to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding oil change intervals as well as the grade of oil to use. Smooth driving from a cold start is recommended, as long as the engine and engine oil temperature rise. Also important to note: when the engine is shut off, although the oil is no longer flowing, the turbocharger will continue to turn for a short period of time. To prevent the turbo from turning dry, it is recommended to let the engine run for a while after coming to a final stop.


3 - How to clean the turbocharger?

There are two ways to clean your turbocharger, falling within a broad price range.  

 The most expensive option is the outright replacement of the part. This is what most mechanics will propose. The price of the part will vary according to the brand and engine type, but the average cost is somewhere between $2000 and $3100.

The least expensive option, with no need for disassembly and entailing the shortest service time, and which is an alternative to part replacement, is hydrogen treatment via the Carbon Cleaning station. This service works as a preventative treatment, every 10,000 miles, but can also resolve existing problems in the engine. This operation costs only $95.