Turbocharger Services Best Practices (VIDEO)

Best Practices for Turbo Services (VIDEO)

Turbo performance can only be impaired by mechanical damage or debris. Sponsored by Standard Motor Products.


There are a lot of turbocharged cars and light-duty trucks on the road today. And this trend is expected to continue in the coming years. This will provide ample opportunities for you and your shop to diagnose and repair turbocharger systems on a variety of makes and models. Symptoms of a faulty turbocharger may include loss of power, abnormal whistling noises, excessive smoke, high fuel consumption, overheating, high exhaust temperature and oil leaks from the turbo.

But it’s important to note that defects in other components can produce these same symptoms. Before condemning the turbocharger, remember that turbo performance can only be impaired by mechanical damage or blockage caused by debris. When searching for the source of a boost leak, start with a thorough visual inspection of the charge air pipes and hoses, with the engine off, of course. A ruptured hose may appear to be intact, so squeeze, pull and twist them as needed to locate that source of leak.

Look for evidence of rubbing or contact between the charge air pipes and hoses with neighboring components. Look for any clamps which may have worked their way loose or were improperly installed during a previous repair. Special tools are available which allow you to use regulated shop air to build system pressure and locate the leak. This is a safe and effective method for simulating boost pressure with the engine off, similar to pressurizing a coolant circuit with the cooling system pressure tester.

Do not attempt to build boost by power breaking the engine. This is a dangerous practice, which can cause excessive heat to build up in the engine bay and could lead to a crash. There are a number of things to consider if you are replacing a failed turbocharger. If the bearings failed and debris was carried into the intake system, you must replace or clean all of the effective components.

Certain manufacturers require that the intake manifold is replaced in the event of a turbocharger failure. The risk of metal debris being trapped inside the manifold is too high. It is not worth the chance of later engine failure to try and save some money. It’s also a good idea to inspect the catalytic converter for any signs of damage or debris. If you are replacing a failed turbocharger, it is best practice to replace the turbocharger coolant and oil lines as well.

Engine oil and coolant are critical to the turbocharger. If the hoses or lines are damaged, clogged, contaminated or faulty, they can lead to premature turbocharger failure. Some oil feed lines may contain screens or filters inside them, which can trap metal debris and lead to oil starvation. Before installing a new turbocharger, add a small amount of clean engine oil into the oil feed port. The ideal practice is to hook up the oil feedline, disable the engine from starting and then crank the engine until oil comes out of the oil drain tube.

This will prevent it from dry starting the first time you start the engine. We recommend checking that the PCV and oil separator circuits are both functioning properly. Turbocharger kits, like this one from Standard, make replacement a little easier. They already include the required gaskets and hardware needed. Standard’s turbo program also includes things like turbo boost sensors and solenoids, speed sensors, turbo cooler lines, oil drain tubes and oil lines, as well as charge air coolers. Most importantly, ensure that the customer is aware of the maintenance schedule for their vehicle. This includes regular oil changes, using the correct oil, air filter replacement, as well as fuel system cleaning, or walnut blasting, to remove carbon buildups from the intake valves. As with all vehicle systems, proper maintenance is the secret to maximum turbocharger service life. I’m Brian Sexton. Thanks for watching.

This video is sponsored by Standard Motor Products.

You May Also Like

Resetting the Belt Drive System

In this video, we cover what it takes to reset the belt drive system. This video is sponsored by Litens.

Many belt replacement intervals are 100,000 miles or more. Once this mileage is reached, it requires more than a new belt to make it to the 200,000 mile replacement interval. In this video sponsored by Litens, we cover what it takes to reset the belt drive system. 

Rick (Technician): I just need a belt for Mr. Jones’s car. 

Headlight Options

Your customers may be installing LED upgrades in their vehicles. Sponsored by The Group Training Academy.

Headlights and Visibility

Headlights are continually evolving to keep up with safety & styling. This video is sponsored by The Group Training Academy.

Headlight Bulb Replacement

Don’t overlook the role lighting plays in keeping drivers and passengers safe. Sponsored by The Group Training Academy.

Performance Revolution CV Axles

Are you disappointed with the relatively short lifespan of many aftermarket CV boots? This video is sponsored by GSP Automotive Group.

Other Posts

Deciphering Engine Misfire Codes

When the fuel/air mixture ignites, many factors must be met to pass a misfire monitor.

Hybrid Vehicle Fluid Maintenance

There are opportunities your shop can’t pass up just because the car or SUV has a hybrid badge on the back.

Reflashing Power Supplies

A power supply to keep the system voltage consistent is a required piece of equipment to perform a reflash procedure.

Today’s Fuel Pressure Diagnostics

Direct injection pressure is measured with sensors, and you’ll need a scan tool to measure the signals