12 Bad Turbocharger Symptoms With It’s Cost Of Replacement!

Written By: Terrence Hines
Category: Engine, Gear

Bad Turbocharger Symptoms are warning signs that vehicle owners should take seriously. Recognizing these indicators is crucial to prevent costly damage.

On average, replacement costs can range from $1,000 to $2,500, varying based on vehicle model and labor rates. Read more to find details!

12 Bad Turbocharger Symptoms!

The symptoms of a bad turbocharger can manifest in various ways, affecting your vehicle’s performance, fuel efficiency, longevity, and overall driving experience.

From a slight decrease in power and responsiveness to noticeable changes in exhaust smoke and engine noise, some signs indicate a possible turbocharger problem.

Knowing these 12 detailed symptoms can help you promptly identify and address any turbocharger-related problems.

1. Decreased Acceleration:

One of the most distinct bad turbocharger symptoms is a significant drop in acceleration, which can be quite noticeable when stepping on the gas pedal.

12 Bad Turbocharger Symptoms With It's Cost Of Replacement!

As the turbocharger plays a crucial role in boosting the engine’s horsepower, a malfunction can result in sluggish performance and a noticeable lack of power and responsiveness.

This can translate into an inability to reach high speeds, frustrating drivers used to the turbocharged engine’s exhilarating performance.

It’s important to address any turbocharger issues promptly to ensure optimal engine performance and a smooth driving experience.

2. Excessive Exhaust Smoke:

If your vehicle emits excessive exhaust smoke, dark and thick in appearance, it could indicate a potential turbocharger issue.

This may also come with an unpleasant odor resembling burning oil, signalling a possible leak. Look out for reduced engine power and increased fuel consumption.

Promptly addressing these warning signs is crucial to prevent further damage and ensure your vehicle’s optimal performance, reliability, and longevity.

Neglecting these symptoms may lead to costly repairs and breakdowns. Stay proactive and have a qualified technician inspect and resolve any turbocharger-related issues.

3. Check Engine Light:

The illumination of the check engine light could be a symptom of numerous issues, such as a malfunctioning turbocharger.

This can lead to decreased engine performance, increased fuel consumption, or potential damage to other engine components, such as pistons or valves.

To ensure your vehicle’s longevity and optimal functioning, a professional must inspect it promptly as soon as this light comes on.

Taking immediate action can save you from expensive repairs and ensure road safety. Addressing underlying issues early on prevents further damage and potential breakdowns.

Regular maintenance and timely repairs are essential for your vehicle’s overall health and reliability.

4. Increased Oil Consumption:

An unusual increase in oil consumption can be an early indication of a potentially faulty turbocharger.

Increased Oil Consumption

This occurs when the turbocharger fails to properly regulate the oil flow, leading to excessive oil usage.

Moreover, the compromised turbocharger may also cause oil leaks, resulting in the need for frequent top-ups to maintain optimal oil levels.

Promptly addressing these issues is crucial, as prolonged oil leaks and turbocharger failure can risk engine damage, leading to costly repairs and potential safety hazards.

Regular monitoring and maintenance of the turbocharger system is highly recommended to ensure the longevity and performance of your engine.

5. Unusual Engine Noise:

When a turbocharger fails, it may produce a distinct and unmistakable loud whining noise, especially noticeable during acceleration.

This noise can be described as a high-pitched whirring sound that becomes progressively more pronounced as the engine revs up, almost like a tiny turbine spinning rapidly within the engine.

It is crucial not to overlook or dismiss this symptom, as it could indicate serious issues with the turbocharger’s bearings or internal components.

Ignoring the warning signs could lead to further damage and result in costly repairs that could have been avoided.

Therefore, it is strongly advised to seek immediate inspection and professional assistance from a qualified mechanic to diagnose and address the

6. Decreased Fuel Efficiency:

One of the common symptoms of a faulty turbocharger is a noticeable decrease in fuel efficiency.

When the turbocharger malfunctions, it can increase fuel consumption, impacting your vehicle’s performance and expenses at the pump.

This happens because the turbocharger is crucial in optimizing fuel usage by compressing the incoming air to increase power output.

However, when it fails, the engine has to work harder to compensate for the lack of compressed air, resulting in increased fuel consumption.

Hence, it’s crucial to recognize these signs and promptly resolve any turbocharger issues to ensure efficient and cost-effective vehicle operation, saving money in the long term.

7. Engine Overheating:

Turbochargers, a crucial component in enhancing engine performance, are renowned for generating substantial heat during operation.

When these turbochargers fail to function properly due to mechanical issues or inadequate maintenance, their excessive heat can pose a significant risk of engine overheating.

Engine overheating, if left unchecked, can result in detrimental consequences such as decreased power output, increased fuel consumption, and potential damage to engine components.

To ensure optimal engine performance and longevity, prioritize regular inspection, maintenance, and proper functioning of turbochargers to prevent engine overheating.

8. Poor Performance At High Speeds:

If your vehicle is not performing well at high speeds, such as lacking acceleration or power, it may indicate a faulty turbocharger.

The turbocharger is vital in modern engines, boosting power by compressing intake air before combustion.

Any malfunction or damage to the turbocharger can result in a significant power loss, especially when overtaking other vehicles.

12 Bad Turbocharger Symptoms

Promptly addressing this issue ensures optimal performance and prevents potential damage to other engine components like pistons or valves.

Regular maintenance and inspection help identify issues early, ensuring a smooth and powerful driving experience.

9. Failure To Pass Emissions:

A malfunctioning turbocharger can harm your vehicle, leading to potential failure in emission tests.

This is primarily attributed to the increased release of pollutants caused by the faulty turbocharger, compromising the environmental performance of your vehicle.

Furthermore, the excessive emission of pollutants can also contribute to the deterioration of air quality, posing health risks to humans and the ecosystem.

It is crucial to promptly address turbocharger issues to ensure optimal vehicle performance and minimize negative environmental and public health impacts.

10. Difficulty Starting The Vehicle:

If starting your car becomes difficult, the engine struggling to turn over may indicate a potential issue with the turbocharger.

A possible cause is a lack of sufficient air supply from the turbocharger to the engine, resulting in decreased performance, reduced power output, and inefficiency.

When the turbocharger fails to deliver enough compressed air, the engine may experience poor acceleration and sluggish performance.

To promptly resolve this concern, it is advisable to have your vehicle promptly inspected by a qualified mechanic.

This will allow for identifying and rectifying any turbocharger-related issues, ensuring optimal performance and longevity of your vehicle.

11. Excessive Carbon Deposits:

One of the signs that indicate a faulty turbocharger is the presence of excessive carbon deposits.

These deposits tend to accumulate due to inefficient fuel combustion, which not only hinders performance but also reduces the longevity of the turbocharger.

This, in turn, can significantly impact engine efficiency and power output, ultimately affecting the vehicle’s overall performance.

Therefore, it is crucial to promptly address these symptoms to ensure optimal turbocharger function and prevent any further damage to the engine.

By maintaining the health of the turbocharger, you can greatly enhance the driving experience and improve your vehicle’s overall reliability.

12. Oil In The Exhaust:

The presence of oil in the exhaust can indicate a malfunctioning turbocharger, a crucial component responsible for the engine’s performance.

This can occur when oil seeps through leaks in the turbocharger, making its way into the exhaust system and leaving noticeable traces of oil.

Addressing this issue promptly is crucial to prevent additional damage and ensure the vehicle functions optimally and efficiently.

Oil In The Exhaust

By promptly fixing the turbocharger and preventing further oil leakage, you can safeguard the longevity and reliability of your vehicle’s engine.

Replacement Cost (In Detail) Of Bad Turbocharger

Replacing a bad turbocharger can be costly, so it’s vital to be vigilant for bad turbocharger symptoms.

The exact price of a turbocharger replacement can vary greatly depending on the make and model of your vehicle and the quality of the parts used.

You can expect to pay between $1000 and $3000 for parts and labor.

This includes the cost of the turbocharger itself, which can range from $200 to $500 for a low-end model and up to $2500 for a high-end.

Remember, labor constitutes a significant portion of the replacement cost, as it’s a complex task that requires expert knowledge.

Component/AspectCost Range
Turbocharger (Low-End Model)$200 – $500
Turbocharger (High-End Model)Up to $2500
Parts and MaterialsVaries
Total Replacement Cost$1000 – $3000

Also, ignoring bad turbocharger symptoms can lead to more severe engine damage, exponentially increasing your repair costs.

Therefore, addressing any turbocharger issues as soon as they appear is always wise.


Recognizing addressing any turbocharger issues as soon as they appear is always wise immediately can save your vehicle and wallet from significant damage.

These symptoms, such as difficulty starting the vehicle, excessive carbon deposits, and oil in the exhaust, may indicate a failing turbocharger that requires immediate attention.

Although replacing a faulty turbocharger can be significant, ranging from $1000 to $3000, it is a worthwhile investment.

This preventive measure safeguards against additional engine damage and guarantees optimal vehicle performance.

Therefore, every vehicle owner must stay vigilant for bad turbocharger symptoms and address them promptly.

Terrence Hines

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