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What is a car turbo?
Car turbos are most commonly associated with diesel and high performance vehicles, but they are also increasingly being used in petrol cars as a method of improving engine efficiency and performance. The idea behind a turbocharger is simple. When your car’s engine runs, it sucks air in through the air filter, which is then mixed with fuel and ignited, creating the power that drives the engine. This ignition process creates waste gases which escape through the exhaust system.
A turbo uses these gases to spin a turbine (essentially, a propeller) and this turbine is then used to push more air into the engine than it would naturally suck in. As a result, your engine can burn more of the air/fuel mixture than it otherwise would, generating more power. Turbocharging is increasingly popular in everyday petrol cars because it allows more power to be generated from smaller engines, without increasing fuel consumption and emissions to the level of an equivalent larger engine.
Turbo replacement average costs and prices
The average cost of a turbo replacement or repair booked via WhoCanFixMyCar is £868.60 The exact cost will depend on where you take it. The table below gives you a general idea of the costs for common car makes.
|Car make||Average price|
The average cost of a turbo replacement when booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £868.60. Your car's turbo is designed to last a lifetime, but you may need a replacement if it becomes damaged. If you experience white/blue smoke coming from your exhaust pipe, a loss of power, and a drilling noise coming from the engine, you may need a turbo replacement.Can include
- Visual inspection and diagnosis
- Turbo replacement
- Turbo fault repair
The average cost of a car diagnostic booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £48.
Car diagnostics testing involves plugging your vehicle into special software that can reveal issues with its engine, electrical system, transmission, braking, exhaust system, and more. A specialist will run tests on your vehicle to expose the cause of any problems you're having with your car.Can include
- Full diagnostic testing
- Recommended repairs
The average cost of a mobile mechanic booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £62.54.
A mobile mechanic will visit you at your home or workplace and can carry out a wide range of different repairs. If the repair is more complex, the mechanic will collect your car, take it to a garage to be repaired, and drop it off when it's finished. The exact cost of a mobile mechanic will depend on the repair you need.Can include
- Home visit
- Tyre change
- Oil change
- Recommended repairs
Which turbo repair or replacement service do you need?
Here are some common services that come under turbo servicing that can be booked from our network of garages:
A blown turbocharger should be replaced as soon as the first signs appear. The average cost of a turbo replacement is around £868.60. However, the cost varies greatly depending on the car model.
In most scenarios, a turbocharger can be repaired, unless the outer housings are damaged. It is better not to delay a turbo repair because it will result in more expensive work.
I don’t know
Unsure of whether your turbo requires attention? Get the mechanic to take a look at what's wrong with your turbo in the first place. There may be several different components in your turbocharger that require attention.
Book your car for a diagnostic and the mechanic will be able to tell you whether the turbo needs a repair or replacement.
Top warning signs that the turbo needs to be replaced
Exhaust pipe is releasing blue-black or white smoke on acceleration
High pitched whining sound when accelerating
Increased oil consumption over a short period of time
Reduced boost showing on the boost gauge
Vehicle has limited performance above a certain engine speed
Any of the above symptoms indicate that you need to have a turbo specialist to inspect the turbo to diagnose the issue.
Common turbo problems
A faulty turbo can be caused by a number of issues. Firstly, it may be the result of the wrong type or amount of engine oil. Poor quality oil or indeed the wrong oil grade can result in a buildup of carbon deposits and engine contaminants which both cause direct and abrasive damage to the part. Damaged seals that are cracked and worn may also be the source of your issues as it may let oil leak into your exhaust system. This then makes the turbo work excessively hard to increase the air pressure levels.
Turbo failure may also be the result of foreign objects in the compressor housing which can cause direct damage to the turbo.
To avoid this issue, you should regularly check the area for any debris and get your car serviced. Additionally, your car’s mileage and age may simply be the result.
How long does a turbo last?
Turbos are designed to last as long as the car, around 150,000 miles. But they may wear prematurely if it was fitted poorly originally or if you drive particularly forcefully.
When should you replace a turbo?
If a turbocharger problem is ignored, then the worst thing that can happen is engine damage, which will be more expensive than a turbo replacement or repair. A faulty turbocharger needs to be replaced as soon as you notice some warning signs. If left for too long, the oil from the turbocharger can get into your catalytic converter. When this happens it will result in the total failure of the catalytic converter. This means the whole exhaust system needs to be replaced. The replacement of the exhaust system is around £3500 so to avoid this, it is better to pay attention to the early warning signs of a failing turbocharger and have it booked in for inspection.
Find turbo replacement and repair specialists
We can help you find local turbo replacement and repair specialist garages. If you have identified that your turbo needs attention, the next step is to find a trustworthy garage to carry out the service.
WhoCanFixMyCar’s large network of garages and mobile mechanics can help repair, service or replace your turbo. We help you find and compare quotes from reputable garages near you who will be trained to service your vehicle.
How does a car turbo work?
When your car’s engine runs, it sucks air in through the air filter, which is then mixed with fuel and ignited, creating the power that drives the engine. This ignition process creates waste gases which escape through the exhaust system.
A turbo uses these gases to spin a turbine (essentially, a propeller) and this turbine is then used to push more air into the engine than it would naturally suck in. As a result, your engine can burn more of the air-fuel mixture than it otherwise would, generating more power.
What are the common problems with the turbo?
Common problems with turbo include cracks or leaks in the system, reduced pressure, poor lubrication which causes damage to bearings and sometimes, foreign objects like small stones which damage the blades of the turbo.
What are the symptoms of a failing turbo?
Common turbo fault symptoms include blue-white smoke and reduced power when accelerating, reduced boost on the pressure gauge (if one's fitted) and, sometimes, a whining noise - like a dentist's drill - when accelerating.
How much does a turbo replacement cost?
A replacement turbo is a pricey item and replacement will typically cost over £1000. However individual components can often be repaired, which is much more cost-effective. A garage inspection will inform you of the next steps.
What happens if my turbo breaks?
Turbo failure will cause one or more of the following symptoms: reduced engine power, blue/black smoke when accelerating, or a whining 'dentist's drill' noise when accelerating. Average rating for Turbo Faults and Replacement bookings
How long does it take to carry out a turbo replacement?
The time for turbo replacements varies, depending on the car model and workshop and can be between 2 – 8 hours. However, the average time for a turbo replacement is 3-4 hours.