Turbo maintenance tips – all about the oil

Mar 27, 2014
Turbo maintenance tips - all about the oil 1

At AET, we know that prevention is always better than the cure, and whilst we’re always here to help when things go wrong with your turbocharger, we understand you’d rather not have to use our services!

As the title suggests, when it comes to turbocharging maintenance, oil has a big part to play.

In this guide, we take a look at the importance of oil when it comes to looking after your turbocharger, and provide some handy maintenance tips designed to prolong the life of your turbo and keep it running at tip-top condition.


There are a lot of moving parts in a turbocharger, and during operation these move at high speeds. Oil lubricates and protects your turbocharger, and without effective lubrication from oil, turbo components can rub against each other, causing wear and friction damage.

Wear and friction damage can cause a range of problems, from reducing performance and efficiency, to causing catastrophic failures and destroying the turbocharger entirely! Friction damage only takes a second, and by the time your engine oil light has come on, it could be too late.

To ensure that your turbocharger is effectively lubricated, it’s vital that you always make sure that you keep your engine oil levels topped up, so check them regularly, especially before long journeys.

Servicing, oil and contamination

It might sound obvious, but having your car serviced regularly and in accordance with the intervals set out in your vehicle handbook is vital, and it’s a big part of oil maintenance.

Failure to change your oil regularly can lead to the oil becoming contaminated, and carbonising inside your turbocharger, causing abrasive damage to the components inside.

As part of any service, your mechanic should change the oil as standard (ensure they use the right, high grade oil!) but it’s also important to ensure that they replace the oil filter, which prevents contaminants from getting into your engine.

This step is vital - contaminated oil is one of the leading causes of turbocharger faults, and even small bits of debris, dust and grit can cause irreparable wear and friction damage to your turbo.

The right oil

Oil doesn’t just lubricate the moving parts in your turbocharger – it’s also there to help draw the heat away from the turbo when in operation.

The oil needs to be thin enough when cold to provide effective lubrication to all the moving parts, whilst remaining thick enough at higher temperatures generated during driving.

Not all oil is created equally, and it’s vital that you use a high grade, fully synthetic oil (fully synthetic oil produces fewer carbon deposits) that’s suitable for your vehicle. Check in your vehicle handbook for the API quality specifications to help you choose the right product.

How we can help

Sometimes, even the most carefully maintained turbos can fail – and if yours starts to experience any problems, we’re always here to provide cost-effective, high quality repairs and replacements.

With over 40 years of experience working on turbochargers for all kinds of passenger and commercial vehicles, you can come to us in the confidence that your turbo is in safe hands.

Get in touch with a member of our friendly, expert team today to discuss your requirements on 01924 588 266.

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