The Disadvantages of Turbochargers

by Ted Marten

Turbochargers are designed to significantly increase an engine’s horsepower and cause the vehicle to operate at higher rates of speed. A turbocharger is a type of gas compressor that increases the amount of fuel that can be burned in an engine, which improves the power and performance. While having the additional power of a turbocharger may come with definite advantages, this device has some disadvantages as well.


Installation is a key component in the effectiveness of a turbocharger, and not all mechanics are capable of installing one properly. If the mechanic even makes a minor mistake, it will not only make the turbocharger ineffective, but may cause damage within the engine.


The system in some vehicles may not be able to handle a turbocharger and can cause the system to malfunction and break down. This is often caused by the inadequate fuel-to-oxygen ratio. A professional mechanic needs to make the modifications to the engine and increase the fuel ratio to ensure the maximum benefit of the turbocharger. Turbochargers also can cause wear and tear on an engine and may also require an engine to be replaced sooner then expected.


Turbochargers are quite expensive, and it’s important to determine whether the advantages are worth the cost. When calculating the cost of a turbocharger, it’s also important to include the service charge and installation. Turbochargers often cost between $2,000 and $5,000 as of 2010.


Because turbocharged vehicles travel at high speeds, any malfunctions could lead to dangerous situations. While a turbocharger may be beneficial for those living in the mountains and having to climb steep hills, traveling at high speeds could cause a driver to veer off the road or crash into another vehicle. Driving at fast speeds can be dangerous on commercial roads and lead to accidents or suspension of license.

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