If you own a turbocharged car
, it's important to take proper care of your turbo. This will keep you from having to get it replaced after a few thousand miles
(and most limited warranties
don't cover turbochargers).
The first thing to remember is that turbochargers need time to warm up and cool down. After starting your car when it's been sitting for a while, don't drive it hard. This is actually good advice for naturally aspirated cars as well. You need to give your engine and turbocharger time to warm up and get the oil circulating. After 10 to 15 minutes or so of easy driving, your car should be sufficiently warmed up. This gives the engine time to adjust to a fairly constant operating temperature, which keeps parts from getting too stressed. Remember, metal expands with heat and contracts with coolness.
Turbochargers get very, very hot. Not only is the turbo circulating extremely hot exhaust gases, it is also spinning at insanely high RPMs. This creates friction, and friction creates heat. Thus, turbochargers need a cool surface on which to spin with a minimum of friction. Most turbos simply use engine oil for this -- the friction is very low and the oil has the added benefit of cooling the turbo down a bit. Higher-end turbos use ball-bearings, which are more efficient.
If you don't have a ball-bearing turbo, it's very important to let your turbo cool down for at least a minute or two before you turn off your engine. The reason for this is that shutting down the engine while the turbo is hot can cause the engine oil in the turbo to "coke up", or become sludgy and sticky, coating the turbo. It's kinda like cholesterol in your arteries -- if too much builds up, the turbo will stop working and you'll be very, very unhappy. Letting the car idle for a few minutes allows the oil to circulate and cool the turbo down, thus preventing coking. Furthermore, if you use synthetic oil, it will not coke up at all. Synthetics are good.
If you don't have time to sit in your car for several minutes before shutting it down each time, you should invest in a turbo timer. Turbo timers are devices that connect to your car's ignition system and allow the car to run for a few minutes, unsupervised, then shuts it off. If anyone tries to drive off with the car during this time, the turbo timer automatically shuts off the engine. A lot of high-end alarm systems come with built-in turbo timers.
If you take good care of your turbocharged car, it should last you a nice long time. And you'll get the benefit of a blazingly fast car as well. Enjoy.