Q: Loss of power using turbo

asked by on May 19, 2016

My turbo isn't working - the car frequently drops down to a lower power level. For instance, I was on a long trip last week. The car started out driving okay, but then the power cut down, the engine light and engine management light lit up, and the glow plug light popped up. When I shut off the car, it reset the power. Stopping and restarting the engine restores the driving power (though the management light stayed on), but the glow-plug comes on and the power drops anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes later. While I was driving back, the management light was still on, but the power stayed constant whether I was driving gently or pushing it. The dealership is recommending a new turbo, but these don't seem to point at my vanes sticking. What do you think? My local dealer has recommended a new turbo but these symptoms don't seem to me to be because the vanes are sticking. Any ideas?

It sounds like the vehicle is going into limp mode. This occurs when the powertrain control module (PCM) (also known as the electrical control unit) has determined there is an overboost condition. The computer disables the turbo to prevent damage from occurring. There are many potential causes for an overboost condition, with a failed turbo being just one of them.

Some other possibilities include vacuum leaks, a faulty vane adjustment solenoid, faulty turbo actuator or a bad MAF sensor. There is a technical service bulletin (TSB) # 21-07-65, which advises to check for vacuum leaks before replacing the turbo.

If you would like a second opinion from the dealer, I suggest you give the team at YourMechanic a call to inspect your loss of power condition.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Car wont shift into 5th gear

Hello, What you are describing may be a result of a faulty speed sensor, potentially low transmission fluid or a even a faulty transmission control solenoid. As your vehicle travels down the road, the computer analyzes data being sent by...

Excessive vibration at idle 2002 VW Jetta

Hi - I suspect your rough idling is an air leak (loose hose or crack in the air intake), or dirty idle air control valve. A leaking exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve would also cause rough idling. I recommend a...

Why does my Car jerks when put from park to drive

Hi there. In most cases when the car lunges or jerks when you shift into gear, it's due to mechanical gears not properly aligning or components in the driveline system (such as driveshaft, input and output shafts) being loose or...

Related articles

Why Do Cars Have Different Oil Change Intervals?
Car oil change intervals depend on the make, model, and year of the car. The correct type of oil and how the vehicle is used makes a difference too.
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Volkswagen Passat
Redesigned Redesigned for American buyers, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat is roomier, has more standard features, and costs less than previous models. All that, and you still get everything you look for in a German-built sedan, including the on-road dynamics, power,...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Volkswagen GTI
The The 2012 Volkswagen GTI has a good suspension offering a smooth drive on any type of pavement. The interior feels luxurious because of the high quality materials used for the seats and the overall unique design of the vehicle....