I have a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze with around 52,000 miles, which has started to drive sluggishly and struggles to accelerate. The same issue happened in the past and I had the turbo charger serviced, which fixed problem. Unfortunately, this problem is popping up again, which makes me worry that something bigger is going on. What would cause a car to lose power like this?
Turbo charged engines require a little more attention than non-turbocharged engines. The short answer to your question would be that there is a lack of preventative care. Turbochargers run at very high speeds and require usage of the engine oil for lubrication. Nearly 50% of all turbocharger failures are oil related reasons.
Dirty oil can scratch the bearings in the turbocharger and result in excessive bearing wear and premature failure. Restrictions of fresh air flow to the turbocharger, such as having a very dirty air filter, can also damage the turbo. Restrictions on the inlet side of the turbo can cause vacuum inside and damage the compressor wheel as well.
To extend the life of your turbocharger and engine, always keep your engine oil clean and full. Dirty oil can damage internal parts in both the engine and turbo. Low oil can cause low oil pressure, and that is very dangerous for the turbo that spins tens of thousands of revolutions per minute. Let the engine idle for two to five minutes upon startup. This will ensure proper oil pressure to the turbo. Letting the engine idle or cool down for two to five minutes prior to turning it off will help prevent oil varnishing on the turbo’s impeller shaft. Varnishing can affect the oil clearance on the impeller shaft, blocking oil flow and eventually causing turbo failure.
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