What is a turbo for cars and how does it work?

Do you want to know more in detail about the turbo for cars? We created this article to explain you much more in depth about the turbo for cars.

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Nowadays, the turbocharger for a car’s compressor has become a very common and in some ways almost indispensable element in today’s engines. 

They strive for lower fuel consumption and maximum efficiency, as well as lower emissions first and foremost. 

The automotive turbocharger can be defined as a supercharging system for internal combustion engines; it compresses the air that is perceived from the outside.

This whole process makes it possible to get much more oxygen into what would be the combustion chamber of our car, and thus the mixture present in the cylinders making it generate much more power.

It should be noted that this makes it possible for this to happen without the need to increase the cylinder capacity. This in turn effectively limits the constant emission of polluting gases and the increase in fuel consumption.

How the turbo works for cars

Let’s take a four-stroke engine as an example, the air coming from outside will naturally reach the cylinders at the same pressure as it is in the atmosphere. 

It is from this process that naturally aspirated engines are called naturally aspirated or naturally aspirated.

In many demanding situations, the air volume may be insufficient, which means that an increase in displacement is necessary. 

This is nothing more than changing cylinder sizes, with the aim of an increase in displacement. 

Another better option is to use a turbocharger in order to artificially increase engine thrust.

It should be noted that this important and popular mechanical element is responsible for receiving all the exhaust gases that have already been expelled from the cylinder by the cylinder’s exhaust valve. 


How many types of car turbochargers are there?

Nowadays we will find many different forms of turbocharging for internal combustion engines; among the most prominent we can find these four types of turbochargers for cars:

Fixed Geometry:

It is the cheapest and most efficient in the automotive market, but has the worst response time due to the lack of moving parts. 

Variable Geometry:

This type of automotive turbine consists of moving parts; this will allow the automotive turbo to more effectively utilise the gases to increase its performance and all this at low revolutions.

The same can be found in diesel engines on a regular basis. 

Twin Scroll:

This will allow better air channelling to the cylinders; all this thanks to independent ducts. 

At the same time, this will provide much better performance over the entire speed range. 


In this type of car turbocharger, the exhaust gases are not used, but the turbo is fed by the engine itself, which is very positive because it provides a quick response throughout the entire engine speed. 

It should be noted that it has an increased consumption as a negative point, it is mechanically simple but also very heavy to install. 

Related article: Euro 6 standard: What is it and what is it about?

The turbo in petrol and diesel cars

Generally speaking, a turbocharged petrol engine will give you a better response when it comes to mid-range revs, while a naturally aspirated engine performs much better in the extra rev range. 

And although it offers much lower fuel consumption, as well as emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants, it is also good to keep in mind that it is more reliable and more expensive to maintain.

Finally, a naturally aspirated petrol engine will give you a much more direct and progressive power delivery, because it lacks the shift response lag that is so characteristic of this system.

How to keep the turbo of our car in good condition?

To help you understand the importance of good turbo maintenance for cars, we need only tell you that turbocharger turbines can exceed 200,000 revolutions per minute.

This will cause temperatures of around 1000°C, which is why it is necessary to minimise their stress as much as possible and to extend their lifetime as much as possible.

In addition, a failure of the turbo for cars could be very costly. 

To extend the service life of your car turbo, it is good to follow healthy turbo usage habits:

  • This is because, like the rest of the engine of our car, the turbo is greased in the initial phase of its use.
  • We must not accelerate sharply at a standstill, this is done in order to avoid a bad rotation of the turbines. 
  • Use a quality oil and check its level and condition regularly.
  • Replace air and oil filters at the recommended intervals.
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