How The Turbocharger Works in a Car?

There is no such thing as the perfect invention simply because we could always create something cheaper, better, more environmentally friendly and cheaper, or more efficient. For example, you would think that the internal combustion is a significant engine, which could help you to drive your car much faster than any other devices. But it is always viable to make an engine which would go further, faster, or consume less gas.

One method to improve the engine in your car is using turbocharger or turbo. It is generally a pair of fans which uses power of waste exhaust at the back of the engine to push more amount of air to the front part. You must have heard of turbocharger, but how exactly does it work? We will show you more useful information in this article.

What is a Turbocharger?​

For most car drivers, it is apparent that exhaust fumes are causing air pollution, but it is much less obvious that they are also wasting energy simultaneously. In fact, the exhaust is a combination of all the power it has and hot gases coming out at speed, which would disappeared uselessly in the air. In this case, a turbo will harness this waste energy somehow to help your vehicle run faster.

In general, the vehicle engine generates power by burning gas in robust metal can or known as cylinder. The amount of energy that a vehicle could produce is related directly to the speed of burning fuel. Theoretically, the more and the bigger cylinders your car has, the more gas the vehicle could burn every second and the quicker it could run.

Therefore, a method to make your car run quicker is to install more cylinders. That is the reason why super-fast sport cars are often designed with 8 and even 12 cylinders instead of 4 or 6 cylinders in a normal family vehicle. Another choice is to apply a turbo, which pushes more amount of air to the cylinders every second so that they could burn gas at a quicker rate. In general, turbo is a cheap and quite simple device that could get more energy from the similar engine.

How Does The Turbocharger Work?​

The fundamental idea in this device is that the exhaust will drive the red fan (or the turbine), which is connected directly and powers the blue fan (or the compressor), which helps to push more air to the engine. To have better understanding, the following is the process how a turbo works:

  • 1. The cool air comes into air intake of the engine and then heads to the compressor.
  • 2. Fan of the compressor works to suck in the air.
  • 3. The compressor helps to squeeze and heat up the coming air and then blow it out again.
  • 4. Compressed and hot air from the compressor moves to a heat exchanger, which helps to cool it down.
  • 5. Compressed and cool air comes into air intake of the cylinder. The additional amount of oxygen burns gas in the cylinder in a quicker speed.
  • 6. As the cylinder would burn more gas, it will generate power more rapidly and could provide more energy to the wheels through gears, shafts and the piston.
  • 7. Waste gas in the cylinder comes out via the exhaust outlet.
  • 8. The hot exhaust gas blowing past fan of the turbine fan makes it spin at quick speed.
  • 9. The rotating turbine is put on the similar shaft like the compressor. Thus, when the turbine rotates, the compressor rotates too.
  • 10. The exhaust gas comes out of the vehicle, thereby wasting less power than it could otherwise.

Pros and Cons of a Turbocharger

Pros

  • Considerable increase in the horsepower.
  • Size versus power: the turbo would the smaller engine displacement to generate much more energy relative to its size.
  • Better fuel economy: a smaller engine will use less gas to idle, and has less reciprocating as well as rotational mass, which helps to improve its fuel economy.
  • Better efficiency: A turbo would run off the energy which is generally lost in supercharged and naturally-aspirated engine (or exhaust gas). So, the recovery of the power helps to improve the general efficiency of your car’s engine.

Cons

  • Turbocharger lag: a couple models of turbo, particularly the large ones, will need more time to spool up or offer useful boost.
  • Boost threshold: Some traditional turbo are usually designed for a couple ranges of RPM in which the flow of exhaust gas is enough to make extra boost for your car’s engine. In addition, they generally do not work across the large range of RPM as the superchargers.
  • Surge of power: in several applications of turbo, particularly with bigger models, reaching boost threshold could nearly give an immediately surge in the power, which would lead to the instability or compromise traction of tires in your car.
  • Requirement of oil: In times, the turbo would tap into the oil supply of the engine and becomes very hot. As a result, it needs extra plumbing as well as more amount of oil for the engine. In general, supercharger does not need oil lubrication for engine.
John Henry
 

I am John Henry and I have begun to work in automotive industry since the 90s, specializing in car rebuilding and repair. After nearly two decades of working in this complex section, with extensive experience in repairing, troubleshooting and maintaining thousands of cars, I started to work as an auto blogger to share my practical knowledge as well as skills with car owners all around the world through a wide range of articles in online magazine.

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