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What is a Turbocharged Engine in a Car? - Pros and cons

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by Ishaq Nabi


5 min read

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Car companies are using turbocharged engines in greater numbers as a result of stricter fuel efficiency standards. However, one may think what is a turbocharged engine in a car?

A turbocharged engine is a gasoline or diesel-powered engine, in which the air intake of the engine is mechanically driven by a turbine. A turbocharger increases the density of air entering an engine and allows better performance from it.

Having said that, one may think of the difference between a regular engine and a turbocharged engine. Apart from that, some people may also be interested in the advantages and disadvantages of such types of engines.

Well, luckily we've compiled this article for you to learn everything on this subject and make an informed decision.

Naturally aspirated vs. Turbocharged vs. Supercharged Engine

As we have mentioned before, a turbocharged engine is a type of internal combustion engine in which the air intake is driven by a turbine.

In other words, it's a system that compresses the fuel-air mixture sucked from the atmosphere to be used in combustion chambers. Such engines can provide enormous benefits and advantages for your car.

Naturally aspirated engine
Naturally aspirated engine

However, there are several major types of engines in the market. The first type is a naturally aspirated engine, in which the intake air is not compressed at all.

Normally what happens with such an engine is that it uses atmospheric pressure to provide input into the cylinders. It means that there is no need for any additional power components.

Naturally aspirated engines are usually cheaper, but they tend to lose power when the engine gains speed. In other words, naturally aspirated engines that provide good performance at low speeds, don't always have the same great performance at high speeds.

The second type is a turbocharged engine in which air is compressed even further than in naturally aspirated engines.

Turbocharger on an Engine
A turbocharger on an Engine

A turbocharged engine provides more power than naturally aspirated ones but it also costs you more money to buy one. However, there is another option that can provide better performance at a lower cost and it's called a supercharger.

Superchargers are powered by the car's engine and they aren't as powerful as a turbo. However, they cost less and that means that you can enjoy better performance at a lower price.

Pros of Turbocharged Engine

Now that you know what actually a turbocharged engine is and also know its difference, let's take a look at the advantages of having such a type of engine.

More power from a Smaller Engine

As we have mentioned before, a turbocharged engine is more powerful than a naturally aspirated one. The main reason for this is the compressors that force the air into the cylinders to increase their density.

What happens when you use turbochargers is that you make your engine smaller but somewhat more powerful. Also, what's interesting about engines with a turbo is that they provide you more torque at lower speeds so things like acceleration will be better.

Less fuel consumption and pollutant emission

Turbocharged engines don't only make your car more powerful, but they also decrease the amount of gas it consumes. This not only makes your car different from others, but it also saves you money.

There is another advantage you get from such types of engines and it's that they emit fewer pollutants. When the air intake system of your car is driven by a turbine, this automatically increases the volume of air passing through your engine and thus decreases the number of pollutants released into the atmosphere.

More Torque low in the RPM range

We have already mentioned that turbocharged engines provide better performance than naturally aspirated ones. What we didn't mention is that such engines always provide you more torque than their counterparts at low speeds.

The reason for this is because the compressed air released from a turbine provides more power and thus your car can accelerate faster. They also help with hill starts because they increase the torque at low RPMs.

More Torque low in the RPM range

Cons of Turbocharged Engine

Before we end this article, let's take a quick look at the disadvantages of having turbocharged engines. It will help you learn about such types of engines more and help you make a decision whether you need to install one on your vehicle or not.

Turbocharger Adds Complexity to the Engine

The first thing you need to know about such types of engines is that they add complexity. While adding a turbocharger can make your car more powerful and reduce its fuel consumption, it also adds some problems like having more important maintenance costs and sometimes even overheating issues.

Turbocharger Adds Complexity to the EngineTurbocharger Adds Complexity to the Engine

Turbochargers Wear Out Over Time

Another problem with turbocharged engines is that the turbochargers themselves wear out over time. If you use your car regularly, then you will most likely have to replace this component sooner or later.

More Sensitive to Performance Degradation

Turbocharged engines are more sensitive to performance degradation when compared to naturally aspirated ones. This means that if your car isn't tuned properly, then you will feel the difference.

Constant Maintenance is needed

Turbocharged engines need constant maintenance to perform properly and that also means that you will spend more money on gas than usual. Also, turbocharged engines can sometimes be too demanding for inexperienced drivers because of their potential trashing issues.

Turbocharged engines need constant maintenance

To Sum it Up

Turbocharged engines are more powerful when compared to naturally aspirated ones, but they also come with some disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that turbochargers wear out over time and need constant maintenance.

If you have an unreliable car or don't know how to maintain your vehicle properly, then a turbocharged engine may not be the best option for you.

However, this type of engine provides better fuel consumption than its counterparts which means less money spent on gas in the long run, especially if it's well-tuned!

Turbocharged engines are a great addition to any vehicle and they can provide you more power and torque at lower speeds. This means that your car will be safer to drive in the city, but it can also help with hill starts.

Turbocharged engines can also help you save money because they consume less fuel.

However, the main problem with turbocharged engines is that they add complexity to your car and thus require more expensive maintenance.

Although there are a few problems associated with such types of engines, if a vehicle is properly maintained then a turbocharged engine can be extremely beneficial!

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