How Long Does A Diesel Turbo Last?

Turbochargers have a high level of dependability. In fact, only around 1% of warranty checks uncover a problem with the turbo; instead, blown turbos are typically the result of engine lubrication issues or the entrance of foreign items.


Your car’s engine oil is literally its life blood. It lubricates important moving parts, protects them from corrosion, and keeps them cool when in operation.

The turbocharger requires a steady supply of clean, high-quality oil. A shortage of oil (oil starvation), the wrong grade of oil, or poor quality oil will cause pollutants to build up in the engine (oil contamination). This may cause abrasive damage to the turbo’s interior.

It is critical to replace the engine oil and oil filter at the manufacturer’s suggested intervals.


Oil will seep into the exhaust system if the seals between the compressor and the engine become worn or fractured. As a result, the turbo is forced to work harder in order to increase air pressure.

Over-speeding is another term for this issue. In the end, the turbo’s efficiency and boost will suffer as a result.


A turbocharger consists of two basic components: the compressor in the front and the turbine in the back. Foreign objects such as dust, dirt, leaves, and small stones can sometimes enter the turbo through the compressor or turbine inlet.

The air filter is usually where the foreign object enters the compressor housing. When a foreign object damages the turbine, however, the problem is usually caused by the engine itself.

If foreign items begin to harm the compressor wheels or turbine blades, the turbo’s efficiency will suffer. Your air filter should be serviced and replaced on a regular basis to avoid this. Check for debris in your turbo as well.


Turbos are supposed to last the life of the vehicle (about 150,000 miles); nevertheless, depending on how hard you drive the car and the turbo’s original construction quality, they may wear down over time.

How long does a turbo on a diesel engine last?

How Long Does A Turbo Last On A Diesel Truck? Heavy-duty turbo diesel engines may travel up to 500,000 kilometers on average. Because most turbo engines produce more power than naturally aspirated engines, they will remain efficient for decades.

How often should turbos be replaced?

Between 100,000 and 150,000 miles, most turbochargers need to be replaced. If you take good care of your automobile and receive regular oil changes, your turbocharger could last even longer.

How can I tell if my diesel turbo is malfunctioning?

There are five distinct signs of turbocharger failure, so let’s go over the signs and symptoms that may indicate the need for service:

Sluggish Acceleration

Because the turbocharger is designed to give the engine more power, acceleration should be quick when it’s working properly. You should be able to feel your vehicle’s overall power rise. When the turbocharger fails, though, you’ll notice that your car’s acceleration becomes slow and it lacks the power it formerly had.

Guzzling Oil

If you’re having to top off your engine oil on a frequent basis but there’s no sign of a leak, it’s time to look into your turbocharger’s condition. An endoscope can be used to determine whether the turbo is malfunctioning. If you discover oil failure when peering inside the turbocharger, it’s a sure sign that your charger is on its way out. To avoid utter failure, this problem should be addressed as soon as possible.

Increased Exhaust Emissions

Turbochargers can acquire cracks in their housing as well as wear on their internal seals over time. Oil spills may occur as a result of this. When oil leaks from the turbo system, it finds its way into the associated exhaust system due to the turbocharger’s interaction with the exhaust system. Because the exhaust system is extremely hot, the oil will burn, resulting in blueish-gray exhaust gases. When the turbocharger is used, the gasses will darken in hue. The exhaust gases from a healthy truck will be clear, thus any coloring should be studied.

Engine Management Light/Check Engine Light

The check engine light (EML) is another name for the Engine Management Light (EML). When the ECU (engine control unit) detects a problem or a change in engine performance, this light will illuminate. Of fact, the EML can illuminate for a multitude of reasons, ranging from a faulty gas cap to a serious engine problem and everything in between. So it’s possible that it’s not due to your turbocharger. However, following the illumination of this indicator, you should always be thorough with diagnostic work and rule out the turbocharger as the major reason.

Whining Noises

When a turbocharger isn’t performing properly, it might make loud and unpleasant whining noises. This can be so loud that it resembles a siren, and it will only get louder as the situation worsens. If you’ve been experiencing one or more of the aforementioned symptoms, your turbocharger is most likely to blame and should be repaired as soon as possible, preferably before you reach this point of breakdown.

Are turbo diesel engines dependable?

Customers who drive a lot of highway miles prefer diesel engines, according to Bell Performance and Road and Track, because they are more efficient on these roads than gas engines. Diesel fuel simply has more energy per gallon than gasoline, making it more cost-effective overall. Diesel engines are still more fuel efficient than gasoline engines, but they are less so for city drivers. Diesel cars also have higher torque, which means they get better gas mileage and accelerate faster.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that some types of diesel fuel can reduce vehicle performance. Black diesel, biodiesel, and other improved diesel products are among them.

Diesel and gasoline are around the same price for most Americans. Diesel can sometimes be more expensive than gasoline, and it can also be less expensive than gasoline. Even if you pay more on diesel fuel, a diesel engine will still provide better fuel efficiency over the life of the car. This is because an 8-liter gasoline engine would be required to produce the same level of power as a 6-liter diesel engine.

Diesel engines, according to Digital Trends, are more durable and endure longer than gas engines, with reliable operation and low maintenance requirements. Diesel cars used to be substantially heavier than comparable-sized gas cars, but thanks to contemporary production technologies, this is no longer an issue.

Diesel engines also have fewer components than gasoline engines, reducing the number of potential parts that could fail in your vehicle.

Diesel engines often require fewer repair and maintenance services than gasoline engines, resulting in a cost savings.

While early diesel engines had a well-deserved reputation for being noisy, current technology has largely addressed this issue. Noise pollution and dark smoke have been reduced, so if you were concerned about those issues in previous decades, you may wish to reconsider diesel as a viable option. Today, the driving experience in a diesel-powered vehicle is essentially identical to that of a gasoline-powered vehicle.

How can I make my turbo last longer?

The automobile turbocharger (as most drivers know it) is used to improve the power output of smaller displacement engines. They enable smaller engines to achieve performance levels comparable to their bigger displacement counterparts. Most passenger and truck diesel engines use turbochargers to increase horsepower and torque across the rpm range.

Most of you are familiar with the fundamental operation of a turbocharger, which involves harnessing heat and exhaust flow from the engine to spin a turbine wheel at high speeds. An impeller wheel located within the turbocharger’s compressor housing is attached to the opposite end of the turbine shaft. The impeller’s blades compress and force air into the engine to help it produce more power. The extra pressure is subsequently vented through a regulated wastegate, which keeps boost under control at varied engine loads. Before entering the combustion chamber, air exiting the turbo is normally cooled by passing through a cooler (similar to coolant passing through a radiator). Because cooler air is denser, it generates greater power while lowering the risk of detonation.

Though turbochargers have traditionally been employed to raise engine power, it appears that they are now also being used to improve fuel economy. For example, Ford’s Ecoboost engines use a turbo to boost the performance of a four-cylinder engine to that of a six-cylinder while keeping the four’s fuel economy high.

Turbochargers enhance heat inside the combustion chamber by increasing compression and power. All of this work can, in the end, lead to catastrophic turbocharger or engine failure if not properly maintained.

Here are some simple methods to help turbocharged engine owners extend the life of their turbochargers:

1. Change your engine oil on a regular basis. Turbo impellers spin at extremely high speeds, thus lubricating the impeller shaft and bearing in your turbocharger is essential. Most turbocharged vehicles have a substantially shorter oil life than naturally aspirated equivalents, so make sure to flush your system with new fluid on a regular basis. For safety’s sake, I always performed an oil change a few hundred miles ahead of schedule on every turbo car I’ve had.

2. Make sure the airflow to and from your turbo is as unobstructed as possible. In prior films, I stressed the significance of maintaining a clean input tract and filter. In one, I demonstrated how a dirty filter might degrade engine performance and even displayed an example of a dirty filter on a BMW 335i belonging to one of our coworkers.

Those filters were barely inches from the turbo entrance in his case, starving it of clean air and lowering performance. Make it a practice to inspect the intercooler piping and filters on a regular basis to ensure that only clean air is flowing to the intake.

3. Don’t forget about your intercooler. Most turbocharged cars include one, either an air to air or an air to liquid converter, which helps lower compressed air temperatures and introduces denser air into the mix. Always keep an eye out for bent fins, debris, or dents in your inter cooler. I can’t tell you how many turbocharged cars I see with faulty coolers, both factory and aftermarket.

4. Ensure that coolant is flushed on a regular basis. Most of us, and let’s be honest here, don’t give this much thought because we only add coolant when it’s needed, or cleanse coolant when another repair requires it, and I’m no exception. It’s critical, especially in turbocharged vehicles, to limit heat to a bare minimum. Most turbo automobiles will have lines flowing to and from the impeller shaft housings, which are utilized to maintain cooler temperatures. Flush your coolant on a regular basis.

Poor lubrication or oil breakdown are common causes of turbocharger failure. The turbo exhaust housing’s high temperature sends a lot of heat to the shaft bearings in the center housing. Bearing failure can occur if the flow of coolant or oil to the turbo housing is restricted or lost. For turbo engines, synthetic oil is recommended since it can take higher temperatures better than regular oil.

Which diesel engine is the most durable?

Because diesel pickup trucks have more durable engines that can sustain greater compression ratios, they often obtain better economy than gas trucks. Powerstroke, Cummins, and Duramax diesel vehicles often last well beyond 100,000 miles, even when used frequently for towing and hauling. As a result, diesel pickups with 200,000 or even 300,000 kilometers sometimes attract high resale values on the secondhand truck market. Drivers shopping for a used diesel pickup understand that a truck’s life isn’t over just because it has a lot of miles on it.

With modern trucks surviving longer than ever before, it’s not uncommon to come across gas trucks with 200,000-mile lifespans. Diesel trucks, on the other hand, can exceed that limit. Diesel pickup trucks may easily last 500,000 miles or more. It isn’t simply their engines that are more durable. Because diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, diesel vehicle hulls are designed and constructed to be more durable.

Not all high-mileage diesel trucks are created equal, much like other cars. For example, a diesel pickup that has been used extensively for towing and transporting large loads for 100,000 miles may require serious repairs, whereas a diesel pickup that has been sparingly used and has 200,000 miles on the clock may still have years of trouble-free life ahead of it. However, it’s also crucial to know that the life expectancy of a diesel vehicle is determined by a variety of other elements outside the odometer reading, such as:

For example, a 200,000-mile diesel pickup with only one or two owners and strong maintenance records is likely to be a better investment than a 100,000-mile vehicle with four owners and few records.

The general condition and appearance of the truck are also significant. A truck with a well-kept exterior and interior is likely to have had its mechanical components well-kept as well.

Duramax is a brand of diesel engine found in GMC and Chevy vehicles manufactured by General Motors. What constitutes excessive mileage for these engines is a matter of debate. Some owners consider 100,000 miles to be excessive mileage for Chevy diesel trucks, while others believe that anything less than 350,000 should be considered high mileage. A poorly maintained engine might swiftly deteriorate before reaching 100,000 miles, whereas a well-kept Duramax pickup truck should last 400,000 to 500,000 miles.

Cummins engines can be found in Dodge diesel trucks and Ram diesel trucks. Cummins diesel engines, like the Duramax, are designed to last a long time. On a Cummins diesel, 350,000 to 500,000 kilometers is normally considered high mileage. Of course, this is dependent on how well the engine is maintained.

Although maintaining the engine is crucial, some diesel pickup drivers believe it is even more important to keep the truck alive around the engine because the truck itself is less likely to last more than 500,000 miles, even if the diesel engine is well-maintained.

The Powerstroke engine, like the Duramax and Cummins engines, is found in Ford trucks and can last up to 500,000 kilometers. However, similar with the Duramax and Cummins engines, a Powerstroke engine with 350,000 to 500,000 miles on the clock is considered high mileage. The key to gaining the most miles is to keep the truck and engine in good shape. Ford vehicles are the most popular truck brand in the United States, and they’re regarded for their overall dependability.

Purchasing a diesel pickup truck with at least 250,000 kilometers could be a good deal. Diesel pickups are more expensive than their gasoline counterparts when new, so buying one used might save you a lot of money. When purchasing a used diesel truck, keep the following in mind:

Oil leaks are common in high-mileage engines, but they aren’t always cause for concern. It’s not uncommon to have small leaks around gaskets and seals. A little oil seepage around the front and rear main seals, for example, isn’t all that concerning and is even expected. Oil that is more densely coated around a seal or gasket, on the other hand, may raise suspicion. It depends on how much oil is smeared across the surface. To put it another way, while having no oil leak is definitely better, a little oil leak on a high-mileage diesel engine shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker.

When purchasing an older diesel truck with a mechanical injection system, it’s a good idea to start a diesel fuel additive routine. Long-term running without supplemental lubrication of one of these older diesel engines can result in early injection pump failure. A fuel additive, on the other hand, can improve modern diesel engines. Additives can help any diesel engine, whether it’s a high-mileage or not, get better gas mileage.

Distinct trucks and engines, like any other vehicle, have different challenges. Buying an engine model that appears to have the fewest difficulties may be irrelevant if the truck it’s in has issues. It’s also crucial to look into the individual truck’s troubles, in addition to the engine’s concerns. Maintenance records can be extremely useful in this situation.

For example, the water pump on a particular truck may fail every 100,000 miles or so. Even if a truck has 300,000 miles on it, if the water pump hasn’t been updated in 150,000 miles, you could be looking at expensive repairs.

On a high-mileage diesel truck, it’s never too late to switch to synthetic engine and gear oil. The following are some of the advantages of synthetic oil:

Heat, repetitive mechanical pressures, and chemical breakdown from fuel dilution are the major enemies of oil stability. All of these forces are more prone to higher-mileage engines. Synthetic oil can help a high-mileage diesel engine last longer and run more efficiently.

Synthetic oils, in the end, minimize friction better than traditional lubricants. Friction can increase as diesel parts wear out in high-mileage engines. More friction equals more heat, which accelerates the deterioration of oil and diesel truck parts.

To summarize, there is no single number that defines what constitutes high mileage for a diesel pickup truck; however, anything beyond 500,000 is commonly considered excessive mileage. However, remember that there are many more factors to consider when purchasing a used diesel pickup than mileage. A well-maintained, high-mileage Powerstroke, Cummins, or Duramax diesel pickup truck is almost always a better option than a poorly-maintained, heavily-used diesel pickup truck with lower mileage.

What causes the failure of a diesel turbo?

A turbocharger is an air pump that provides higher pressure and density air for the engine combustion process than ambient air. The turbocharger air includes a higher percentage of oxygen, allowing for much improved combustion, resulting in increased power, cleaner emissions, increased engine torque output, and reduced pumping losses within the engine, all of which contribute to improved overall performance.

Any errors in these systems, which are a vital aspect of the engine’s oil, fuel, air, and cooling systems, might result in faulty turbo operation and perhaps damage.

The three turbo killers

Manufacturing flaws account for less than 1% of turbo failures. The three ‘turbo killers’ of oil starvation, oil pollution, and foreign object damage cause the majority of failures.

Oil-related problems account for more than 90% of turbocharger failures, whether due to a lack of oil or contamination. Oil famine is frequently caused by clogged or leaking pipes, as well as a lack of priming on fittings.

There are a variety of contaminants that can be transferred into the turbo bearing system by the engine oil and cause harm. Fine particles, mainly carbon from the combustion process, function as a very efficient abrasive, progressively eroding and polishing the running surfaces of the bearing and shaft, increasing clearances and closing the oil feed holes, until the oil is no longer able to control the shaft. This is frequently followed by a loud increase in noise and oil leaking beyond the turbine end seal, allowing oil to be consumed and significant exhaust smoke in vehicles without a particle filter.

Other factors, such as poor driving behavior, can contribute to turbo failure, so keep these in mind:

  • Hard acceleration from a cold start will not allow the oil to circulate, leading the turbo and engine bearings to become oil starved.
  • Carbon build-up in the turbo might lead to bearing failure if the engine is shut down too hot.
  • Revving the engine above its acceptable limit, especially in commercial vehicles such as on-highway trucks, can cause the turbo to overspeed and over boost the engine (this can also happen in naturally aspirated engines), resulting in oil starvation.

Without proper calibration, a reconditioned unit would have to employ non-original parts, resulting in:

Turbocharger Troubleshooting

Stop before you replace if you suspect your car has a turbo-related problem. Turbo damage is sometimes a sign of an underlying problem rather than the cause. A malfunctioning fuel injection system, restricted or blocked air filters, a damaged exhaust system, or a lubrication problem could cause a lack of power, noisy performance, or excessive smoke or oil consumption.

Use the Turbocharger System Diagnostics Guide to make your work easier because it’s critical to check all systems before replacing the turbo.