Posted by: coastcontact | August 27, 2016

The Downsides Of Turbocharged Automobile Engines

There seems to be a fad among auto manufacturers to build engines that of Direct Injection or Turbocharged engines.  The Honda Civic will offer a turbocharged 1.5-liter four in all models except the basic L model as the standard engine.  Buyers should research the downsides of both of these technologies.

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  2016 Honda Civic at Los Angeles Auto Show

Increasing concerns for the environment, global supply of oil, CAFÉ standards, and fuel prices have forced many manufacturers to implement new methods of reducing tailpipe emissions and fuel consumption from their cars.

One such method is the use of turbocharged engines. Once exclusively the domain of performance cars, turbocharged engines have exploded in popularity on the mainstream car market. A turbocharger is a component that allows a smaller sized engine to produce power comparable to a much larger sized engine without, in theory, compromising the fuel economy.

Though turbocharging is capable of providing such benefits, there are certain complications with the technology that consumers should be aware of:

1.Turbocharging puts additional strain on the engine due to an increase in heat and pressure properties. The result is that turbocharged engines require more extensive maintenance, such as more frequent oil and spark plug changes, than naturally aspirated engines.

2.Turbocharged engines have low tolerance to short driving trips that don’t allow the parts to warm up to operating temperature. They require regular extended use, ideally highway use, in order to maintain proper performance and reliability. They also require a warm-up/cool-down procedure that involves careful, low rpm driving.

3.Turbocharged engines have more components than naturally aspirated engines, such as turbochargers and intercoolers, which increases the potential for repair expenses over the long-run.

4.Finally, though turbocharged engines are marketed as fuel efficient alternatives to comparably larger, naturally aspirated engines, in real world driving, the actual gains are minimal at best. In some cases, turbocharged cars actually wind up being the gas guzzlers.

You may be wondering why car manufacturers don’t clarify these concerns from the beginning. The answer is that turbocharging used to be more or less exclusive to sports cars and, thus, sports car owners; people who generally could be counted upon to have a certain degree of automotive knowledge. Nowadays, your run-of-the-mill family SUV, complete with a child seat and roof rack, can have a high-powered turbocharged engine. If the dealership told the average car buyer all of this information, few would likely listen to it, and others wouldn’t even buy the car.

Car manufacturers would love to have you believe that turbocharged engines are some kind of ultimate solution to the tug-of-war between power and efficiency, but there’s no question, they don’t work for everyone.

Source for this article primarily from  but Consumers Reports also offered similar advise.


  1. The information is dated, irrespective of what the authors may claim. Modern metallurgy and advances in computerized fuel injection along with direct injection and the more extensive use of synthetic engine oils has obsoleted the idea that turbocharged engines lack the longevity of naturally aspirated ones. The shorter maintenance intervals are no longer applicable either – also due to the use of synthetic oils and platinum tip spark plugs. Drain intervals on synthetics can be as long as 15000-20000 miles, and platinum tip spark plugs will generally last 50, 000 to 100, 000 miles. A cool down cycle is only applicable to hard driving and unless someone drives off an interstate from 70MPH directly into their driveway, would be unnecessary.

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