So many times that you’ve heard the phrase “turbocharged engine,” but never did you get a definitive response to the question “how much horsepower does it add?”

Adding a turbo kit to an engine usually necessitates a number of additional modifications, so the solution is more complicated than it seems. An increase in horsepower of 10% to 50% is common with a single turbocharger.

Turbocharger Operation and Maintenance

Jeremy Clarkson coined the following definition of a turbocharger:

A turbocharger is a device that uses exhaust gas to generate more thrust. You’re going quicker because of witchcraft.

An added bonus of the quote: The turbocharger really functions as a turbine that is pushed by exhaust gases and suction air into the intake to improve airflow. More air equals more oxygen in the air-fuel combination, better burning of the fuel, and more power produced in each cycle.

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An intercooler lowers gas temperatures, a wastegate valve restricts boost pressure, and a blowoff valve eliminates wasted pressure in the system, all in addition to the turbine itself.

Turbochargers are well explained in a short video by Jason from Engineering Explained.

A turbocharger increases horsepower by a certain amount.

As I said in the beginning, turbochargers often boost output by 10% to 50%. This is just a generalization, and the real gain in power may possibly be more than 100%. At the absolute least, the fuel injection system must be updated in order for this to occur.

The 1.9-liter R4 TDI turbocharged diesel engine from Volkswagen is my favorite illustration of turbocharger advantages. Nearly a dozen different versions of this engine have been built, ranging in power from 74 to as high as 158 hp.

Turbo and bi-turbo engines are very popular. When an engine has six or more cylinders, the term “twin-turbo” refers to the use of two identical turbines to share the load. A system featuring a small and a big turbocharger is referred to as a bi-turbo (or sequential turbo). Turbo-lag is minimized by using the smaller turbo at low RPMs, but power is substantially increased by using the larger turbo at higher RPMs.

A quad-turbo arrangement may be found in engine blocks with six or eight cylinders. A naturally aspirated engine that can take a quad-turbo system simply doubles the horsepower with the usage of two bi-turbo installations.

Turbo Boost: What Is It and How Does It Work?

When a turbocharger produces a turbo boost, it raises the pressure in the system above atmospheric pressure. Therefore, the differential in pressure between the intake manifold and the surrounding atmosphere is represented by this metric. Higher psi or bar values equate to more power, which is expressed in PSI or BAR.

Boosting the engine above its safe operating range might damage it and the turbocharger, leading to knocking, overheating, pre-ignition, and even component failure.

What Exactly Is Turbo Lag?

Exhaust gases are used as a catalyst by turbochargers to force more air into the intake. However, turbo lag develops as a result of this design defect.

The amount of exhaust gases produced while the engine is operating at a low rev range is insufficient to provide a noticeable increase in power. You’ll be able to feel like you’re driving a naturally aspirated engine when you get behind the wheel of this automobile. There’s a burst of power just when you increase the RPM enough to activate the boost.

Turbo lag is unavoidable with a single-turbine engine’s turbocharged output. The greater the turbo lag, the larger the turbine must be before it can begin boosting due to the increased pressure. Little turbines, on the other hand, can only provide a small amount of boost for a significant amount of power at idle RPM.

When braking or moving gears, it’s natural to take your foot off the gas pedal, which might cause turbo lag. There are, however, a few workarounds.

The heel-toe approach is the first method for dealing with turbo big. Apply the clutch after braking. When downshifting, you may stomp on the gas with your right foot’s heel while the gearbox is disconnected. When you’re releasing the clutch, put your foot down on the gas pedal so that the turbo boost kicks in sooner.

There are certain cars that don’t allow you to perform heel-toe, and doing so might be difficult. The outcomes are the same, but the procedure is a little more time-consuming. The first step is to take a break until you’ve slowed down enough. Use your right foot to press the throttle a few times as you transfer gears as you engage the clutch.

In order to utilize either approach, you’ll need a manual gearbox. In the event that you’re accelerating toward another car yet find a chance to overtake it, these devices are meant to aid. Instead of wasting time waiting for the turbo to catch up, the automobile will be ready to go as soon as the left lane clears.

The two ways are regularly used by me while driving up a hill. As soon as a steep turn comes around the corner, I must stop in order to avoid losing too much of my momentum. By reducing turbo lag, I’m able to maintain enough power to safely navigate the bend while still increasing my top speed if necessary.

Turbocharger: Some Drawbacks!

Turbochargers have several advantages. One benefit of turbochargers is that they let you put more power into a smaller engine while yet using much less gasoline than bigger, normally aspirated motors.

There is just one significant negative to turbochargers, which is that they add complexity to the engine. There is a greater danger of parts breaking as you add additional components. A single-turbocharger configuration isn’t a problem, but if your automobile has two or four turbines, consider the cost of fixing or replacing them.

Some Important FAQs About Turbocharger

Do turbos provide greater power?

After superchargers, turbochargers are the greatest technique to increase engine power without expanding its displacement or causing excessive tolerances that would adversely impact the manufacturing cost. Adding a super charger can increase your car’s horsepower but is it better to add a turbocharger? Check this article by labeled Turbocharger VS Supercharger to find your answer.

What is the RPM at which turbochargers begin to operate?

To get a turbo boost, you’ll need at least 2,000 RPM of crankshaft RPM. The turbine size determines RPM — smaller turbines will activate sooner, while bigger ones typically have a smaller turbine that produces power at a lower RPM in a bi-turbo configuration.

Is using a turbo detrimental to your car’s power?

Turbochargers installed by the factory are not harmful to your engine. Because of the manufacturer’s design, the turbo boost will not harm the engine. It is possible to harm the engine by changing the standard turbocharger or by adding an aftermarket turbocharger.

How much quicker is a vehicle with a twin-turbo?

In fact, this is the case. These engines include split exhaust manifolds, each producing enough exhaust gases to fuel a turbocharger, which subsequently generates enough boost to feed all the cylinders. Even while twin-turbo engines have a similar percentage gain in horsepower, they really provide a lot more horsepower than their single-turbo counterparts.


Engines with lower displacements can no longer function without turbochargers, which boost their power and enable them to be used on open highways. Even while turbochargers aren’t required for larger engines like inline-6s, v6s, and v8s, a pair of them may provide a significant power increase.

A turbocharged engine is a must-have for any 4-cylinder vehicle, and I strongly suggest looking into it if you’re considering automotive options. All except the biggest V8 engines may benefit greatly from a turbocharger in SUVs and trucks.

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