Do Turbocharged Cars Require More Maintenance?


Turbocharged engines will require more frequent maintenance, such as oil changes and fresh spark plugs, though they typically don't require additional service compared to naturally aspirated engines. Here are some examples: Dodge advises changing the spark plugs on the Dart's turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder every 30,000 miles, compared with every 100,000 miles for the 2.0- and 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engines. Dodge does not post a schedule for oil changes, instead telling owners to have it done based on an oil-change indicator system that monitors how many short trips you make, outside temperatures and other driving conditions.

On the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder used in the Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe, Hyundai says to change the oil every 7,500 miles or at least once a year. With the turbocharged 2.0-liter, Hyundai says to do the first oil change after 3,000 miles or six months and then every 5,000 miles or six months. Spark plug changes also are more frequent on the turbo 2.0-liter: every 45,000 miles or three years versus 105,000 miles or seven years on the 2.4-liter engine.

Those are the only maintenance differences Dodge and Hyundai mention for the turbocharged engines. Turbo models may have additional requirements, such as more frequent transmission fluid changes, but the real difference may be in how the turbocharged versions are driven. Owners who can't resist using the additional horsepower may, over time, create repair issues. Flooring the throttle on a regular basis puts more stress on the engine, transmission, tires, the suspension and, ultimately, the brakes.

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Chrysler is a bad example, even the naturally aspirated HEMI requires spark plug replacement every 30,000 miles. The HEMI has two spark plugs per cylinder...gotta love it.

But yes, turbocharged vehicles do require a little more maintenance, but the efficiency and performance increase is definitely worth it.


the one maintenance item on your turbocharged engine not mentioned here - replacement of your turbocharger.


I'll be curious to see how these small, turbo, all aluminum, direct injection engines fare over time and miles, especially in a heavy car/truck. I personally aim for 300,000 miles before getting a new one. I'm not sure I would want to try that on these new vehicles with DI and turbos just yet.


well...this is wrong.
JUST checked with my Ford/Lincoln dealer about my MKS twin turbos.
NO spark plug change for 100,000 miles. I guess this all depends on what quality is in the original car...right?


I would still take out a spark plug and at least inspect it. I guarantee you that if you leave it there for 100K miles and , lets say, 8 years, taking it out will not be pretty.
Lets take a case of Villager/Quest pair. One of the spark plugs was located in such location where it accumulated moist. By the time you got to it, the plug body was rusted and you could easy shave off corners.
Or, Ford Explorer v8. Those spark plugs were so rusted by the time of scheduled maintenance that many broke off. You would need a lot of time, anti-rust fluids and extractors to pull them out.

so, best thing is still to pull the plug, inspect it and put it back in but before put some anti-seize paste on the tread.


Turbos will not require much extra maintenance, if you're the type of person who doesn't use the turbo much. Those who flog their turbo vehicles will see decreased mpg, increased maintenance and eventually a loss of effectiveness as the turbo wears and the exhaust gasses start leaking. Turbo replacement or rebuilding is a common procedure and the price tag ain't pretty. GM didn't go down the turbo road with its new generation pickups, keeping the 4.3 litre V6 with normal induction but with other upgrades. Interesting, as they were one of the first to use a turbo on a production car back in the 60s. Maybe they know something that others don' there's no free lunch.


Make no mistake the turbo is there to make more power through more pressure, which requires more fuel. The misconception is that a smaller turbo engine (1.4) can achieve as much power with greater fuel economy than a larger normal aspirated (1.8) The honda civic and chevy cruz being the prime example. The HP and MPG numbers as so close the much more complex Cruz loses the advantage.


My turbocharged engine only requires oil changes every 10,000 miles and doesn't worry about spark plugs. Oh yeah, it's a diesel.

Thanks for the post! I was considering going for one of the turbos but only if I have the time to maintain it.

It depends upon the quality you have..

Turbochargers generate a lot of heat, and to protect the turbocharger bearings, synthetic oil is a must.Vacuum lines, are very susceptible to heat damage, and should be replaced regularly to maintain top operating shape.

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