Usually, it is a practice that the moment you start your car you’re off. There is no stopping or looking around as you might want to save those precious few drops of fuel. However, you don’t realise that saving a few bucks now might end up with one having to spend around a lakh for replacing an important component of your car – the turbocharger. A turbocharger is a common affair these days in diesel cars as well as now petrols. If few of you are laughing at the thought that your car is neither of the two mentioned here, then at least you might have a naturally aspirated petrol car with you. What I’m going to tell you applies equally to both. Turbochargers these days can cost anywhere between Rs 70,000 – 2.5 lakh, depending on the carmaker. So, here’s how to ensure the turbocharger functions properly and doesn’t need a premature replacement.
Did you know this fact that an engine turbo can spin at up to 150,000rpm. That’s more than the 6-7k rpm that a regular petrol car will spin up to. This means the turbocharger generates more heat and subsequently needs cooling as well. Most of the cars come with an in-fitted turbo-cooler. Now the turbo-cooler removes the hot air by running it through oil. Oil-cooling is a preferred method as it is cheaper to assemble and easier to repair. Now imagine this scenario where you’ve run your turbocharged diesel/petrol car at high speeds and then stop. The turbocharger, thanks to moment of inertia, is still spinning which in turn means its generating heat. Since the engine is no longer running, there is no oil supply.
In turn, doing this for a sustained period means one will end up damaging the turbocharger, with the heat getting onto other components. To prevent this, most manufacturers recommend that at start-up, you idle the car for at least two minutes. What I prefer to do is start the engine, roll down the window and clean the car externally. This means by the time I am done with my dusting, the engine oil has warmed up and the car is good to go. Even before I come to a halt, the airconditioning is switched off a 700-metre before my destination and after I am done parking, the engine still idles for a minute or two before being shut off. I follow this strictly with a car whether its turbocharged or not. For a motorcycle, if its liquid or oil-cooled, I idle it for a minute before switching the ignition off.
The same practice can be followed even if one has a naturally aspirated engine. In a car or for that matter a motorcycle, it is imperative that the engine, tyres and other components reach their optimum working temperature. This will ensure proper performance, fuel efficiency (whatever you lose by idling, you gain overall) of the car/bike. What’s more, this practice will help keep the engine in the pink of health and miles of uninterrupted driving/riding.
One needs to also take care of the engine oil which again plays a vital role in ensuring the engine functions properly. Timely replacement and checks should play a key part in engine maintenance. Adhere to the manufacturer-specified oil grade and schedules, it will do wonders.
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