Turbochargers; what do they do?
The turbocharger, or turbo for short, is a performance automotive component that can be used to increase efficiency, power output, or both. Jim Van Dyke in Washington CH explains.
Turbos have a long history. Originally developed in WWII, they were designed to account for the effects of atmospheric pressure changes on fighter plane engines. Since then, they have become a popular aftermarket addition to cars, trucks, and SUVs of all shapes and sizes, to enhance performance. While manufacturers have installed turbos stock on a variety of cars since the late 70s, typically production was limited and was almost more of a novelty than a piece of serious standard equipment.
These days, however, turbos are becoming increasingly common. Saab, Volvo, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, and other manufacturers frequently offer turbos on even their most basic lineup. Utilized correctly, they can increase the capabilities of an engine otherwise too small and underpowered for many applications. What this means, is an otherwise lethargic engine can outperform an engine twice its size, while retaining the gas mileage of a small displacement, low output engine. Turbocharged cars are more powerful, and more efficient than a naturally aspirated automobile. But how does it work?
In truth, the answer is a bit complicated. Essentially, however, a turbo is just a mechanism that forces more air into your engine, allowing it to breathe more efficiently. Air, gas, and a spark are the basics of any gasoline engine, and more air and gas compressed to higher pressures means higher output. A turbo is in essence two turbines. One is connected to the exhaust, and the rapidly escaping exhaust gases from the engine cause the turbine to spin, or spool. The exhaust turbine is connected to and powers another turbine on the air intake side of engine operations. The result is a greater volume of air forced into the cylinders, resulting in more power and efficiency. Basically, otherwise useless exhaust pressure is used to push more air into the engine, faster, based mainly on the RPM. The higher the engine is revved, the faster the turbines spin, creating more boost for the engine to utilize.
Whether your vehicle is turbocharged or not, Jim Van Dyke has you covered, for all your repair and maintenance needs. For the best auto service shop in Washington CH, call or come by today; our team of expert mechanics and technicians will make sure you’re taken care of.
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