Keeping the Boost in Check: How Are Most Turbochargers Lubricated?

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Turbochargers have become an integral part of modern automotive engineering, providing a significant boost in power and performance. But have you ever wondered how are most turbochargers lubricated? One crucial aspect that often goes unnoticed is the lubrication system.

In this blog post, lubricationfaqs will delve into the intricacies of turbocharger lubrication, exploring the methods and components involved in keeping the boost in check. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for an enlightening journey into the world of turbocharger lubrication!

Basic Structure of Turbo

The fundamental components of a turbo centrifugal compressor are an air intake casing, a compressor impeller, a silver seal, a drive shaft, a turbine impeller, and a compressor housing. A shaft connects the impellers of the compressor and turbine. The compressor propeller turns in the opposite direction to compress the air into the engine’s combustion chamber when the engine’s exhaust gas affects the turbine blade. Turbines are built to rotate at 200–300 000 rpm. The drive shaft and the bearing are lubricated by the oil supply line from the engine to minimize friction while in use.

Basic Structure of Turbo

Because of the suction created by the piston, the engine will initially suck air from the outside through the air filter. The fuel and air are then combined, compressed, and burned. With turbo assistance, the turbine and compressor blades rotate as a result of the exhaust gases from the combustion process, compressing a lot of fresh air into the engine’s combustion chamber. The air density has substantially increased as a result of the increased air volume, producing more fuel. By doing this, the engine’s operational capacity can be increased without having to change the size of the engine.

However, compressed air that has reached an extremely high temperature has a thin density and can cause banging when it is directly fed into an engine. Because of this, automakers frequently include an intercooler to cool compressed air before it enters the engine. Usually a straightforward cooler, the intercooler is situated between the turbo and the air intake. This cooler helps to preserve engine performance by reducing heat in the air and increasing density before it enters the combustion chamber.

How Are Most Turbochargers Lubricated?

The turbocharger, which rotates at extremely high speeds to boost engine power by forcing more air into the combustion chamber, requires lubrication to function properly. Due to the high rotational speeds, both the working pressure and temperature are very high. Continuous rubbing between components might quickly result in severe wear and eventually turbocharger failure. Lubricating oil performs a crucial function by cooling the shaft and bearing and providing the proper level of lubrication to prevent any issues brought on by excessive wear.

As the oil moves through the turbocharger’s tubes, it cools them. It’s crucial to make sure there is always enough oil to swiftly and effectively transfer heat from the turbocharger parts to the oil. As a result, the temperature is lowered and maintained within the optimal range. As a result of this procedure, there is no thermal expansion that could harm the pieces, therefore the distance between them stays the same.

Lubrication System for External Bearing

Ball and roller bearings are supplied with an independent form of gear pump (centrifugal pump in some versions), which is powered by the shaft of the shaft, and they employ an integrated lubricating oil delivery system for lubrication. Both the turbine side and the blower side of the vehicle have a turbocharger.

On either side of the turbocharger housing, there is a separate oil tank, and the pump draws oil from the reservoir. Both the turbine side and the blower side both have a gear pump. In the housing, there is a sight glass with a maximum/minimum oil level sign.

The external bearing can be lubricated by a stand-alone system (Pump, filter, cooler, oil, sump, alarm, etc.) or by an external system (M/E LO System) through a fine filter.

When tilted at a 15° angle in any direction or for a brief period at a 22° inclination, all lubrication systems must be sufficiently greased. The following requirements must be met if a separate system is used: tank height of 6 m, pressure of >1.6 bar, and delivery time of 10 minutes.

You may also like: What Lubricant Should be Used When Mounting a Tire?

Lubrication System for Internal Bearing

The radial turbocharger is equipped with a white metal sleeve bearing. The thrust bearing and sleeve bearing are close to one other in this instance, and the shaft is supported in the middle.

For the internal bearings, there is no separate reservoir. The gravity tank receives lubricating oil from the main lubricating oil system. A pipeline with a check valve connects the bearing housing to the source of lubricating oil.

Through a hole and a pathway from the tank back to the tank, the lubricating oil system of the main engine supplies lubricating oil to the gravity tank, maintaining the gravity tank’s oil level at all times.

After the low oil level alert for the tank’s oil level sounds, the oil tank must still be able to deliver oil for another 10-15 minutes. The steady rotor on the bigger supporting surface with the low bearing wear rate is evidence of the long bearing life.

What to Do to Extend your Turbo’s Lifespan?

The best thing you can do in this situation is to let the engine idle for a while before entirely shutting it off. As a result, when the engine shuts off, the turbo can slow down before the oil flow ceases.

Try using an oil treatment like X-tra Lube as another option. In order to provide additional protection for metal surfaces in circumstances like the loss of oil pressure as we previously discussed, we developed X-tra Lube. Because it guards against these catastrophic threats that decrease the life of the turbocharger better than anything else, X-tra Lube Oil Treatment is incredibly successful at maximizing turbocharger life.


In conclusion, the lubrication of turbochargers plays a crucial role in maintaining their optimal performance and durability. The use of engine oil as a lubricant ensures that the turbocharger components, such as the bearings and shaft, are properly protected, reducing friction and preventing premature wear and damage.

Regular maintenance, including oil changes and filter replacements, is essential to ensure the continued efficiency and longevity of turbochargers. By keeping the boost in check through proper lubrication, turbochargers can continue to provide the desired performance and fuel efficiency benefits in modern engines.

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