Is it Wise to Install an Aftermarket Turbocharger?

Is it Wise to Install an Aftermarket Turbocharger?

Looking for a way to boost your horsepower and performance? If you’re like many people with a naturally-aspirated engine, you may be considering installing some form of a forced induction system, such as a turbocharger. Turbos are extremely popular due to their generally lower cost, small size, and great horsepower gain potential. But is it wise to install an aftermarket turbocharger in your vehicle? There are thousands of aftermarket turbo options on the market, and finding one that will fit your vehicle isn’t all that difficult. But as we’ll see on this blog, just because one exists doesn’t always make it a good idea.

Room in the Engine Compartment

First, there’s the most obvious hurdle that needs to be overcome to install a turbocharger: finding a spot for it in your engine compartment. Most modern cars that are designed to be small and lightweight may have more space in their engine compartment, but a high-performance model may have a larger engine block already installed. For this reason, turbocharging is generally limited to four-cylinder vehicles. If you have a V6 or V8, you’re probably going to want to pursue a supercharger rather than a turbocharger for this reason.

Engine Temperatures

Turbochargers work by collecting the exhaust your engine produces and using it to spin a fan at high speeds to collect air and force it into your engine. Because the exhaust doesn’t immediately escape through your exhaust pipes, the heat collects and remains in your engine bay, increasing operating temperatures substantially. As a result, you generally need to make sure you have a radiator that can withstand the extra workload. Likewise, good airflow is key, so your air intake will not only need to be substantially larger, but airflow through your engine compartment also needs to be good.

Greater Wear & Tear

Turbochargers mean bigger explosions for more horsepower, but bigger explosions also mean increased stress on your engine, and this greater level of wear and tear can spell trouble if your engine isn’t built to handle it. It’s not uncommon for those who install aftermarket turbos without doing their research to experience major engine problems and even total engine failure within just a short time.

Is it a Good Idea?

So all of this makes it seem like installing an aftermarket turbo is more trouble than its worth. Is that true? No, not at all. Aftermarket turbochargers can provide you with a huge kick up in horsepower, and have one of the highest horsepower-to-cost ratios of any aftermarket power upgrade. But that being said, it’s extremely important to do your research.

Turbochargers are not something you want to cheap out on when purchasing. You might be able to find a turbocharger for $500 to $700, but heed our warning: these turbos are likely going damage your car and cost you more in the long run! While you might be able to find these kits, the truth is they come from mass-production clone factories in China, and often have sub-par quality control standards. Often times you’ll find that you have to re-shape parts when installing them, and fits that need to be tight to form seals are often deformed or misshapen. As a result, your engine will be prone to overheating and poor performance.

Instead, choose a high-quality option from a reputable manufacturer and have it installed by the Katy high performance automotive experts from HP Motorsports. Our team has years of experience helping upgrade cars and tune them for peak performance so you can not only be confident that your turbocharger will last, but your car will make the most of it.

For more information about installing an aftermarket turbocharger in your car, call HP Motorsports at 281-231-9950.


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