Does anyone know what a turbo does for reliability? I?m considering a 2005 Volvo S60 and have seen turbo and NA models available. I test drove a turbo S60 and it was nice but haven?t yet had a chance to drive a NA model. Anyways, I?m not exactly sure how a turbo works, but doesn?t it produce more pressure inside the engine? Is reliability much better with a NA engine over the long run or is the difference negligible?
A turbo adds complexity to the engine so there is more to go wrong. Most modern turbos are reliable, but they all require some special care, like the type of oil and change intervals. For gasoline cars, I would generally choose a non-turbo assuming it meets my needs.
There is slightly more complexity with a turbo engine. They are only a problem with negligent owners who don’t use proper oil or extend the oil changes. My parents are driving a 1990 Volvo 740 turbo wagon with over 200k+ miles on the original turbo and has original engine. They are good with maintenance.
Drive both and see what you like better.
As the other posters pointed out, if you are sloppy about maintenance a turbo will cost you dearly in repairs!
A religious attention to maintenance and selecting the right lubricants will ensure your turbo survives. Most will agree that a turbo car needs the best quality synthetic oil, such as Mobil 1.
Having said that, an engineer friend of mine had a turbo Dodge K car and it worked just fine, but he was a stickler for maintenance.
Do not buy a used turbo car, unless it comes with a COMPLETE and correct maintenance record!
My parents use dino likely bulk fill from local mechanic every 3-4k miles on their 200k+ 18 year old car with original turbo.
I personally use dino (per owners manual) every 3750miles in my pair of Subaru turbo cars.
Sounds like you are relious about your maintenance, On older style turbos, when shutting off the engine after a hot run, the oil literally cooks in the turbo bearing. Knowlegeable owners would let the engine idle a minute or so before shutting it off. I understand on modern turbos (Merceded)the oil is circulated for a short while to cool it down.
I will still stick with the synthetic as an added safety factor.
Stop by the local bookstore and pick up a Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers’ Guide. You may reconsider this vehicle.
Turbos add another possible failure and some more plumbing. But if designed, manufactured, and maintained properly they can be as reliable as any other system. And therein lie the potential weaknesses.
I have seen so much power coming from engines without turbochargers that I wouldn’t consider getting one. The reliability goes down and adds the possibility of head gasket failure. There have been improvements in the head gasket area, but that turbo sure gets in the way of engine maintenance and adds heat under the hood. There’s also the leaking ductwork. Times have changed but not enough that turbos add reliability. That will never happen.
On the modern Subaru turbo engines they use coolant and natural convection to keep them cool. Basically after the engine is shutoff the system is designed to allow for convection to continue moving cooler coolant (from engine) until a static state occurs. I believe most modern turbo cars use these system. I have never heard of any turbo car made 2000+ requiring cool down.
Thank you all for the great input and information. I understand that you must be more diligent to maintain a turbo, paying special attention to lubrication. What I’m also hearing is that it’s difficult to generalize - neglect may play as much a role as the design.
Here’s where my concern comes from: I had an Audi 1.8T that was a great car. I followed the MFG plan but, after the warranty, I took it to an independent (Audi exclusive specialist) who told me to get rid of it quick. He showed me some warning signs that pointed to a potential sludge problem supposed to be related to the turbo/engine design. There were other reasons to dump it, but I really would have liked to keep it for a long time.
I’d appreciate some more comments specifically about the Volvo turbo. I still want to test drive the NA S60 and see how it feels - I’m leaning towards the NA in theory because I’m looking at used cars (seems like a safer bet).
I’m aware of a Volvo 740 with almost 400,000 miles on the original engine, turbo, and automatic transmission. It has been exceptionally well maintained and probably never really run that hard. I suggest you take a look over at volvoforums.com in their S60 section and see what some of the real world owners have to say.
Gee…I thought CU gave reliability ratings on real world owners.