Unless you know a lot about cars, you don’t think about motor oil very often. You’re aware it’s something that you need to put in your car to keep it running regularly, but beyond that, it’s a nuisance, usually only serviced when a light comes on by a mechanic.
Of course, you probably know a thing or two about cars if you have a turbocharged engine. Not only do turbo engines boost the power and thrust of your engine, they make your car run much more efficiently, saving a bundle on gas.
But you’re not going to get much use out of a turbocharged engine without the right kind of motor oil. Using the wrong kind can damage your engine. At the very least, you won’t truly know the benefits of having a turbo engine in the first place. In this post, we’ll talk about the best motor oil to use with a turbo engine.
List of the best oil for turbo cars
Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic
The first advantage one gets out of Valvoline is its pure, oily colour. Some oils come looking dirtier than others, which can make it difficult to determine when it actually is dirty and needs changing. No such problems with Valvoline, which has a healthy oily colour.
It’s also certified by the American Petroleum Institute, making it the very best oil for turbo engines.
The synthetic formula gives the engine a long lifespan and improves fuel efficiency. Since that’s already a major part of the appeal of turbo engines, you can imagine just how well it makes one run.
This is primarily an oil for hardworking cars and trucks, ideal for hauling or long drives.
There is some question, however, about just how much better it is for a turbo engine when compared to other oils. Some customers have reported that they only get slightly better mileage rather than the major improvement advertised.
Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Synthetic
Mobil 1 can still be usable past the 7500 mile mark, so it’s perfect for cars and trucks that have a few years of wear on them. Again, the formula is engineered to focus on giving your engine a long life. If you’re a truck owner looking to get a few extra years on a truck that has been working well for you, then Mobil 1 should be your selection.
Mobil 1, as it says in the name, is designed for turbo diesel engines, and it can withstand high temperatures up to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Alternately, it’s also very reliable during freezing cold temperatures, so it’ll work no matter what climate in which you live.
It’s particularly good at dealing with deposits of acids and dirt, cleaning your engine as it runs through it. This is why it’s so highly recommended for older cars.
The only complaints from customers have been related to the packaging. It’s not the most durable container, and if you’re shipping it, it can easily spring a leak. It’s much more convenient to pick it up in stores whenever possible.
Obviously, this would not be an ideal oil if your engine does not run on diesel. Though it seems silly, you’d be surprised how often people need to be reminded of such things.
Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic
Pennzoil is great for turbo engines because of its viscosity, which is both light and thick enough to help your car run in both exceedingly hot and cold temperatures. What makes Pennzoil especially good for turbo engines beyond the viscosity, which should be expected, is that it helps prevent loss of power.
This means you’re going to see the performance you’ve always wanted out of your engine, running strong and smooth in even the worst conditions.
This is also an oil that’s great for cleaning your engine as well, making short work of any acid or dirt deposits that have built up over time.
Again, most of the problems customers have reported have come from shipping, which has resulted in spilled or leaking containers. But if you’re looking for a long lasting oil that’s going to do the hard work of cleaning your engine, then Pennzoil should suit your needs.
- Amazon Basic Full Synthetic
Amazon Basic Full Synthetic motor oil is recommended for Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) turbo engines. GDI engines are common engines that inject the fuel at high pressure directly into the combustion chamber. This gives the engine more precise injection timing and manages how much fuel is delivered much more efficiently.
And, as these high performing engines only perform at their best with the highest quality oil, Amazon Basic is an excellent companion.
The biggest complaint about Amazon is that it’s Amazon – not some trusted name brand that you’ve known and used for years. Name recognition can go a long way in motor oil. Entire generations of families swear by one brand or another, not out of fierce loyalty, more out of habit.
But despite its relative newness to the market, Amazon has proven to be a major competitor in motor oil, they’ve especially shown themselves to be especially popular for turbo engine owners.
- Castrol GTX Magnatec
Castrol is probably the best oil for cleaning a turbo engine of acid and grime buildup. You’ll never have a cleaner running engine in a car than when you use Castrol.
Great for protecting from wear, so it’ll make the engine last longer, but it’s primary advantage is how well it cleans.
But, there appears to be some controversy about whether or not this is truly synthetic oil. One customer noted that Castrol uses only 1, 2 and 3 types of oil, all of which are conventional. In the end, it should not matter much. What matters is how well it performs in your car, and no one appears to have complained about that.
Some other customers have noted some issues using it in cold temperatures, noting that it gelled up when frozen much more than other oils. This can be an issue for drivers in cold climates.
- Lucas Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer
If ever you feel like any of the recommended oils for your car isn’t getting the job done well enough, this oil additive is well-known to car enthusiasts who like a little extra power in their engine.
Lucas is also excellent for dealing with leaks, slowing them down and ultimately sealing the engine. Alternately, if your engine is noticeably eating up a lot of oil when in use, Lucas can help reduce the amount used. In fact, it can up your oil consumption by half.
Primarily meant for trucks and cars that come with a high viscosity recommendation, it’s for cars that have issues that just motor oil by itself can’t handle.
However, some customers have reported having serious issues using it on modern engines, so it might be better applied to older vehicles. One customer said Lucas actually damaged their engine beyond repair, though this seems like an especially rare case.
Turbo Engine Buying Guide
It takes a special kind of car enthusiast to fully appreciate the splendor of a turbocharged engine. Speed freaks, adrenaline junkies and power fiends all chase after the thrill of bolting on that snail-shaped coil that gives their engine some extra juice, and they’re rarely disappointed.
But you need to know what to buy for your automobile to give it that extra kick, and you need to know what to avoid. A lot of buyers go to a lot of a used seller’s home not equipped with the knowledge of how to properly inspect the vehicle. Here’s a few helpful tips.
- First, Always Check Under the Hood
You never know what’s waiting for you, especially with a turbo engine. What you’ll be looking for in the engine’s condition, and there are numerous signifiers that will tell you how worn it is.
Check the oil in the engine. The blacker it is, the worse condition it’s in. Black oil suggests a poor level of maintenance. Ask to see the service history to know what it’s been through. Ask for receipts of repair.
- Check the Remanufacturer’s Nameplate
This can be especially important to get a sense of the turbo engine’s true history and origins. You’ll want to know if the turbo has been replaced before, and by whom. If it was replaced by a company that you’ve never heard of or, upon research, you learn has a bad reputation, it’s probably best to avoid the engine.
If the heat shields are loose, this is also a sign of recent replacement.
- Check For Oil Leaks
Another clear indicator of poor maintenance.
- Check for Non-Genuine Hose Clips
This may also be a sign of shoddy workmanship or the previous owner trying to cut corners when doing repairs. Every time a corner is cut, it puts the engine in more jeopardy.
- Check for Painted Exhaust Turbine Housing
This is a common trick by sellers who are trying to cover up for a poor repair job.
- Check for Water Stains Around Turbo Bearing Housing
This is a clear indicator of leaking water connections.
- Check Split Compressor Intake Hose
If the air entering the engine is unfiltered, it can cause irreparable damage to the compressor wheel.
- Check for a Non-Genuine Oil Filter
This could be a sign that the previous owner may have cut corners to save money when repairing the engine.
There are other factors that you’ll always want to check for that could tell you if the engine has had a bad repair job. Factors such as poor alignment, a bleeding valve or exhaust leaks are all things you want to avoid.
When possible, you’ll always want to take the engine out for a test drive before making any purchases. It’ll clearly illustrate any issues that may have gone unnoticed when the car was immobile.
Once you’ve checked out the engine, you should be ready to drive with power. Here’s some of the best engines on the market.
Alfa Romeo Twin-Turbo 2.9-liter V-6
This engine gives quite the performance, reaching 505 horsepower at 6500 rpm. So it’s an especially fast engine, though it’s not built to last. Some users reported having problems later in life.
While it boasts one of the fastest, smoothest rides around, it’s a short ride, meant only for those who can afford such a luxury.
Audi Turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5
Not only does the Audi offer a reasonably excellent horsepower at 400 at 7000 rpm, it also sounds like no other turbo engine out there. This is due to a very unique design of five cylinders. It doesn’t rumble or roar so much as yowl like a real cat. And the engine offers the same kind of playfulness as its spirit animal.
Ultimately, which turbo engine you choose is going to be up to your budget and tastes, but there are plenty that will offer superior performance, provided you use the correct oil. Using the right oil will only help your engine survive longer, so there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to spring for the very best.
Do you need synthetic oil for turbo engines?
Synthetic oils are almost always a requirement for most modern, turbocharged engines. If you choose not to use synthetic oil, you run the risk of voiding your warranty.
Do turbo cars use more oil?
Ultimately, more power means more energy consumed every second. So whenever your turbo engine is in use, it’s burning more fuel than a normal engine.
Do turbocharged engines need more frequent oil changes?
As turbocharged engines burn more fuel than normal engines, they require more frequent oil changes. They also require fresh spark plugs during changing. The benefit, however, is that your car will likely require less service repairs not related to oil.
How do Turbos get lubricated?
A turbocharged engine is lubricated by the oil inside it. Through a pressure system, oil is fed through the bearing housing and into the thrust system. The oil also works as a coolant, removing some of the heat the engine generates.