The flow of exhaust gases through a turbocharger spins a wheel, speeds it up, and lets more fresh air into the engine. This makes more power for the engine. But that spooling can’t always happen immediately, especially in older cars with bigger turbos. There are some problems with this new technology, though. “Turbo lag” is one large one. In this article, let’s learn more about it.

What is Turbo Lag?

When the driver presses the pedal, the turbocharged engine temporarily delivers power, but a short pause is called “turbo lag.” This delay in reaction time is because the turbocharger’s parts are inert, so they need time to spin up to the correct speed to improve engine performance. Having this experience is like having a short moment of hesitancy before the car speeds up as expected.

How To Reduce Turbo Lag

There are many new and creative ways to reduce turbo lag, each focusing on a different part of the turbocharging process. Here are some of the best ways to do things:

Less heavy materials

Making the turbocharger’s parts out of modern, light materials can greatly lower the turbo’s inertia. The lag is cut down because it can spool up faster.

Twin-scroll turbochargers

This type of turbocharger splits the exhaust flow into two different lines that power two scrolls on the turbine. This setup not only makes the engine more efficient, but it also cuts down on turbo lag by making sure that pressure builds up more quickly and consistently.

Variable Geometry Turbochargers (VGT)

VGTs change the angle of the vanes in the turbo to match the RPM of the engine. This makes the flow of exhaust gases to the turbine more efficient. This flexibility helps reduce lag by keeping the right pressure at the right level across a wide range of engine speeds.

Electric Turbochargers

These turbochargers can speed up without exhaust gas flow because they have an electric motor built in. This gives the engine a boost right away. This new technology changes everything in the fight against turbo lag. 

How to Fix Turbo Lag in Turbocharged Engines

It can ruin the driving experience for both experienced and regular drivers. Here are the steps you can take right now:

Remapping or tuning the ECU

By making changes to the engine’s electronic control unit (ECU), you can improve the response time of the turbo and the engine’s general performance, which will reduce lag.

Get a faster turbo by upgrading

A system change is sometimes the best way to fix something. A significant change can be made by switching to a turbocharger that spools up faster.

Boost the exhaust flow

Improving the efficiency of the exhaust system can help the pressure needed to spool the turbo build up faster, which cuts down on lag.

How to Get Rid of Turbo Lag

Manufacturers and fans are always looking for ways to eliminate turbo lag. They are trying everything from new hardware designs to better software. The goal is clear: to get the most out of turbocharging without slowing power transfer. The dream of rapid acceleration from turbocharged engines is becoming increasingly accurate. In the future, people will ask, “What is turbo lag?” not because they don’t know what it is, but because it has been wiped out. 

Is Turbo Lag Normal?

Knowing about turbo lag is essential for setting realistic goals for supercharged cars. It is usual for turbocharged engines to have this because responding to more exhaust gas flow takes a while. Instead of a flaw or failure, it results from the science behind turbocharging. Knowing this can help drivers change how they drive to improve the ride and lessen its effects.

Turbo Lag in Diesel Engines

It is also typical in diesel engines, even though they are often supercharged to make them run better and use less fuel. Because diesel engines have more power and burn fuel in different ways, they may show turbo lag differently. The lag can be worse in diesel engines because turbochargers are usually bigger and take longer to spin up. On the other hand, modern diesel engines have better turbocharging technology, making it less noticeable.

Turbo Lag Symptoms to Watch For

To spot turbo, you need to recognize its main signs, which include a noticeable delay in acceleration even though you press the throttle, followed by a quick rise in power. The turbo is building up power and pressure during this “lag” moment so that it can give the boost. Another sign might be that the engine doesn’t have much energy at low RPMs but quickly gains power when the engine speed increases and the turbo kicks in. 

What Causes Turbo Lag?

It is a problem with the way turbochargers are built. Manufacturers have tried to make turbo lag less noticeable when new vehicles are new, but it can worsen over time. There are a lot of things that can cause this, but some of the most common ones are:

A Leaky Exhaust Pipe

There will be less exhaust gas to start the engine if there is an exhaust leak before the turbo, like in the exhaust pipes. This makes it worse.

A leak of boost. When charged air from the turbo leaks out instead of going into the engine, this is called a boost leak. Since the links between turbo pipes are under a lot of pressure, boost leaks are easy to make over time.

The Wastegate Is Broken

The turbo wastegate limits the most pressure it can make and sends extra exhaust gases away from the turbo to keep it from over-boosting. Turbo will worsen if the wastegate can’t close when the boost level is low.

A Boost Valve That Is Broken

A boost valve tells the wastegate how much boost it is getting, so it will only open when the pressure is right. If your valve is stuck open, the boost level in your turbo will probably drop a lot, which will make the lag worse.

Lean air-fuel ratios (AFRs)

Lack of fuel and air in the engine is not only bad for it but can also make it run less smoothly, making lag worse. When AFRs are low, it’s usually because of broken injectors, fuel systems, or an O2 monitor that isn’t working right.

Excessive Engine Wear

You can say that anything gets less valuable with age, including the engine in your car. Usually, engines don’t wear out very much over time, but if you don’t care for them properly, turbo lag can get a lot worse.


Turbo lag is a normal part of turbocharged engines, but knowing how it works and what signs it causes can help you control and lessen its effects. Its effects can be reduced with better technology and intelligent driving habits. It makes driving in turbocharged cars more enjoyable.

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