Can You Drive a Diesel with a Blown Turbo? (Answered)

Can You Drive a Diesel with a Blown Turbo

The majority of cars manufactured these days come with smaller engines that are boosted by turbo i.e. the turbo makes up for what the engine lacks in size. It is quite common to see diesel vehicles having turbo chargers, unlike petrol vehicles.

Although turbochargers are designed to last almost as long as a vehicle, they can get damaged along the line. The damage may be a fixable one or there will be a need to replace it. But the question is, can you drive a diesel with a blown Turbo?

Yes, it is possible to drive a diesel engine with a blown turbo if the repair shop is close by. However, it is not in a driver’s best interest to do. Driving with a blown turbo will cause more costly damage to the engine and the longer the car is driven, the higher the damage caused.

What is a Blown Turbo?

A blown turbo means the turbine blades are cracked, split, or shattered. It can also be where the bearings of the turbo are worn out and the engine begins to feed off of the oil even as the turbo blows it inside the cylinder.

It is quite easy to recognize signs of a failing or bad turbo. Some of its signs are stated below;

  • The Turbo no Longer Builds Boost: This particular sign isn’t as obvious as the other signs but is definitely something to look out for. When turbos that initially provide extra power start lagging in doing so, then it is worth looking into.
  • Rattling or Whining Noise: A blown turbo will make some weird noises, often times, you may not know where exactly the noise is coming from.
  • Excess Smoke Coming from the Exhaust: This is probably the first sign of a blown or failing turbo. For vehicles that have a turbo, seeing smoke-colored blue/gray may also be a sign of a blown turbo.

A turbo can fail or get blown because of the following;

  • When the seal is damaged
  • Using oil different from the one recommended in the owner’s manual
  • Low oil in the system

Can You Drive a Diesel With a Blown Turbo?

Diesel vehicles can be driven with a blown turbocharger however, this isn’t advisable. Driving a diesel with a blown turbo will only cause further damage to the engine. What should be done if this happens is to stop the car at that instance and find a way to fix or replace it.

Stopping the car when you notice the turbo is blown will save you a lot of money that you would have used in fixing a damaged engine.

Can a Blown Turbo Damage an Engine?

A blown turbo will damage an engine especially if it happens while driving and the turbo isn’t fixed in time. The longer a blown turbo is left untended, the bigger the damage that will be done to the engine.

Turbochargers are a part of the engine so if anything is wrong with it, the engine is on its way to being damaged.

The best way to avoid having a damaged engine as it relates to a blown turbo is by having the turbo repaired or replaced immediately.

Disadvantages of a Blown Turbo

Just as turbochargers are praised for their many benefits such as; increased speed, extra power, etc. there are also disadvantages if the turbo fails or gets blown.

It is important to know some disadvantages of a blown turbo, this will help you understand the need for urgent repairs if it happens.

1. Overheating

One of the many disadvantages of a blown turbo is overheating, however, overheating occurs only under extreme conditions.

An extreme condition could be a high-performance driving condition when a car is exacted even when the turbo is blown instead of stopping the car immediately.

When a turbo overheats it causes its bearings to heat up.

2. Engine Damage

Turbochargers are part of an engine system (for cars that have them), if the turbo is damaged then the possibility of the engine also getting damaged is very high especially when the damage isn’t fixed in time.

3. Cost of Replacement

In the event that a turbo gets blown, most people may prefer to have it repaired instead of replacing it with a new one.

In the long run repairing may not be the best option, and choosing to replace the turbo doesn’t come cheap plus the cost of getting someone that will do a good job or installing it.

4. Reduced Power and Speed

Pending the time that the turbo will be fixed, you will have to deal with reduced speed and power of the engine as against the high speed and power you are used to when the turbo was performing at its best.

Things You Should Do if Your Turbo Blows

After you must have determined the cause of the signs you are seeing to be a result of a blown turbo, you can do one of the following;

  1. Purchase a new turbo and replace the damaged one or,
  2. Repair and recondition the existing turbo.

Going for either of these options will depend on the amount of money you have to spend. Most people in a bid to reduce cost will opt for reconditioning and repairing the turbo they have, while this may work for the time being It may not be the best option in the long run.

It is usually advisable to purchase a new turbo and replace the damaged one, by so doing you get a longer warranty on the turbo and also a longer period of use free of issues.

If you choose to have the turbo replaced, be sure to get someone who knows what they are doing to handle the installation because a small mistake during installation can prove to be costly.


It is important for every car owner/driver to know at least the basics of how their car works. Knowing these will help you quickly detect if anything out of the ordinary is happening with the car and you will be able to take immediate actions to fix it.