Can a Subaru Motor Be Saved After Turbo Goes Bad?

Are you a Subaru owner who’s worried about the health of your engine after experiencing turbo failure? Worry not! In this article, we’ll explore the causes, signs, and steps to take when dealing with a Subaru motor after the turbo goes bad.

Key Takeaways

  • Turbo failure can lead to severe engine damage, but it’s not always the case.
  • There are several signs of turbo failure, including loss of power and unusual noises.
  • Regular maintenance and proper driving habits can prevent turbo failure and engine damage.
  • Replacing the turbo or upgrading to a higher-quality one can save the Subaru motor.

Causes of Turbo Failure in Subaru Engines

Turbochargers are essential components of Subaru engines. They are responsible for increasing the engine’s power and efficiency by compressing air and fuel before it enters the cylinders. However, turbochargers can fail due to several reasons, including:

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Lack of Lubrication

Turbochargers rely on oil for lubrication and cooling. If the oil level is low, dirty, or contaminated, the turbocharger’s bearings can wear out quickly, leading to failure.


Turbochargers operate at high temperatures, and if they get too hot, the oil can break down and lose its lubricating properties. Overheating can happen due to several reasons, such as a clogged oil line, a damaged oil cooler, or a malfunctioning engine coolant system.

Foreign Objects

Small debris, such as dirt or metal shavings, can enter the turbocharger and damage its impeller or compressor wheel. This can happen due to a dirty air filter or a malfunctioning engine breather system.

Age and Wear

Turbochargers are not meant to last forever. They have a limited lifespan and can wear out over time due to the high stress and heat they endure.

Signs of Turbo Failure in Subaru Engines

If you experience any of the following signs, your Subaru’s turbocharger may be failing, and your engine may be at risk:

Loss of Power

A failing turbocharger can cause a loss of power and acceleration, especially at high speeds or when going uphill.

Unusual Noises

If you hear a whining, humming, or grinding noise from the engine or turbocharger, it may be a sign of a failing turbocharger.

Smoke from the Exhaust

A failing turbocharger can cause excessive smoke from the exhaust, usually black or blue in color, due to oil or coolant entering the combustion chamber.

Warning Lights

If the check engine light or the oil pressure light comes on, it may indicate a problem with the turbocharger or the engine.

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Steps to Save the Subaru Motor after Turbo Goes Bad

If you experience turbo failure in your Subaru, don’t panic. There are several steps you can take to save your engine and avoid costly repairs:

Stop Driving Immediately

If you notice any signs of turbo failure, stop driving your Subaru immediately. Continuing to drive with a failing turbocharger can cause severe engine damage and lead to expensive repairs.

Inspect the Turbocharger

Inspect the turbocharger for any signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or worn-out bearings. If the turbocharger is damaged, it may need to be replaced.

Check the Oil and Coolant Systems

Check the oil and coolant levels and ensure they are at the recommended levels. Also, inspect the oil and coolant systems for any leaks, clogs, or damages.

Replace or Upgrade the Turbocharger

If the turbocharger is damaged, you can either replace it with a new or refurbished one or upgrade to a higher-quality turbocharger that can withstand more heat and stress.

Regular Maintenance and Proper Driving Habits

Regular maintenance, such as oil changes, air filter replacements, and engine tune-ups, can prevent turbo failure and engine damage. Also, proper driving habits, such as avoiding excessive acceleration and high-speed driving, can reduce the stress on the engine and turbocharger.


Turbo failure can be a frustrating and costly problem for Subaru owners, but it’s not the end of the world. By paying attention to the signs of turbo failure, taking proper steps when dealing with a failing turbocharger, and practicing regular maintenance and proper driving habits, you can save your Subaru motor and avoid expensive repairs. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!

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Q: Can a Subaru engine be damaged if the turbo fails?

A: Yes, a failing turbocharger can cause severe engine damage if not taken care of immediately.

Q: How long do Subaru turbochargers last?

A: Subaru turbochargers typically last between 100,000 to 150,000 miles, depending on driving habits and maintenance.

Q: Can upgrading to a higher-quality turbocharger prevent turbo failure?

A: Yes, upgrading to a higher-quality turbocharger can increase reliability and prevent turbo failure.

Q: What is the cost of replacing a Subaru turbocharger?

A: The cost of replacing a Subaru turbocharger can range from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the model and the type of turbocharger.

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Davis Bellew

As a Subaru owner and enthusiast, Davis has a deep understanding of the needs and concerns of Subaru drivers. He specializes in writing informative and engaging content about Subaru maintenance and repair, and his articles are always well-researched and easy to understand. When he's not writing, he enjoys hiking and photography.

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