Common turbo failure – oil leaks

What are oil leaks?

Oil leaks can be caused by a variety of factors, the main factor being incorrect pressure within the compressor and turbine housings. Oil leaks can cause catastrophic damage to the bearing systems and occur within seconds of the turbocharger commencing operation.

When a turbocharger is installed correctly, it should NOT leak oil, however, there can be cases where oil leaks occur. The following highlights some of the main causes and signs of oil leaks.



Oil Leak

Example of correct pressures

Causes of oil leaks

Examples of how oil leaks can occur:

Preventing future oil leaks:

  • Ensure air and oil drain systems are clear from blockages or restrictions
  • Check the exhaust system to make sure there are no leaks present
  • Do not use silicone on oil gaskets as it can easily become detached and block oil passages Ensure DPF (diesel particulate filter) and Catalytic converter are free of blockages
  • Use the correct gaskets and o-rings
  • Only use the correct standard of turbine housings and compressor housings
  • Check for correct oil levels and pressure


For further common turbo failure topics, check out our other helps guides

Common turbo failure modes create much discussion between our customers and technical department. To help identify common failures in warranty situations and to provide advice on how to prevent future failures occurring, we have created a series of help guides:


Foreign Object Damage


Oil Contamination

Insufficient Lubrication


For further information on this or other topics, visit or contact our Technical team via [email protected]