How long should you let your turbo engine idle before turning it off?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

We have a 1986 Peugeot 505 Turbo Wagon. We love the comfortable ride and the nice features. However, after only 28,000 miles the turbo burned out. Thankfully, it was under warranty but the dealer tried to blame us by saying that we didn't let the engine idle long enough before turning it off. When we bought the car they told us to let it run for about 15 seconds. After it burned up they said we should have run it for 45-60 seconds. With only 2500 miles left on the warranty, we are wondering how to prolong the life of the turbo.

RAY: When the dealer told you to run it for 15 seconds, I think he meant you should only drive it for 15 seconds. That would be the best way to preserve the turbo.

TOM: What we have here is another anti-turbo argument. Don't you feel stupid trying to look busy for 15 seconds while the turbo cools fumble through the glove box, adjust the mirror, check the pre-sets on the radio. Can you imagine what a jerk you'll feel like sitting there for a whole minute?

RAY: But since you have a turbo, you really have no choice but to let it cool down. Idling the engine cools the turbo because it circulates the oil, yet does not make the turbo "work." The amount of cooling it needs is directly related to the way you just finished driving it. When you drive it gently around town, 15 seconds should be more than adequate. When you drive the car hard ie. when your husband drives it, you should let it cool for 30 to 60 seconds.

TOM: I'd pick up a copy of War and Peace to read while the turbo is cooling. At two or three minutes a day, you should finish the book just in time for your next turbo replacement.

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