With the marketplace currently flooded with Asian copy and counterfeit turbos its becoming ever more difficult to make the correct purchase without suffering severe failure costs further down the road
This guide should help you in the current turbocharger minefield...
1. Always buy a Genuine OEM Turbo from a reputable seller. These are the turbos your vehicle maker fitted to the car originally and for good reason. Non genuine turbos fail and when they do they can take your engine with them with repair costs up to and exceeding £10,000 for a replacement engine, another turbo and fitting costs.
2. Re-manufactured turbos are a good choice. Not only has the turbo been stripped down part by part renewed and rebuilt, most reputable re-manufacturers will iron out and solve any design fault issues the original model of turbo had from the original maker. The only thing you need to be aware of is because of cheap Chinese copies, some re-manufactures have panicked and are building OEM turbochargers with cheap Chinese parts because they truly believe they will go out of business if they don't get near to the price of a counterfeit turbo. Thus selling you what appears to be an OEM turbo that is just as bad as a counterfeit unbranded copy. Luckily there is a very easy way to identify these bogus re-manufactured turbos. They will appear cheap, falling well within the sub £300.00 price band. The average price of a good quality OEM specification re-manufactured turbo is around £450 - £1000 depending on your vehicle
3.) Look for the warranty period, A good re-manufacturer who knows he has built the turbo to exact OEM specs will not have any problems giving you a good long warranty, and will give you comprehensive instructions on how to fit the new turbo and identify and cure any problems the engine has that caused your original turbo to fail.
4.) Speak to your main dealer and find out the price of a turbo from them, this will give you an idea of the true value of genuine turbo. A turbo re-manufacture takes your old turbo in exchange for the new one just in the same way a main dealer will if they supply you a turbo.
5.) Beware of NEW counterfeit turbos. For example, It look like a Garrett turbo, it's new but its dirt cheap. These are the illegal Chinese direct branded copies and are even more dangerous than the non branded copies as they have concentrated on making it look genuine and even less of making it out of half decent materials. Some are even arriving from the counterfeiters in branded car manufactures boxes. Renault currently has a big problem with counterfeit parts in a copy of their packaging and branding. Just like the ongoing fashion industry's problem with fake clothes and footwear. So if you are being offered a £800 new turbo at £250 - £300. Its either fake or stolen, any other maths into why its so cheap does not add up. Obviously any warranty they offer is not worth the paper its written on. If the seller insists it's new and genuine demand to see proof of their connection with the OEM manufacturer or vehicle maker and a copy of their invoice from the manufacturer or vehicle maker.
6.) A correctly re-manufactured turbo will look like "NEW" no exceptions! If it looks like it's been used of badly cleaned up don't buy it.
7.) If it seems to good to be true... the old adage.... " IT PROBABLY IS ! " but this bad purchase could cost you a lot more than just having to replace the turbo again. It will cost you a destroyed engine.
We hope you found this guide helpful.
A good reference site for seeing how much a genuine turbo cost is:
BNT are the only official Garrett distributor for the UK. From there you can decide to buy new or find a good quality manufacturer.