Are Turbos Universal? All You Need to Know

Most users install turbos to boost the horsepower of their vehicles. It can easily ramp up the power of heavy cars such as the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel or a Ford Focus RS. In this article, we will discuss whether turbos are universal.

Are you interested in finding out whether turbos are universal? Let’s go!

Will Any Turbo Work on Any Engine?

In most cases, any turbo will work on any engine. You can use some idea of the RPM range and size of your engine along with the science of compressor maps to add almost any turbo to your engine.

Sizes of turbine wheels, A/R ratios of the specific turbine housing, and availability of maps are required to get the job done. It is all about the optimization of these parameters.

With respect to the make, model, and variant of your car, you can choose the best-performing turbo by focusing on these parameters. It is more like compromising on one thing to gain another.

Nonetheless, we have laid out the complete method to select the best turbo for your car later in this article, so bear with us till the end.

Also read: 10 Best 300 HP Cars for Less Than $20k

How Do I Know What Turbo Fits My Car?

Before you choose a turbo for your car, make sure you pick a horsepower range that you need. Don’t just go for the biggest turbo on the market. You can find the right turbo for your car by finding out the amount of air used by your engine at the required boost pressure.

Find out the following figures:

  • Boost pressure
  • Volumetric efficiency
  • Engine size
  • Engine RPM

You can do some manual math on these figures or use an online calculator to find out the following:

  • Amount of air in m3/min
  • Amount of air in lbs./min
  • Amount of air in CFM

These are the RPM or revolutions per minute values of the crankshaft that is connected to the piston rods. It shows the number of up and down motions of the piston in the cylinder. This measurement helps you find out the engine’s displacement.

You need to match your turbo with these values to ensure that it will fit your car.

Can We Build the Perfect Turbo for Almost Any Engine?

Manufacturers are constantly trying to build the perfect turbo that will fit almost any engine. But unfortunately, we are not there yet. Though, car makers are positive that perfect turbos can be built for almost any engine.

The latest innovations include the use of ball bearings in both commercial and passenger bearings for improved efficiency. eTurbos are also being developed which come with an electric motor between the turbine and compressor stages.

Applying electricity on the eTurbos will enhance performance, while harvesting electricity from them will help charge vehicle batteries. These and other innovations in the future can help make the perfect turbo that will fit almost any engine.

Also read: 9 Easy Ways to Increase Car’s Horsepower (+30 HP)

What Variables Should Be in Our mind While Buying Turbos?

Before you get a turbo for yourself, you must consider the following factors so that you end up making the right choice. Let’s find out all about them!

  1. Size Of Turbine and Compressor Housing

The first and most important factor to consider is the Area Ratio of the compressor and turbine housing. This is determined by A/R or Area/Radius which is a geometric characteristic of the turbine and compressor housing. This is basically the ratio of the inlet cross-sectional area and the radius of the turbo.

The flow is directly proportional to the value of A/R. The greater the value of A/R, the greater will be the flow. However, this does not mean that you need to get a turbo with the largest A/R value. Selecting this is similar to sizing your N/A motor’s exhaust.

If you choose a very big exhaust, you will lose the scavenging effect which will lead to a loss of flow. Choosing a very small exhaust will result in a loss of power due to a bottleneck.

Similarly, getting a very large turbo will result in your turbo reacting slowly. On the other hand, choosing a very small turbo might cause it to get choked up.

Choose a size that goes with the specifications of your vehicle. You can take help from an expert in this regard.

2. Size Of Turbine and Compressor Impeller

The compressor impeller helps enhance the performance of the turbo. Changing the structural parameters of the compressor impeller has a direct effect on the turbo’s overall performance.

Therefore, make sure that you choose a size that works well with the specifications of your vehicle. As you optimize the size parameters of the compressor impeller, you will notice a decrease in velocity loss as well as in the shock wave intensity.

It will also help increase the post-compression temperature, efficiency, and pressure ratio.

3. Turbine Housing Inlet Type and Exhaust Outlet Type

Exhaust gas enters the housing of the turbine through the inlet and exits into the exhaust system through the exhaust outlet.

It is important to consider the inlet and outlet when choosing a turbine for your vehicle. This helps you determine if the turbo will fit your vehicle or not.

Make sure the type of the inlet and outlet of the turbo matches your vehicle so that you know that the turbo is compatible with your car.

4. Shaft and Thrust Bearing Type

The shaft and thrust bearing of the turbo helps bear the axial force produced by the system. This system prevents friction in the wheels and helps reduce housing contact.

It is important to choose the right shaft and thrust bearing type because it will help improve the durability of the system.


  1. Do turbos fit all cars?

Answer: Yes, turbos fit almost all cars and it is also possible to fit a turbo on a non-turbo car. However, it is important that the engine is naturally aspirated. You will also have to upgrade some other parts of the car so that it is compatible with the turbo.

  1. Are turbo kits Universal?

Answer: Yes, there are some universal turbo kits available on the market. However, you need to cut, weld, fabricate, and wire the kit according to your vehicle. These are basically DIY kits and you need a lot of knowledge about engines in order to use them well.

  1. Is it legal to turbo your car?

Answer: Yes, in most countries, it is allowed to fit your car engine with a turbo. However, the turbo should be identical to the one that the manufacturer is producing for that car.