Motormouth: Car's hesitation is turbo lag

Bob Weber, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

Q: In April, I purchased a used 2018 Ford Edge with the EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo engine and approximately 25,000 miles on it. I feel that the engine has a hesitation from a stop or from lower speeds when asked to accelerate for passing. My dealer does not agree. I have had the car in to them three times.

The first time they reset the computer so it would adapt to my driving habits and not those of my predecessor. The manual says the engine was designed to run on 87 octane, but if performance is an issue, use 91 octane. I do not want to spend that much on gas. Can you help?

-- G.G., West Chicago, Ill.

A: If this is your first turbocharged vehicle, you may be surprised to learn that what you experience is normal. It's called turbo lag. When you mash the gas, it takes a brief moment for the turbo to spool up. That's because the turbo is driven by exhaust gases leaving the engine. If you have ever blown on a toy pinwheel, you know that it doesn't instantly reach full speed.

Q: I have a 2013 Subaru BRZ that I absolutely love. There's just one problem. Sometimes it will either start and stall or not start at all with a few tries, and then it will start and be fine. Have you heard of this? Any fixes? Recalls? I'm a single mom that turned 60 and decided I needed a fun car.

-- C.H., Macungie, Pa.

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A: I am not aware of a pattern failure, but when I need information about recalls, I go to the NHTSA website. There is lots of helpful stuff at

Q: The headlight lenses on my car have gotten hazy over the years. There seems to be two paths to fixing this, short of replacing the lenses. Use sandpaper of increasing fineness to resurface the lenses or a liquid or paste to fill in the scratches. The latter choice would be easier and less effort, but it seems like it would need to be redone after a rain or car wash. Any feedback?

-- C.W., Cary, Ill.

A: The coating on the headlight lenses cracks, fades, discolors and robs you of proper lighting for night driving. Your first hunch is right.


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