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Turbo Timer


Also known as:



What is it?

It's an electronic gizmo that runs the engine on for a while when you turn the ignition off to allow oil to circulate and cool the turbos down. If you turn the engine off straight away after hooning about the oil stops flowing past the turbo bearings. Because the turbos are so hot, oil can solidify and form deposits which can knacker your turbo bearings. Which is bad. That is why you should always let the car idle for a while before switching off, to let the oil circulate and cool them down (you do that already right? :) )


A turbo timer is a lazy mans’ gadget that wires into the ignition and does the idling for you, by counting down on a timer. The simplest ones are just timers, the more sophisticated measure boost, revs or some other variable and use it to work out how long to idle for. Most have a feature that cuts the engine immediately if the handbrake is released by an opportunist thieving scumbag, although of course not having the keys in the ignition means the steering lock will kick in.


An alternative is an alarm like a top end Clifford which has IntelliStart - basically remote engine starting and stopping.



Idles the car so you don't have to (but see cons below)

Most have other features like stopwatches, boost gauges etc.

Takes the guesswork out of things.



Can cause problems with some alarms as they will think the ignition is on. Some creative wiring is required to let you arm the alarm and lock the doors while the engine is running.

It's actually illegal to leave your car with the engine running.

These two things mean you have to sit there waiting anyway, but at least you know how long for :)


-Simon B

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  • 3 years later...
  • 1 year later...

very useful section this and some great articles, even retailer websites don't even explain what the device actually does. I considered getting one but having read this and being old fashioned I'll spend my money on something else.

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Guest markhonda

its not illegal to leave the car running with intellistart if its wired "correctly" meaning if fitted to a manual it needs to be fitted with the manual safestart feature loads of people have told me this

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I know this reply is coming quite a long time after the previous one but just an update on the leaving the car running.

I have family in the police force and wanted to check this information.

It turns out it is illegal to leave the car running whilst the keys are still in the ignition. The offence is called 'Quitting'. That may just be a term the police use though.

The police themselves have a system in place called 'run lock' to keep their cars running without the keys in the ignition so that they can run their lights whilst static without draining the battery.


A little bit of extra info - If you leave your car running with the keys in the ignition and you have a passenger in the car then they must hold a full UK driving licence otherwise it is still considered illegal.

Unless the fire brigade have updated their vehicles to have run locks then they are the only people/organisation that are exempt from this law.

Edited by Twisted (see edit history)
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