top of page

Wastegate Stuck Open (Signs & Symptoms)

Updated: Feb 1

A wastegate is an exhaust bypass valve that regulates the flow of exhaust gases in an internal combustion engine. It is an important component of an engine's turbocharging system, as it prevents the turbo from over-speeding and damaging itself or other engine components.

When a wastegate becomes stuck in the open position, it can lead to multiple issues, such as reduced turbo boost pressure, acceleration and throttle response. It can also cause the check engine light to come on.

In this article, we will discuss what can happen if the wastegate becomes stuck in the open position, including the signs and symptoms, as well as how to diagnose and fix the problem.

Table of Contents:

internal wastegate on a turbocharger

What Is a Wastegate?

A wastegate is a valve that is mounted on the exhaust side of a turbocharged engine. It consists of a valve and a diaphragm that is connected to a actuator. The actuator is controlled by a valve that is opened and closed by a rod.

When the valve is in the open position, exhaust gases can flow freely through the wastegate and bypass the turbo. When the valve is in the closed position, the exhaust gases are forced through the turbine, which increases the boost pressure and horsepower of the engine.

Can a Wastegate Get Stuck Open?

Yes, a wastegate can get stuck open, meaning that the valve remains in the open position and does not properly regulate the flow of exhaust gases through the turbine of the turbocharger.

A wastegate can be stuck open if the wastegate actuator fails. This can cause the turbocharger to produce too little boost pressure, leading to reduced performance and reduced throttle response.

Wastegate Stuck Open Symptoms

There are several signs and symptoms that you might experience if your wastegate becomes stuck in the open position. Some of the most common symptoms include the following.

1. Reduced boost pressure

The reduced boost pressure caused by a stuck open wastegate can have several consequences on the performance of a vehicle.

When the exhaust gases bypass the turbocharger's turbine, the turbo cannot generate sufficient pressure to spool up, leading to a decrease in the boost pressure. This can negatively affect the engine's power output and throttle response.

2. Reduced acceleration and power

The engine's power during acceleration is also impacted by the reduced boost pressure. As the turbocharger is unable to generate enough pressure to spool up, the engine will produce less power during acceleration. This can result in reduced acceleration and overall driving experience.

It can also be a safety concern if the vehicle is unable to accelerate when needed, such as when driving up a steep hill, overtaking a slower vehicle, or attempting to merge on a fast road.

3. Worsened throttle response

The reduced throttle response is also a direct result of the decreased boost pressure caused by the stuck open wastegate. The turbocharger won't spool up as fast or at all, causing the engine to produce less power and respond slower to throttle inputs.

4. Triggers the check engine light

Finally, if the wastegate is stuck open, it can cause various issues with the engine and can trigger the check engine light to come on.

This warning light is a sign that the engine's performance and operation are not within normal parameters, indicating that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

check engine light on a car dashboard

What Happens if the Wastegate Is Stuck Open?

A wastegate is a valve in a turbocharged engine that controls the amount of exhaust gases that are allowed to flow through the turbo. The wastegate is connected to the turbo through a hose, and it is opened and closed by a spring or actuator.

When the wastegate is open, it allows excess exhaust gases to bypass the turbo, which helps to prevent the engine from producing too much boost.

If the wastegate becomes stuck open, it means that the valve is stuck in the open position and is unable to close.

Can You Drive With a Wastegate Stuck Open?

It is not recommended to drive with a wastegate stuck open. Driving with a wastegate stuck open can cause damage to your turbo. It may also be unsafe due to reduced performance and throttle response.

It's important to address the issue as soon as possible to avoid costly repairs.

How Do I Know if My Wastegate Is Stuck Open?

You would likely notice a stuck open wastegate due to reduced throttle response and power, you may also hear an unusual noise coming from the turbocharger area.

If your vehicle has a turbo boost pressure gauge you would also notice the boost pressure is lower than it should be. You may also test this with an OBD diagnostic tool.

How to Fix a Wastegate Stuck Open

If your wastegate is stuck open, the best course of action is to have it repaired or replaced by a mechanic. In some cases, it may be possible to fix the wastegate by cleaning it or lubricating the moving parts. However, it is generally more reliable to replace the wastegate altogether.


A wastegate stuck open can cause a number of symptoms such as reduced power, reduced throttle response and may also illuminate the check engine light.


Related Posts

See All

More Questions? Ask the Community

Our Promise

TuneAutos is a car, vehicle, and automotive information publishing company working to make honest, accurate, and unbiased information easy to find. Our goal is to provide the highest-quality automotive information possible.

All of our articles are subjected to the most rigorous editorial standards to ensure the best possible possible quality. See our process here.

bottom of page