What Is Boost Creep?

Are you curious to know what is boost creep? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about boost creep in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is boost creep?

What Is Boost Creep?

Boost creep is a term commonly used in the world of turbocharged engines, particularly in performance-oriented vehicles. It refers to a situation where the boost pressure produced by the turbocharger exceeds the desired or target level, leading to potential issues and compromises the overall performance and reliability of the engine. In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the concept of boost creep, its causes, consequences, and possible solutions.

Understanding Turbocharging And Boost Pressure

Before we dive into boost creep, it is crucial to comprehend the basics of turbocharging. Turbochargers are forced induction devices that compress the incoming air into the engine, resulting in higher power output. A turbocharger comprises a turbine and a compressor, connected by a common shaft. Exhaust gases from the engine drive the turbine, which then spins the compressor, compressing the intake air.

Boost pressure refers to the amount of pressure generated by the turbocharger, which is typically measured in pounds per square inch (psi) or bar units. The desired boost pressure is determined by the engine’s design, performance goals, and the target power output.

Boost Creep: Causes And Consequences

Boost creep occurs when the boost pressure exceeds the intended level, causing a deviation from the desired balance. This phenomenon can be problematic for various reasons:

  1. Exhaust Backpressure: Boost creep often arises due to an increase in exhaust backpressure. If the exhaust flow is restricted, the turbine spins slower, resulting in less energy to drive the compressor. However, if the exhaust system is inefficient or if modifications have been made without proper consideration, backpressure can increase, leading to higher boost levels.
  2. Wastegate Insufficiency: Wastegates are designed to control and regulate the boost pressure. They function by diverting some of the exhaust gases away from the turbine, limiting its speed and consequently controlling the boost. In the case of boost creep, the wastegate may prove insufficient to bypass an adequate amount of exhaust gases, causing the boost pressure to climb beyond the desired level.
  3. Mechanical Limitations: Boost creep can also occur when the turbocharger or other engine components cannot handle the higher boost pressure. This situation puts excessive stress on the turbocharger, wastegate, intercooler, and other associated parts, potentially leading to failure or reduced lifespan.

The consequences of boost creep can be significant. The excessive boost pressure can strain engine components, potentially leading to blown head gaskets, damaged pistons, bent connecting rods, and other catastrophic failures. Additionally, the engine’s power delivery and drivability may be compromised, affecting overall performance.

Solutions And Prevention

Addressing boost creep requires a systematic approach to diagnose and rectify the underlying causes. Here are a few possible solutions and preventive measures:

  1. Upgraded Wastegate: Installing a higher capacity wastegate that can effectively divert exhaust gases can help prevent boost creep. A larger wastegate, designed specifically for higher boost applications, allows for better control and regulation.
  2. Exhaust System Modification: Ensuring the exhaust system is properly designed and free from restrictions can help alleviate boost creep. This can involve using larger diameter piping, optimizing bends, and reducing backpressure.
  3. Tuning And Engine Management: Professional tuning and engine management systems can help fine-tune the boost levels and optimize the performance while ensuring safe operation. Proper calibration can mitigate the risk of boost creep and protect the engine from excessive pressures.
  4. Turbocharger Upgrade: In cases where the boost creep is persistent or severe, upgrading to a larger turbocharger with a higher flow capacity can offer a more effective solution. A turbocharger specifically designed for higher boost levels can handle the pressure more efficiently.


Boost creep is a phenomenon that can occur in turbocharged engines when the boost pressure exceeds the desired level. It arises due to factors such as exhaust backpressure, wastegate insufficiency, and mechanical limitations. Boost creep can have detrimental effects on engine performance, reliability, and longevity. Addressing this issue requires a thorough understanding of the underlying causes and implementing appropriate solutions, such as upgrading the wastegate, modifying the exhaust system, optimizing tuning and engine management, or considering a turbocharger upgrade. By effectively managing boost levels, enthusiasts can ensure a reliable and high-performing turbocharged engine.

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How Do You Know If You Have Boost Creep?

If your car is suffering from Boost Creep, what you will see is at some rpm after your boost begins to taper as normal, your boost pressure will begin to build again, and if it does, it most likely won’t stop until you let off the accelerator. It will also most likely build well beyond your target boost.

How Do I Get Rid Of Boost Creep?

Boost Creep is not a condition that can be corrected solely by making tuning changes as it is a mechanical limitation. The two easiest ways to address boost creep are to either port the wastegate housing of the turbocharger in order to allow it to flow more air or to switch to an external wastegate style uppipe.

What Would Cause A Turbo To Overboost?

Some of the most common causes include a sticking or damaged wastegate or wastegate control valve, problems with the connections or wiring on the boost pressure sensor, and problems with the turbocharger itself.

Can A Catless Downpipe Cause Boost Creep?

In most vehicles we support, using a catless downpipe can cause boost creep, or uncontrollable boost. This is typically something that tuning cannot fix as it is a mechanical issue that can only be resolved with a catted downpipe.


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