There is quite a bit of technical terminology used in the automotive world,
making it easy for the average person to get confused. One of the most
common examples of this is in the difference between “superchargers”
and “turbochargers.” While many people in the auto industry and car aficionados mention
these components almost in the same breath due to their classification
as forced induction systems, in reality, these components are actually
quite different and have varying purposes.
Both Are Forced Induction Systems
First, their similarities must be addressed. Both turbochargers and superchargers
are forced induction systems which work to boost the power of a vehicle
by compressing and forcing air into its engine. Forced induction systems
can add as much as 50% more power to a vehicle’s engine, allowing
sports cars and luxury vehicles to roar on the roads when their owners
are tired of the engine purring like a kitten. The main difference between
these two systems lies in their power supply.
Turbochargers use the vehicle’s exhaust stream for its energy. The
exhaust runs through a turbine which can spin the compressor up to 150,000
rotations per minute (RPM), a speed roughly 30 times faster than an ordinary
engine. While a turbocharger may take a little bit to kick in and cause
a car to lunge forward, smaller turbochargers can produce this boost quicker
and are more effective at higher altitudes.
Superchargers, on the other hand, are powered by a crankshaft tied directly
by a belt to the engine which compresses air of the atmospheric pressure,
forcing air into the engine. Superchargers increase a vehicle’s
horsepower by allowing more fuel to be added to the combustion charge,
though they do not have a waste gate to capture smog.
Which is Better?
Determining which system is better will largely depend upon the vehicle
in question and what the owner is looking to accomplish. Superchargers
can deliver their performance boost at lower RPMs, whereas turbochargers
put out considerable power at higher engine rotations. Likewise, while
turbochargers are quieter, superchargers are easier to maintain and are
If you are looking to increase your vehicle’s power through turbocharging
or supercharging, look no further than HP Motorsports. With more than
20 years of automotive expertise, our crew of Houston & Katy auto
performance specialists can guide you towards a solution that is right
for your vehicle and help you unleash its full potential.
Call (281) 231-9950 or
contact us online today to
request your free estimate!