Being an automobile savvy, you must have heard these two terms ‘turbochargers’ and ‘superchargers’ more frequently. Both of these chargers fall under the ‘forced induction’ umbrella. Knowing only this much about these two, rather it is necessary to know how actually does it work. In general, turbochargers and superchargers, both generate boost by compressing the air which flows into an engine. As a result of which the more fuel can be pumped into the cylinder, giving more power from every explosion in a cylinder.
The turbochargers works by using hot exhaust gases to spin the blades of the compressor mounted on the engine while superchargers or high performance supercharger pulley, on the other hand, works attaching to the main drive pulley, using the power of the vehicle’s engine to compress air.
Look at these few points to determine which charger to choose for your engine- turbocharger or supercharger.
- Turbocharger installation is more difficult as the turbocharger needs to be integrated into the existing exhaust system, making it difficult to install after-market than the supercharger that basically bolts on the top of the engine. To install a turbocharger in the engine you have to re-route the exhaust system inside the engine bay so that the turbo can straddle the intake and exhaust system.
- Turbochargers are more efficient because they are powered by vehicle’s exhaust gases essentially converting the wasted energy into the additional power. While superchargers on the other hand pull their power directly from the engine. The turbos are therefore perfectly suited for the smaller engines whereas superchargers are tend to be best suited with the larger engines. The superchargers can even hurt the performance of the engine at the lower RPM in case the supercharger boost can be gobbled up by the energy needed to drive the high-performance supercharger pulley.
Which one is more reliable among these two?
The answer to this question depends on the heat management and cost. As a general rule, superchargers manage heat better than most turbos. The internally oiled superchargers are practically bulletproof whereas the superchargers that use vehicle’s oil system for cooling are less reliable. The turbochargers have to manage more heat as compared to the superchargers. Thus, the aftermarket supercharger is typically more reliable as far as it is compared to the after-market turbocharger.