Vehicles with a turbocharger or supercharger have a unique advantage over others with plain engines. They have the ability to harness air, pump it into the engine, and create a boost of power. As students achieving their auto mechanic certification may know, the way the two chargers go about this process differs.
Are you dreaming of exciting careers in the auto industry? If you’re thinking of becoming a mechanic or working with vehicle engines, make sure you know the differences between turbochargers and superchargers!
Check out our infographic for a quick crash course on what you need to know about the key differences between turbocharged and supercharged engines.
Turbo vs Supercharger: What’s the Difference?
Both turbochargers and superchargers are forced induction systems.
Forced induction systems push compressed air into the engine
The air combined with the fuel combusts to power the vehicle
The more compressed air, the more powerful the engine becomes
Boosts can provide up to 50% more power to the engine
Aren’t just for sports cars!
Examples of turbocharged vehicles:
- Dodge Dart
- Ford Taurus
- Volkswagen GTI
- BMW 3 Series
Are a great addition to upscale vehicles!
Examples of supercharged vehicles:
- Dodge Challenger
- Audi S4
- Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
- Jaguar F-Type
The main component that differentiates turbo and superchargers is the power supply
How do turbochargers work?
- The car’s exhaust gasses spin the turbocharger’s turbine
- The turbine makes the air compressor force air into the engine
- The extra air improves combustion and creates more power
- A turbocharger’s turbine can spin up to 150,000 RPM
- Turbo RPM speed is up to 30x faster than a regular engine
How do superchargers work?
- A belt connects the supercharger to the engine
- The supercharger is spun by the crankshaft
- The spinning forces compressed air into the engine
- Superchargers can reach up to 50,000 RPM
- Superchargers can supply up to 46% more horsepower to a vehicle
Advantages of Turbochargers:
- Energy efficient
- Better suited to smaller engines
- Function well at high altitudes
- Up to 20% more fuel economy than normal gasoline vehicles
Advantages of Superchargers:
- Immediate boost
- Better boosting at slower speeds
- Lack of turbo lag
- Easier to maintain than a turbocharger
Did you know?
Vehicles can have both turbo and supercharged engines
This is commonly referred to as “twincharged”
Drivers gain the benefits of both technologies:
- More power at low engine speeds
- Higher RPMs
- Increased immediacy