Special Maintenance Considerations for Supercharged Cars


There are several automobile companies with supercharged cars—Cadillac and Camaro may immediately come to mind for automotive technicians. A supercharged car has an air compressor attached to the engine in order to force more air inside and thus increase power in the vehicle. Honda has recently engineered a custom supercharger kit for their 2013-14 CZ-R hatchback. To get an idea of the capability of a supercharger, Honda’s supercharger kit will increase the vehicle’s powertrain output from 130hp to 197hp.

Supercharged vs. Turbocharged

Both types are designed to increase a car’s horsepower, but their difference in function leads to a slight change in performance, as you will learn in an auto mechanic course. While supercharging works with a mechanical belt spinning and pushing air inside the motor, turbochargers use the exhaust air to spin a turbine (non-mechanical),forcing air into the combustion chamber. There is no general consensus on which power source is better, it is more a matter of personal preference, or the type of vehicle being driven – for instance, most diesel trucks use a turbocharger.

Pros of Supercharged

Compared to turbochargers, which are prone to lag, supercharging is a much more reliable mode of inducing power. They also require less maintenance than a turbocharger and are less prone to break down.  Superchargers can also just be bolted to the top of the engine, opposed to turbochargers which require modification of the exhaust system.


For all their speed capability, superchargers are known to have poor mileage. These days, car buyers are more interested in a reasonably fast car that can also take them far, which is why smaller cars with turbochargers in the $25,000-35,000 range are popular. Superchargers use air to increase power, meaning that overboosting the supercharger will blow hot air into the engine and could cause damage. A turbocharger is also able toproduce power quicker because it is not attached to the engine.

V8 Supercharged car engine and spanner

Maintenance Tips

If you have dreams of an auto career, then it will be important to learn the necessities of supercharger maintenance.

  • Air is constantly being blown into the engine making it prone to overheating, so be sure to check your coolant and ensure the cooling system is functional.
  • Since superchargers eat up gas, be sure to check fuel levels.
  • A supercharger belt has a life expectancy of 80,000-110,000 km, and should be replaced before reaching this point.
  • Oil should be changed after every 160,000 km (a harder working engine requires more protection!)
  • Check your supercharger air filter for clogging

For a better look at how superchargers work in comparison to turbochargers, check out this informative video!

Categories: ATC News, Montreal
Tags: auto careers, auto mechanic courses, automotive technician

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