Turbochargers vs. Superchargers: An Intro to Car Repair Training
October 21, 2015
Ever wondered why a luxury sports car makes that satisfying roar when it’s revving up? What you’re hearing is either a turbocharger or a supercharger. These are the two main types of forced induction systems, which compress air flowing into a car engine to boost its power.
Each system has its good and bad points, and manufacturers and drivers both tend to be divided on which they prefer. Once you become an auto mechanic, you will be dealing with many clients whose cars have these systems, or are looking to install them. Knowing the differences between how they are built, operated, and repaired can be crucial in providing the right service and advice.
If you are considering enrolling in auto mechanic courses, or you’ve already started your program, read on to find out more about the differences between turbochargers and superchargers.
The Auto Mechanics of Superchargers: Provides Immediate Power Boost
Students enrolled in automotive courses will learn that a supercharger is connected directly to an engine by a belt, and uses the crankshaft to compress air. This is pumped directly into the engine, adding more fuel to the combustion charge, to give an immediate boost in power. A Supercharger can spin as fast as 50,000rpm, and increase an auto’s horsepower by as much as 46%.
The Auto Mechanics of a Turbochargers: Gradually Increases Speed
Unlike superchargers, turbochargers are separate from the engine, and use the exhaust stream for their energy. The exhaust fumes spin a turbine which powers the compressor, and this gradually boosts the engine speed. The turbine of a turbocharger can spin at speeds of 150,000rpm, much faster than a supercharger, but it takes longer to reach the engine. This is known as ‘turbo lag.’
Understanding the Key Differences in Automotive Performance
Once you finish your auto mechanic apprenticeship and begin your career, you might find yourself being asked to install both turbochargers and superchargers, so it’s important to understand the significant differences in performance between the two.
While turbochargers are more powerful, superchargers produce power more immediately, and are also more effective at providing boosts at lower speeds. However, turbochargers are more energy efficient and compact. They are also easier to install and run with smaller engines. In addition, turbochargers are more effective at higher altititues as they are better at pumping thinner air than traditional engines.
Pros with Car Repair Training Know the Advantages and Disadvantages
When it comes to repairing these compressor systems, students pursuing car repair training should be mindful of a number of things. Turbochargers tend to be more compact and easier to install and repair. However, they experience dramatic rises in pressure and temperature, which can make them difficult to handle for drivers, causing accidents, as well as putting more demand on the engine’s oil supply, and often requiring additional plumbing work.
On the other hand, superchargers don’t require as much extra care and maintenance. However, they are tougher to install, as they need to be attached to the engine crank. The additional pressure and temperatures can also damage the engine internally. While any car that already carries a supercharger may have been engineered to handle this, it’s important to bear a supercharger’s difficulties in mind, should you consider installing one as part of a custom job.
Are you interested in learning more by pursuing car repair training?
Visit ATC to learn more about out specialized training programs or to speak to an advisor.
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