You want your car to go really fast, and you are presented with a conundrum. You see a supercharged car and a turbocharged car. They both sound the same, right? Super and turbo both mean “fast” to most people.
But you can’t think of each of them as the same thing. They might produce roughly the same result but they do it in very different ways. Here are some of the ways to distinguish between a supercharged car and a turbocharged car.
Both of them are forced induction systems, which means they grab air and shove it into your engine to boost performance. Because the more air that goes through, the more power you can get.
Each will make your car perform much better when it comes to quick acceleration and top speed. Also, each is a legal modification that you can do to your car, provided you do it correctly.
The supercharger bolts to the engine and has a belt that connects to the engine. As the engine goes, it spins the supercharger belt and forces more air into the engine.
The turbocharger has to do with exhaust. As your engine produces exhaust while running, those gases spin a turbine in the turbocharger and that turbine shoves compressed air into the engine. The turbocharger is not directly attached to your engine, a huge difference when compared with the supercharger, and it can spin much faster because of that.
The turbocharger is going to run hot when you have it installed. You will need to make sure it has insulation and also realize that the excessive heat puts it in a high-risk spot.
Which is better?
That depends on what you as the car owner value the most. If you want reliability, then the supercharger is the way to go. When it comes to less-reliable but also more torque and power delivery, then the turbocharger earns lots of positive points.
If you have a problem with exhaust coming from the unit, then avoid the supercharger, as it does not have a waste gate. The smog is going to come straight from the supercharger.
But the supercharger is also the most likely addition to be made to a regular passenger car, as it is easier to install.
Do you live at high altitude? Then you definitely want to add on a turbocharger, as they take that thin air and work better at producing zip than at lower altitudes with thick air. Another benefit of the turbocharger is that is produces less in the way of pollution and it actually runs off the byproducts of the engine, so it is almost like recycling pollution!
And finally, you will notice that the supercharger provides a boost at all levels of RPM, whereas the turbo doesn’t really kick in unless you are revving the engine high already.