Forced induction is one of the most common ways through which vehicles’ engines are boosted. When it comes to power people tend to confuse the difference between superchargers vs turbos.
During forced induction, boost is generated by compressing the air which usually flows in the engine. This means more fuel will be pumped into the engine since the compressed air has more oxygen.
The car then gets more power from the explosions in the cylinders. Usually, it is turbochargers and superchargers that are used to generate the boost.
Difference Between Turbochargers and Superchargers
The conversion of exhaust into electricity is one of the most efficient power-recovery systems in automobile engines. Both are air compressors, but they function and operate in quite different ways.
Because turbocharged engines use energy that would otherwise be lost in turbochared and supercharged engines (exhaust gases), this recovery improves the engine’s efficiency overall.
As much as these two boost generators work together, they have a difference. In addition, turbochargers vs superchargers have a significant difference which we explain below.
A turbocharger is a form of air compressor driven by an exhaust gas turbine. Turbos use the exhaust gases from the engine to generate boost. For the process to be complete, exhaust gases spin a turbine which then spins another air pump.
When a car is turbo charged, its fuel economy is not affected by the turbocharger when it is at idle or having low revs. Also, this can be attributed to the fact that turbochargers are lightweight.
Additionally, exhaust gases require more time to generate the pressure that is required to spin the turbine. The time that is taken to generate this pressure is called turbo lag. This explains why big turbos have more turbocharger lag.
For a supercharger, it gets the power to increase air compression through a belt that is connected to the engine’s crankshaft. Since the supercharger is directly connected to the engine, it is able to provide immediate boost unlike a turbo which is not able to do so due to turbo lag.
Normally, a supercharger works by using the belt connected to the engine’s crankshaft to spin a pulley which is usually connected to a drive gear.
The drive gear then turns a compressor gear which compresses the air which is fed to a cylinder. By using a supercharger, an engine’s bhp power is increased by 46% while Torque is boosted by 30-40 percent.
Should You Get A Turbocharger?
Each method of creating boost for the engine has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is important to consider what each boost generator has to offer before you make a decision on which one to install.
Why use a turbocharger?
Turbochargers offer a significant amount of boost to the engine power. With turbochargers, even smaller engines can be able to produce enough power for the car. This explains why turbochargers can be installed in even the smallest or less powerful cars.
It helps in maintaining good fuel economy. Small engines that are turbo charged use less fuel to idle. This means that the rational and reciprocating mass is less which is very good and fuel efficient.
Turbos have less rotational and reciprocating mass, resulting in better fuel economy. Plus, turbochargers have less rotational and reciprocating mass, resulting in better fuel economy.
You get more efficient engines because there is a less parasitic drag on the engine. Technically, turbochargers use energy that is lost in the engines that are turbocharged and supercharged. With this energy being recovered, the overall performance of the engine is improved.
Why don’t use a turbocharger?
It takes a lot of time to produce engine power. Due to the turbo lag, the car does not immediately speed up. This is especially disadvantageous to vehicles with big turbochargers.
Your going to compromise vehicle stability. In big turbochargers, reaching the required amount of boost can lead to a power surge. This causes the car to loose tire traction which can cause an accident.
Numerous engine oil refills. Owing to the fact that turbo chargers get very hot, they try to get some of the engine’s oil. This means that you will always have to do some additional plumbing as well as numerous engine oil refills.
This can turn out to be bad not only on the financial side of the vehicle owner but also on the entire engine. Normally, turbos are set for a certain range where the exhaust gas required is enough to offer more boost to the engine.
However, they do not have a wide range as compared to the superchargers. This explains why there is occurrence of power surges. Lastly, it can damage engine. Due to the amount of power they produce, turbos have a high probability of destroying the engine.
Should You Get A Supercharger?
In the supercharger vs. turbo benefits, it is important to note that any forced induction is bound to negatively affect the engine. This is because the internal parts of the engine have been exposed to immense temperature and pressure.
Why use superchargers?
Overall more horsepower and more boosting power. By installing a supercharger on an engine, you are assured of immediate boost for your car hence more power.
Supercharged engines produces zero lag. Once you engage the supercharger you will immediately get the results. This can be attributed to the fact that the supercharger is driven by the crankshaft.
The most modern engines of the electric superchargers are easy to install. There is not much involved when it comes to installing superchargers.
In addition, the supercharger is easier to maintain since it does not need intercoolers unlike in the case of turbos which are known for heating compressed air.
Overall you can increase power and save engine fuel. Since superchargers do not have to heat the compressed air, they do not heat up hence they do not tap into the engine’s oil supply.
Why not use superchargers
Overall a supercharger requires engine power to run and it delivers low fuel efficiency. Superchargers are less efficient compared to turbo chargers. This is because they are not independent like the turbos.
The supercharger has to rely on the engine to generate the power it needs to run. In most occasions, they cannot be used on small engines.
Due to the amount of power they suck from an engine, superchargers are only recommendable on big engines. This means owners of small cars who may want to install a supercharger have to change the car which is also expensive.
It is advisable to build the engine from the bottom instead of using the stock internals. In addition, those who apply forced induction should ensure they also install waste gates which remove excess pressure.
What Are Forced Induction Systems?
In an internal combustion engine, forced induction refers to the practice of turbocharging or supercharging to increase the density of the intake air. A naturally aspirated engine does not have any forced induction.
Turbocharging and supercharging are both forms of forced induction. In a turbocharged engine, exhaust gases spin a turbine connected to an air compressor. The compressor compresses the air coming into the engine, making it denser.
In a supercharged engine, a belt or chain drives a compressor that does the same thing. Turbocharging and supercharging increase the power of an engine by increasing the amount of air drawn into the cylinders.
Both turbocharging and supercharging have their own advantages and disadvantages. Turbocharged engines typically have more power than naturally-aspirated engines, but they can also be more challenging to drive because of the increased air pressure.
In the near future, hybrid electric technology will be more common in motor vehicles. In this case, an electric motor spools up the turbos at low engine speeds.
Due to the immense heat and temperatures produced during forced induction, the installations should be carried out with a lot of caution and by experts. This will minimize the chances of engine explosion.
This supercharger vs turbo pros and cons guide is perfect for that car owner who wants to learn more about forced induction. Which one is better? It depends on the driver’s preferences.
A turbocharged engine is typically the way to go if you want more power. A supercharged engine might be a better choice if you want a more responsive engine. Ultimately, it’s up to the car driver to decide what’s best for them.