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Superchargers Vs. Turbochargers — Do You Know The Difference?

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Forced induction is a hot topic in the modern automotive industry. Many manufacturers now use turbochargers on their vehicles to squeeze more power out of smaller engines, resulting in higher efficiency without sacrificing drivability. However, the concept of forced induction can be confusing, and it's common even for automotive enthusiasts to misunderstand the basics.

Manufacturers use turbochargers for a good reason, but there are also strong advantages to superchargers for enthusiast applications. Understanding how these two systems work can help you make the right choice for your vehicle and, potentially, see why a supercharger may be a superior upgrade if you're after high performance.

The Basics of Forced Induction

A lot is going on in a typical internal combustion engine, but one job is arguably more important than all others: pumping air. Combustion relies on spark timing, compression, fuel, and oxygen. The first three factors are all easily controllable by automotive manufacturers, but the fourth can be trickier. Pumping more fuel into an engine won't produce more power if the engine can't also get enough air.

In a naturally-aspirated engine, ambient air pressure limits the amount of air you can move into the combustion chambers. You can only fit so much air through the intake plumbing without compressing it. That last point is where forced induction comes into play. Forced induction engines attempt to pull in more air by compressing it before mixing it with gasoline.

Turbochargers accomplish this goal by utilizing exhaust waste gases. These gases power a pump that compresses the intake air, producing more power while utilizing engine waste. Smart, but limited. On the other hand, superchargers compress air by powering their turbine directly from the engine via a belt, providing even more power more quickly.

Why Superchargers Make Excellent Upgrades

Turbochargers make sense for manufacturers attempting to meet stringent fuel efficiency guidelines without sacrificing power. However, the decision can be more challenging for enthusiasts. When you're looking for sheer power, a supercharger offers numerous advantages. First and foremost, their belt-driven nature means that power delivery is instant, with none of the lag produced by turbochargers.

Superchargers also produce more consistent power throughout the engine's RPM range. Since you're powering your supercharger directly from the engine with a belt, the engine speed also determines the supercharger speed. As a result, you get consistent power delivery that's always appropriate for your current driving conditions.

Although there are many reasons to consider installing a turbocharger on a vehicle, especially from the factory, it's hard to argue with the benefits of superchargers for enthusiasts or racing applications. Installing a high-quality supercharger on your vehicle can be a quick and easy way to provide a consistent boost throughout your car's power band.

For more information on superchargers for sale like Whipple superchargers for sale, contact a company near you.