The internal combustion engine needs compressed air to mix with fuel before they’re ignited together. The engine cannot generate sufficient power for the vehicle without having compressed air in its chamber. For compressed air to be generated, the engine utilizes a forced induction system. The engine can increase its power by up to 50% because of its forced induction system.
The two main types of forced induction systems are superchargers and turbochargers. A vehicle will either have one or the other, but not both. Some people don’t even realize they’re two different systems because their names seem so similar. Each one is a type of air compressor, but the way in which they’re powered is different. The supercharger requires engine power to operate while the turbocharger needs the gas turbine’s exhaust gases to function.
Okay, so which forced induction system is better? Let’s review the pros and cons of each one. Based on this information, you can determine for yourself which one is better.
Pros of a Supercharger
1) No Lag – There is no lag as power is delivered to the supercharger at a consistent rate. As long as the crankshaft keeps turning, the supercharger will always stay powered.
2) Increased Horsepower – The supercharge gives the engine more horsepower than a turbocharger would give it.
3) Affordable – If you’re on a tight budget and have to go with the cheapest option, then it is cheaper to purchase the supercharger instead of the turbocharger.
4) RPM Boost – Engines with low RPM will receive a significant boost if a supercharger is installed.
Cons of a Supercharger
1) Low Fuel Efficiency – Engine power is used to keep the supercharger functional. Because of this, the engine must produce additional power to sustain the operation of the supercharger and the movement of the vehicle. The engine will require more fuel because of all this stress put on it.
2) Shorter Lifespan – The engine is subjected to a lot of heat and pressure, which shortens its lifespan.
Pros of a Turbocharger
1) Accommodates Displaced Engines – Some vehicles have smaller engines which are displaced. A turbocharger can accommodate a displaced engine and allow it to produce more power.
2) Good Horsepower – A turbocharger does a good job of increasing the horsepower of the engine.
3) Better Fuel Economy – Since you’re using a smaller engine with the turbocharger, you won’t need to add as much fuel to your engine. That means that every time you go to the gas station, you’ll be spending less money on fuel.
4) Longer Engine Life – The turbocharger is powered by the turbine’s exhaust gases rather than the engine. Since this puts less stress on the engine, it’ll cause the engine to have a longer lifespan.
Cons of a Turbocharger
1) Lag – The turbocharger receives inconsistent power because there is no constant engine crankshaft to supply power. Instead, the exhaust gases must be present for power to be supplied. This causes lag in the power generation process.
2) Sole RPG Range – A single RPG range is used by turbochargers. That way, the exhaust gas flow can supply the proper amount of energy to the engine.
3) Engine Oil Required – Turbochargers must be lubricated constantly with engine oil because of how fast they heat up. Since the engine oil has more to lubricate, you’ll end up having to change your oil more often.
4) Power Surges – Turbochargers give your engine a huge power boost. Unfortunately, a power surge can sometimes happen because of it. Power surges may render your vehicle unstable and cause tire traction issues while you’re driving. This can increase your chances of having an accident.