Turbochargers vs. Superchargers
People who work in the automotive industry often get caught in a vicious cycle of jargon. Spending all day talking to others in the same line of work simply feeds this endless loop. In many of the profiles of vehicles on the Don Wheaton Blog, we talk about how certain vehicles are turbocharged and others have a supercharger. Parsing the differences between turbochargers vs. superchargers is fairly straightforward. What makes the discussion interesting is why more and more vehicles are using this technology and how it affects customers. The Don Wheaton Blog is going to try to tackle this without falling back into the aforementioned vicious cycle of jargon.
Turbochargers vs. Superchargers: The Basics
Internal combustion engines (like the one under the hood of almost every modern vehicle in the world) create the energy by capturing the force of fuel and air exploding. By using turbo or superchargers, bigger and faster explosions can be harnessed. At the most basic level, turbochargers and superchargers perform the exact same function. Both are designed to force more compressed air into the engine so more fuel can be added to give the vehicle a boost in performance.
[wrc_column grid=”2″ width=”1″ type=”start”]Turbocharging an engine
The end of the internal combustion cycle is sending exhaust through the tailpipe. A turbocharger using plumbing to redirect some of that exhaust to an impeller which spins the mechanics of a compressor which feeds air back into the engine. Several sedans use turbocharged engines because of the fuel savings. Admittedly, the idea of using more fuel to save fuel is backward.[/wrc_column][wrc_column grid=”2″ width=”1″ type=”end”]
READ MORE: 2016 Cadillac ATS-V
However, by using modern technology for fuel injection, cleaner fuels and better timing, the scalability of smaller engines allow for more horsepower to be created more efficiently.
[wrc_column grid=”2″ width=”1″ type=”start”]Release the supercharger
Supercharging works the same basic way as turbocharging. The biggest difference comes with how a supercharger is activated. Compressor units are powered directly by the engine. A fairly simply belt and pulley system pulls air into the supercharger that is always running and pushing air back to the engine. Only vehicles with series performance needs use superchargers. [/wrc_column][wrc_column grid=”2″ width=”1″ type=”end”]
READ MORE: 2016 Cadillac CTS-V
Unlike turbocharging, there is no fuel saving aspect to supercharging an engine. The reason high-performance vehicles use it is because the mechanical link between the charger unit and the engine makes for an instantaneous boost. Turbocharging requires a few seconds of build up time before boost is provided. This is called “turbo lag.”
Which is better turbocharging or supercharging?
This is one of those questions with no best answer. It’s like asking somebody, ‘What is the perfect color for a car.’ It’s a subjective answer and directly depends on what is trying to be accomplished. If somebody is trying to increase the fuel-efficiency of a small sedan like the 2016 Chevy Cruze, a small turbocharging unit is the way to go. If someone else is looking to build a nearly unstoppable racing machine, the supercharged V-8 engine of the 2016 Chevy Corvette Z06 is the best answer.
If you would like to take a closer look at the vehicle options available at Don Wheaton, contact a sales professional today.