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How are Turbochargers Different from Superchargers?

You probably have heard that some cars come equipped with a supercharger, and even more cars today come with a turbocharger. This is becoming standard for many vehicles with smaller engines. This is because, by doing so, vehicle manufacturers try to increase the power of their cars without increasing the engine size. Moreover, many people have started adding an aftermarket supercharger or turbo in Australia to their cars. Well, if you want to boost your vehicle’s power, no doubt this is a great option!

Remember that in Australia, an Approval Certificate is needed if you want to modify any part of your vehicle, including installing a turbocharger or supercharger. In fact, any modification in a vehicle that tends to affect the safety systems, structural integrity or exhaust emissions compliance of the car would need approval by the authority before installation. However, you don’t need to worry! Getting approval is not a big deal; all you need to ensure is that the aftermarket turbocharger or supercharger you are buying for your vehicle in Australia is identical to the one provided by the car manufacturer for the specific car.

But before you splurge at the turbo or supercharger you encounter, it is essential to know that while both these devices tend to increase the power of a vehicle, there are a few critical differences between them. Continue reading to learn more about turbochargers and superchargers.

Turbocharger Vs. Supercharger

A turbocharger is a type of supercharger. The primary purpose of a turbo is to create more power by improving the density of the air entering the engine. A turbocharger comes with a compressor powered by a turbine driven by the engine’s exhaust. On the other hand, superchargers are powered by a mechanical drive. Turbochargers are commonly used for diesel engines because they are very well suited for turbocharging.

If you own a small car, you can get benefitted from a turbo as there is not much room to fit a large machine in your vehicle. Moreover, the turbocharging mechanism can dramatically increase a diesel engine’s specific power and power-to-weight ratio. Besides this, turbochargers are also a good option for high-performance gasoline engines.

A supercharger is an air compressor primarily used for the forced induction of an internal combustion engine. Superchargers are mechanically powered by a belt, shaft, gear or chain connected to the engine’s crankshaft. Superchargers powered by an exhaust gas turbine are turbochargers. The superchargers increase the engine’s power output by providing more oxygen to support combustion. The first supercharged cars were introduced in 1921 by Mercedes. Superchargers are generally used by racing and production cars that are expensive and high-performing.

You will find three different types of superchargers with Australia’s auto part dealers:

  • centrifugal superchargers (which are driven by the engine via a belt drive and positive displacement pumps),
  • centrifugal turbochargers (which are driven from exhaust gases)
  • positive displacement pumps (these are less efficient than turbochargers but are helpful for dragsters and vehicles used in tractor-pulling competitions).

If you are in NSW, Victoria or South Australia, installing a turbo or supercharger onto your car will not be a hassle; most auto part dealers provide unmatched quality chargers and top-class service. Moreover, in these states of Australia, adding turbo and superchargers to your vehicle is entirely legal.


Hence, it can be concluded that whether you choose to install a supercharger or turbo in Australia, both are very efficient solutions that help increase the engine’s power and performance without increasing the engine’s overall displacement. However, turbocharged engines are a better choice than superchargers when considered economically and their power efficiency. So if you are a vehicle wonder who prefers having a good balance between performance and fuel economy, turbocharging is the right choice.




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