This week’s big motoring question is this – what is the difference between a supercharger and a turbocharger? How do they differ in terms of cost, fuel consumption and performance? Are there different types of supercharger?

Our expert guest author Morne Lourens attempts to answer these questions and more…

You might be aware of the different types of forced induction systems, but do you know how they function? Superchargers are similar to turbochargers except for the fact that they have different power supplies.

A supercharger is less efficient and uses power from the engine to give the car a massive amount of boost. This also means that more petrol is used. The upside to having a supercharger installed in your car is that you will not experience lag.

The supercharger is connected to a belt or pulley that connects to the engine. This whole system is connected to the crankshaft. It forces air into the combustion chamber by compressing air using turbines and screws.

There are two types of superchargers: Positive Displacement and Dynamic Compressor.

Positive Displacement

  • Roots Supercharger: this model uses a pair of meshing parts. Air gets trapped in the surrounding pockets so that it is forced from the intake side to the exhaust.
  • Lysholm Screw: this is also known as the Twin Screw Supercharger. It pulls air through the counter rotating worm gears.
  • Scroll Type: this system works by spinning in an orbit with a spiral shaped rotating lobe. This is the quieter and more efficient model.

Dynamic Compressor

  • Centrifugal: the exhaust turbine is replaced with a belt or chain to drive the compressors.
  • Axial Flow: This type of supercharger has a resemblance to jet engines. There are fan blades inside the unit that compresses the air within the housing.

The disadvantage of a supercharger is that it increases the pressure and temperatures of the engine which could cause overheating and serious wear. It is also a system that uses a lot of power.

The advantage of a supercharger is that it increases horsepower significantly without having to experience lag. They also have good power at a low RPM making them more powerful.

Although superchargers can make the drive from point A to point B more fun, they are significantly more costly than a turbocharger. Not only will it burn the fuel faster but the installation itself will cost more.

The advantage of a supercharger is that it increases horsepower significantly without having to experience lag.

It is also important to make sure that the supercharger model that you want to install in your car is compatible with the tyres, wheels and drive shafts. If the wheels and tyres can’t handle it then you’ll find yourself at a tyre and wheel supplier sooner than you would expect. Some components of a car might not be able to handle such immense force and torque.

A1 Wheel and Tyre is a private family owned and operated company specialising in the warehouse and distribution of wheels and tyres to the automotive fitment trade. The company has a well established operation in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Visit our website for details and images of our mag wheel range.

Feel free to contact us on Tel.: 011 832 1091 or Email:


Categories: Motoring

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *