Are superchargers and turbos the same thing?


Pro Tuner
Staff member
2002 Clio 172
From what I can make out both compress the intake air and push it into the engine.

I've heard superchargers referred to as a turbocharged engine, but never a turbo engine called a supercharged one!

Are turbochargers and superchargers the same thing or is there a difference between the two.

How can you tell if a car has a turbo or a supercharger?
The full term is Super Turbocharged or Turbocharged.
They have the same job (compressing and forcing more air into the cylinders) but do so in different ways.
Superchargers are belt driven - the engine turns a belt, the belt turns the compressor. No lag but it does use work from the engine.
Turbochargers are exhaust driven - the compressor is driven by scavenging exhaust gases. Lag is inherent, but the engine doesn't have to work to run it.

Now, cars that have both... Fun times :)
Belt driven superchargers have a linear power increase that makes them easier to drive in a sporting fashion as the power increases smoothly as the revs rise. They also take power to drive them and the maximum pressure they produce is governed by the SC pulley diameter

Exhaust driven turbochargers are a different kettle of fish as the way that they respond can be changed by different turbine housing AR's (air ratio's) For example a 63AR will come on boost or respond sooner than a 84AR but the 84 will produce more power higher in the rev band as the smaller housing can't flow as much exhaust gas and that increases back pressure which in turn reduces top end power.

Then there are different compressor housings with a range of AR's ,wheel designs blade numbers and the combination s of the compressor and turbine housings is almost endless so it is important to get the mix right for your particular application.
Forgot to say that belt driven SC's come in 2 types Positive Displacement ( Rootes and screw types like Wipple) and Centrifugal which is basically an exhaust driven turbos compressor housing mated to a belt driven gearbox in place of the exhaust driven turbine housing. IMO the latter type is mostly used when space is limited.

Here you go

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