Turbocharger VS Supercharger I How They Work?

Posted by HJL_ADMIN 1 on

Have you been Hearing about the turbocharger or supercharger? Turbocharger and supercharger engines seem to be everywhere these days. You've probably heard of these engines, but you may not know exactly what they do. Now, let’s learn more about how a turbo engine can benefit you.


How turbocharger works?


The turbocharger for car is a device mounted on a vehicle engine, which is an air pump that draws air at ambient or atmospheric pressure, compresses it to a higher pressure, and delivers the compressed air to the engine through an intake valve to improve the overall efficiency and increase performance. 

The reason why so many car manufacturers are choosing to turbocharge their vehicles.

Is turbocharger good to your fuel performance and your car power?

Let’s keep on watching.


How does a turbocharger work? | Functions of Turbocharger

A turbocharger is actually an air compressor that increases the intake air by compressing it. The inertial impulse of the exhaust gas discharged from the engine is used to push the rotor end into the turbine, and the turbine drives the coaxial impeller.


When the engine speed increases, the exhaust gas discharges speed and the turbine speed also increases synchronously, the impeller compresses more air into the cylinder, and the pressure and density of the air increase to burn more fuel, correspondingly increasing the fuel amount and adjusting the engine RPM increasing the output of the engine.


Renault Kangoo 1.5 dci turbocharger

Take Kangoo for example,

the Renault Kangoo 1.5 DCI diesel engine offers the best balance between performance and fuel consumption in the market, which benefits from the expertise of Renault engineers in the area of turbocharging. These powerful turbo petrol engines ensure lively, responsive acceleration at very low revs and smooth power delivery throughout the rev range which the aim to be the benchmark in its class in terms of performance and fuel efficiency.


2 Major Types of Turbochargers

Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT)

There are different turbocharger diagrams, in which, the VGT turbocharger is effective over a very wide RPM range. With a VGT it can be controlled to some extent because Internal vanes within the turbocharger change the area to radius (A/R) ratio to match the RPM. Controlled lag at low RPMs and uncompromised performance at high RPMs. As a result, a VGT delivers the convenience of both worlds.


Fixed Geometry Turbo (FGT)

The FGT has a specific RPM which is a simple design that is efficient, durable, and firm. However, turbo lag is reduced when running at low revs and this will compromises power at high revs. It also produces more thrust at high revs. But this affects the power delivered in the lower rev range, increasing turbo lag. So it is most efficient in tight work areas due to restricted airflow adjustment.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Turbochargers

The Advantages:

  • Provide extra power to the engine and reduces carbon emissions
  • Offer “free power” that does not require the engine to drive it.
  • improves or gives a better fuel efficiency of a vehicle.
  • Smaller and lighter than an engine producing the same power without a turbocharger

Turbochargers can be used on gasoline or diesel engines and on more or less any type of vehicle. The engine discharges hot and expanding gases to power the turbocharger, so it does not consume the net engine power. At high altitudes, turbocharged engines also don't suffer as much as naturally aspirated ones. because it forces oxygen into the combustion chamber of the engine. In addition, with the same size engine, you can get more power output.

The Disadvantages:

  • Turbo lag that turbochargers take time to reflect the engine speed.
  • The extremely hot operating temperatures produced from the exhaust gasses could let itself start glowing red. (Doesn’t happen in everyday driving conditions)

Since the power is created by the exhaust gas, there's often a significant turbo lag when the turbo kicks in. So if you do need the engine to power it, the turbo takes time to start spinning at the optimum speed. However, when the engine is pushed to its limit for a continuous period of time, the heat from the exhaust gas can become very hot and cause the turbocharger to start glowing red. Here's why some turbocharged sports cars have vents on the hood or sides.


Audi A4/ VW PASSAT 1.9 TDI turbo

The 1.9 TDI engine prior to 2003 features a less powerful turbocharged direct-injection engine known for its incredible fuel economy, which ranges from 32mpg (city) to 49mpg (highway). What's more, with good maintenance that the 1.9 TDI will last as long as 250,000 - 300,000 miles.


What's the Difference Between Turbocharger v.s. Supercharger?

Both turbochargers and superchargers are efficient ways to get more power and performance from the engine. But the most obvious difference is that the turbo will be slightly delayed as mentioned before, especially when you hit the accelerator hard. Since the turbocharger recovers energy in the form of exhaust gas to speed up before it can release the extra power.


The supercharger has no issues with lag, its air pump is directly connected to the engine's crankshaft that is always spinning and responsive. However, the supercharger draws power directly from the engine to spin itself, fuel efficiency tends to be lower.


7 Ways to Maintain the Turbo

  1. Regularly maintenance and use the right oil

Lubricating vital parts of the engine with the right oil helps reduce wear and tear and longer its service life. Because some parts operate at extremely intense speeds and at high temperatures or pressures, regular maintenance with proper engine oil or oil changes at least every 5,000 miles helps them perform at their best.


  1. Warm up the rngine before your trip

It is important that your engine needs to be warmed up and the oil needs to reach the proper operating temperature.

When the oil does not reach the proper operating temperature, it becomes thick and settles in the sump, and lack of adequate lubrication can lead to ineffective operation and problems with the turbo system.



  1. Don't cruise overstep the Limits

Although the turbo system can improve the power of the engine, don't press the accelerator too hard. Modern turbochargers are thoroughly tested to make sure they can handle a lot of pressure and stress, but it doesn't mean they're invincible. The more pressure on a turbocharged engine means the more costly price to pay. That's important to understand the limits of your car's turbo system and avoid overusing it with the accelerator.


  1. Downshift when climbing or overtaking

The turbo provides enough power and torque, but you should downshift when climbing a hill or overtaking to reduce the number of times you have to use maximum boost pressure. Relying solely on turbochargers is more dangerous and reduces life due to wear and tear


  1. Don't switch off the engine immediately

When you turn off the engine immediately after intense driving, this residual heat can boil the oil in the turbo system, causing carbon particles to build up, corrode and cause premature engine wear. The best practice is to run the engine for a few minutes before shutting it down.


  1. Replacing a dirty air filter

Replacing the air filter can improve turbo performance and reduce emissions and even extend the life of the engine. Since a clogged air filter cannot hold more debris and dirt, which can interfere with emission control systems, clearing the air filter of debris can improve turbo fuel efficiency and performance.


In conclusion, a turbocharger requires regular maintenance and passion care to ensure its performance, and if you want it to last longer, you must continue to follow the steps above to improve engine efficiency and fuel efficiency. Hope this knowledge has resolved the confusion, if so, kindly comment, share and recommend this site. Thanks!

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