How Does an Aftermarket Supercharger Work?
Before we talk about how much horsepower a supercharger adds to your vehicle, let's go a bit more into detail about how they work. Unlike turbochargers, which use exhaust pressure to power the compressor, aftermarket superchargers draw their power directly from your engine's crankshaft. Most are driven by the accessory belt, which wraps around a pulley connected to a drive gear. This will force-feed compressed air directly into the engine, then through an intercooler system before reaching the cylinder heads. Because you're adding more air, your engine can also mix in more fuel, resulting in a larger combustion explosion and giving you an extra boost of power, torque and speed. It's simple physics, Jughead: more fuel and more air mean way more power.
To pressurize the air, an aftermarket supercharger spins at an extremely rapid pace – faster than the engine itself. Superchargers can spin at speeds as fast as 50,000 to 65,000 rotations per minute.
How Much Horsepower Does a Supercharger Add?
Not into science? No worries. We have what you came for. How much power does a supercharger add? Thought you'd never ask.
Supercharged horsepower isn't to be taken lightly. Although you're not likely to double your output, you might be surprised at just how much power superchargers have to offer. Aftermarket supercharger manufacturers express their products' power potential in terms of range to avoid disappointment and conflict. The truth is that some engines will benefit more from a supercharger than others, so predicting results across the spectrum isn't an exact science.
But don't misunderstand: you'll see legit boosts in horsepower regardless of what you're starting with. We're talking about a power boost between 30 to 50 percent over the vehicle's original output. Keep in mind that a 50-percent power boost is a near-perfect-world scenario, and because superchargers are connected directly to the crankshaft, they do sap some efficiency from the car. On average, adding a supercharger will give you a supercharged horsepower boost of about 46 percent with 31 percent more torque. That's some neck-snapping gains!
Is Adding a Supercharger Bad for Your Vehicle?
If you browse enough car forums, you may have heard that sometimes adding a supercharger can be bad for your engine. In reality, it's not – if it's installed correctly. Superchargers have been used on engines since they were first introduced. Aftermarket superchargers offer the advantage of increased engine performance, power and torque. Though it is fair to say they don't do much for fuel economy.
I Don't Own a Sports Vehicle, Can I Supercharge My Car?
Adding a supercharger to your Mustang GT makes total sense, but what if you're cruising around town in a mid-size sedan or an economy hatchback? Aftermarket superchargers come in three types: root, twin-screw and centrifugal. Aftermarket superchargers are generally standard equipment on vehicles designed for performance and speed, so it can get tricky for the average driver. For example, a root supercharger is mounted on top of the engine and will require more room and the purchase of a unique cut-out hood. If you're asking yourself, "Can I supercharge my car?" it's best to do some extensive research and see how others have done it before you think about purchasing one.
The Cost of Adding a Supercharger to Your Car
Dying to add an aftermarket supercharger, and you think you have the perfect setup to get some of that coveted supercharger HP? It's time to think about the Benjamins. When adding a supercharger to your car, expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $8,000 for your aftermarket kit. Sometimes, that price can be even higher – but let's be honest, that supercharged horsepower is worth it. Your cost will depend on what type of engine you have, and we urge you to do some serious research when comparing models. Make sure you go with a trusted seller like Lethal Performance, who only offers kits from reputable manufacturers at fair prices.