Before you buy your supercharger, make sure you’ve considered the following:
1. TYPE OF SUPERCHARGER: Centrifugal, twin screw, and roots style superchargers are all founded on different technologies. Each offers different performance characteristics and has a certain set of limitations. Normally if there is only one type of supercharger available for your vehicle, then your choice is easy. However, if there are multiple types of superchargers available (i.e.- A Vortech centrifugal supercharger and a Whipple twin-screw supercharger), then make sure that you understand the differences before making your decision. For help on making this decision, visit our tech section.
2. NOISE: Many superchargers make sound that is audible from inside and outside the vehicle. Centrifugal style superchargers typically create a whistling/whining noise, although some (like the Vortech SQ) make almost no noise at all. Some twin-screw superchargers make a gear noise that almost sounds like the supercharger is rattling or grinding. While this is normal, it can be troubling to those who don’t expect it.
3. EMISSIONS: Due to evolving emissions requirements, make sure to confirm that your supercharger kit will not conflict with your state’s emissions requirements. While most superchargers will not create an emissions problem, some states (like California and those that are starting to follow suit) have more strict regulations governing aftermarket modifications. If your kit is “50 State Legal” or “CARB Approved”, then it is approved for use in all 50 states. A “49 state legal” is probably OK for use in most states except California, unless new local regulations in your state have adopted California emissions requirements. Double check by contacting the supercharger manufacturer or us if you have any doubts.
4. WARRANTY: While each supercharger comes with a manufacturer’s warranty against defects in materials and workmanship, how the supercharger affects your vehicle’s warranty is an entirely different issue. By installing a supercharger you MAY be voiding parts of your vehicle’s warranty. (Keep in mind that it is technically illegal for a manufacturer or dealer to completely void your warranty due to the mere presence of an aftermarket product such as a supercharger. The burden of proof is on them to illustrate that this aftermarket product directly contributed to any damage to your engine or vehicle.) While a supercharger is unlikely to affect the reliability of your vehicle, the added horsepower may cause additional strain on certain engine and drive train components. Moreover, some car dealers are more receptive/understanding to aftermarket modifications than others. You may want to talk to your dealer before purchasing a supercharger so that you know what to expect should you have a future warranty claim (related or unrelated to the supercharger).
5. FUEL: Once you install your supercharger, you MUST use 91 octane fuel or higher in order to avoid detonation and engine damage. Some superchargers designed for higher performance / racing applications require octane booster or racing fuel. If you have any questions about what fuel you will need to run with your supercharger, please contact the supercharger manufacturer or us.
6. INSTALLATION: If you are unsure of your abilities as a mechanic, you should not attempt to install your supercharger on your own. Most superchargers have fuel system components, ignition components, and intake components in addition to the compressor itself. We have tried to provide installation manuals online whenever possible. Please make sure you read the installation manual or speak with us before ordering your supercharger or attempting to install a supercharger for the first time. Additionally, it is always a good idea to have someone who is qualified and experienced to at least be present if you choose to install a supercharger kit on your own. Their insight and expertise with working on engines will certainly come in handy! Ask them questions and watch them work to learn more about the proper way to work on an engine.
And finally…BE PATIENT! Cutting corners and putting yourself and/or your mechanic on an unrealistic time schedule is the WORST thing that you could do. Understand that supercharger kits take time and engine familiarity to install. All the manufacturers that are featured on this site provide customer support for installation or general technical questions. If you have a question – ask it! When installed properly, superchargers are more than just the best source of additional horsepower for your application. They’re also a lot of fun!