Choosing the supercharger that’s right for you

Addressing these issues will help you choose the supercharger that is right for you. We understand that you expect the investment you are making to deliver the most horsepower possible safely, reliably and affordably all in a timely manner. Before choosing a supercharger by brand recognition, price or power claims try these steps to lead you to the supercharger best matched your needs.

Decide what kind of supercharged vehicle you are building

If you would be happy with a stock, bolt on supercharger delivering 5-7lbs boost, then the boxed and ready kits available may suit your needs. These kits are usually vehicle and model specific and require little or no engine modifications or expert machine shop/dyno services. If you are building a high performance race vehicle or a combination car (a weekend competition daily driver), then follow these steps to the supercharger right for you.

How will your supercharger be required to perform

How you use your vehicle will help decide the type and size supercharger you will need.

Here are a few examples:

  • Daily use
  • Weekly use
  • Limited use
  • Street only
  • Street and track
  • Track only
  • Drag Race Only
  • Street and Strip
  • Road Course

Identify your supercharging objectives

Some questions to ask before you get supercharged

  • Does this need to be highly drivable?
  • How reliable should my setup be?
  • How often will you use this vehicle?
  • How competitive should your setup be?
  • How safe will your car be?
  • How often will you participate in track day events?
  • Will the setup you want require internal engine modification?
  • What is your target horsepower range?

Answering these supercharging questions

While answers to some supercharging questions are easy others may require additional research. Here are some ways to find the answers you need or to fine tune the answers that you already have.

Speak with other owners of supercharged vehicles.

If you are close to someone with a supercharged vehicle find out their experiences and drive their car. Also owner or enthusiast groups and forums may give you advice from unbiased sources. These folks may have been through the selection process and can offer their opinions and success or failure stories, but beware the source though. As with all other internet resources there is little or no accountability and what others say may or may not be true. These sources can be a help in the early decision process but may sway your opinion the wrong way if these groups give you false information. If you feel that you have advice or help for others once you begin your supercharging research, get involved and help out individuals via social networks or online communities.

Visit or call the supercharger manufacturers you are considering

Visit their Websites and if they are in your area try to take a tour. When talking to manufacturers, ask direct questions. Why is your system better? Who is your main customer base (i.e. more drag racers, road course enthusiasts, or daily drivers)? Also, be sure to ask some technical questions and be prepared to take notes for comparisons later. Do you often see belt issues or overheating? How do you address reliability? Ask what developmental work is underway for upgrade or improvement of their systems based on customer feedback or internal research… and, when do they plan to implement those improvements into their production units? Find out what the boost is pre-set to for your vehicle and/or what they recommend. Answers may vary greatly by manufacturer and these answers may sway your opinion. Beware anyone that avoids your questions. If they are not interested in addressing your driving style or objectives then choose a manufacturer who is.

Know the supercharger kit that you choose

Find a parts list of what’s included in your kit of choice, and what isn’t. (e.g., Air intake systems, larger injectors, intercooler, etc.) This will keep you from being up sold for items that are already included in your kit, but remember that experienced sales or installation centers such as Shop Supercharger may offer a custom kit that is better that the manufacturer recommended supercharger kit for your application.

Call or visit the supercharger installer you might use

Though Shop Supercharger is a full service dealer and installer, we understand that you may choose another installer based on geographic location or simply by personal preference. Always speak with the owner or a senior installation tech, and remember that how an installer treats you during the investigative period is an indication as to how you will be if you have post-installation issues. Know their clients and install habits. Ask for client references. If they have a history of bad installs then choose another installer. Ask what they install most. An installer that is more familiar with a certain brand or type of supercharger may offer better rates for specific installs simply because they are more familiar with its requirements.

Avoid the feeling of concern you can get when a local speed shop that does not specialize in such projects has your car. This process helps you identify those speed shops worthy of your business and your trust. The Shop Supercharger staff is professional and thorough and will carry our supercar builder status and skills into your performance upgrades. Your needs, safety and understanding will be preeminent in our process. The integration and convergence of the design and installation processes will be blended with your organizational process to truly obtain the car you wanted.

Create your own supercharged package based on your personal findings

Consider the three-phase installation package:

  1. Pre-Supercharger Installation
  2. Real-time or concurrent with the supercharger
  3. Post-Supercharger installation

Your supercharger package should take into consideration installing additional aftermarket performance add-ons intended to enhance your supercharged driving experience and safety. Base this on your budget and items you researched. No one wants to find out after spending thousands of dollars that a different aftermarket performance part works better in conjunction with their supercharger and better fits their requirements than what they just had installed. Bottom line; if you don’t feel you have enough information, don’t install an add-on until you are comfortable. Shop Superchargers goal is to help you end up with the best system for your personal application, not the application of someone else’s preferences. For example; some performance and safety items should be addressed at the same time as your supercharger is install, others may not be required and are easily added before or after the supercharger installation.

Examples of a pre-supercharger-installation phase items:

Since you will have the ability to go much faster than before adding a supercharger, you will need better braking. This is not a frivolous expense but rather an item that can be critical for a safe driving experience. In addition to upgrading to slotted and/or drilled performance rotors and semi-race pads, consider installing stainless braided brake lines in both front and rear. If you plan on participating in road course “track days” don’t forget to have your brake and power steering fluids changed to fluids with higher temp or performance specifications. If you are an aggressive driver, fading brakes or boiling power steering fluid can put a halt to your daily driver. Upgrading the brakes while you are going through the supercharger selection process allows it to be a pre-installation phase expense that you will not regret.

Examples of Real-Time-installation phase items

Any parts or internal engine modifications required for a proper installation should be purchased. In the grand scheme of things scrimping on installation costs may save a couple of hundred dollars now but may cost you thousands later. Do not avoid critical parts or upgrades to stay under budget, at the same time do not overshoot your budget just to make a few extra horsepower.

Examples of post-supercharger-installation phase items

Adding headers and/or a new exhaust system to your supercharger system is not mandatory to obtain an increase in horsepower. Consider though that adding the header/exhaust system at the same time will result in your spending upwards of several thousand dollars more on your initial purchase although it may save in labor and transportation costs if installed at the same time as your supercharger system.

Learn to drive your supercharged car all over again

Supercharging a car significantly changes its horsepower and driving characteristics. This means your car will respond differently and as such you need to learn how to drive it all over again. Being safe means being prepared. A third gear full throttle power boost can turn your supercharged monster sideways if you are caught unprepared. Practice will teach you how to best take advantage of the horsepower gains installed with your supercharger kit. Using your throttle beneficially and not irresponsibly can also be learned during supervised track days at a local motorsports park or via one of several advanced driving schools across the country.

Start your supercharger research here on our Supercharging"s Frequently Asked Questions Page.