All automobile enthusiasts will try to boost the power output of their vehicles at some point in their lives.
While many options would work, a supercharger provides a significant and cost-effective solution. However, quality superchargers are expensive.
Professional supercharger installations can cost between $1000 and $8000. These prices include parts and labor with the higher end of the range including extra services such as factory tune-ups. You can also install them yourself, reducing your cost to around $400.
You can save money on the installation cost by selecting the right supercharger for your vehicle.
By reading further, you will learn how to know if a supercharger will work with your vehicle or if you should go with a turbocharger instead.
- How Much Does a Professional Supercharger Installation Cost?
- Save Money by Finding the Right Supercharger for Your Car
- Supercharger Types
- Supercharger Options and Part Costs
- Save Money on Professional Supercharger Installation by Using Alternatives
- Cost Differences Between Superchargers and Turbochargers
How Much Does a Professional Supercharger Installation Cost?
While not as common as turbochargers, superchargers force air into an engine to produce more power.
They are belt-driven systems that draw power from the crankshaft, making it simple to install them into naturally aspirated vehicles. Though, you can get cars with factory-built superchargers.
If you must install a supercharger as an aftermarket add-on, then you have two options. You can install it yourself or have a professional technician do it.
The right path for you will depend on your technical skills, though most people will hire someone to do it.
Because of this, your final installation cost can vary based on the auto shop and options you choose. For instance, a basic supercharger installation typically sets you back $1000 for parts and labor.
However, you can get lucky and only pay around $500 for the same level of service.
Some commonly reported price points include
Much of the discrepancies in these prices come from the prices of the various models of superchargers each shop provides. There are currently six different types of superchargers on the market with different installation needs and compatibilities.
Therefore, you can expect to pay more for a more expensive unit.
For instance, you may find Tacoma chargers for around $500 while other brands cost more than $1000. While each service center will have its rates, here is a list of common manufacturer supercharger list prices.
- 2001 Nissan Frontier: $1,315.65
- 2003 Mini Cooper: $1,903.65
- 1995 Buick Riviera: $771.75
- 1999 Buick Park Avenue : $808.50
- 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix : $757.05
Despite this variation, you must be wary of incompetent or malicious shops. You only want technicians that understand what superchargers are on your vehicle.
These technicians will give you a fair price for your system. Everyone else may overcharge you for services your car does not need.
Save Money by Finding the Right Supercharger for Your Car
As much of your supercharger installation cost derives from the manufacturer’s price for the part, you can ensure you are paying the least by selecting the right charger for your vehicle.
Not only will this save you money, but it will also ensure the most compatibility with your car.
Luckily, you are not stuck with your car’s manufacturer when choosing the right supercharger. However, you must know your car before you can find a supercharger for it.
You can use any make or model charger in your vehicle if it matches the required type and fittings.
Therefore, you must note your vehicle’s make, model, and year to ensure compatibility with your new superchargers. You may also want to note your cart’s engine size and type as this info directly ties into supercharger type.
Superchargers come in three types:
Each type comes with pros and cons. For instance, root chargers are cheaper and more reliable, but they are often restricted to a single car make and model.
Centrifugal chargers may have a higher upfront cost, but they are easier to find
Centrifugal superchargers use centrifugal forces to push air into the compressor at high speeds. The air goes through a powered, high-speed impeller that increases the air pressure as it drives the system.
Designed for race cars, these superchargers give you the most efficient performance boost other than there. However, these high-end superchargers are very expensive and a challenge to install.
Fortunately, there is a street-legal variant. Only available as aftermarket accessories, these centrifugal chargers use a blower to achieve the same results, but with only moderate horsepower gains.
OEM superchargers usually fall under the roots type. Root superchargers lay on top of the engine or hang off it.
These units boost performance by pushing large quantities of air into the intake manifolds, leading to quick performance boosts.
To achieve these small energy bursts, root superchargers come directly integrated into the intake manifolds. Fortunately, this integration makes them easier and cheaper to replace than turbochargers and their centrifugal cousins.
These self-contained units are also more reliable.
Twin Screw Superchargers
Twin-screw superchargers push air into the compressor through rotor lobes which trap and compress the air through a taper. These superchargers are usually expensive and noisy, and most of them are not street legal.
Supercharger Options and Part Costs
Because of their durability, superchargers are not as common as turbochargers on the aftermarket. Therefore, you find your supercharger options are limited.
Aftermarket companies lack the incentive to produce OE-quality supercharger part replacements. Instead, these companies focus on professionally remastered old-stock components.
As a result, supercharger parts start at around $500 for the most common components and go up from there. If you are lucky, you might stumble upon a new OEM part.
However, you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars for them without any noticeable benefit. Either way, these prices form the floor for your installation costs.
Understanding Your Car’s Horsepower Characteristics
You are getting a supercharger to get more horsepower out of your car, but it will all be for naught if your car cannot handle it. You also want a supercharger that matches the role of your car.
For instance, you want something street legal for your daily drive.
This is because are normal street, show, and drag racing superchargers out there. Racing units will give your car a bigger boost but may prevent you from legally driving your vehicle down the road.
You must also pay a premium for the extra output.
Supercharger Part Quality and Warranties
While the upfront cost is a major factor, you should not overlook the overall cost of ownership of your new supercharger.
The extra boost puts extra wear and tear on your engine and supercharger components, making them degrade faster than they normally would. Because of this, a cheap $500 charger may sink thousands of dollars in repair and tune-up costs.
Therefore, you will want to ensure you get a good warranty with your supercharger. Luckily, most reputable supercharger manufacturers offer standard warranties with extension options.
Save Money on Professional Supercharger Installation by Using Alternatives
While choosing the right supercharger for your vehicle can help you save on your installation costs, it will not eliminate them.
At most, you might be able to pocket a few extra hundreds of dollars on your overall cost of ownership. To save more, you must seek alternatives.
Unfortunately, for car enthusiasts, your options are doing the installation yourself or going with a turbocharger instead.
Do It Yourself Supercharger Installation
If you have the tools and the time, you can turn your supercharger into a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. As a DIY project, you can skip most of the labor and taxes associated with professional installation.
Your remaining costs will be for the supercharger alone, which can range from $100 to $500 for a good, quality unit. We recommend that you blower-type superchargers if you plan to go this route.
Going with a Turbocharger
Many people confuse turbochargers with superchargers. They use them interchangeably to the point where they believe turbochargers are just special versions of superchargers.
However, they are functionally different.
Superchargers are engine-driven air compressors that increase the air density and pressure entering an engine. It is this compressed air that provides a performance boost.
However, they are not very fuel-efficient. The extra air requires additional fuel to burn into power.
On the other hand, turbochargers are engine-independent devices that use your car’s exhaust to boost performance. The fast-moving hot air acts like a turbine, drawing even more air into the combustion chamber.
The entire process is cyclical. The additional air draws in more fuel, creating more exhaust gasses for the next cycle.
Turbochargers work so well that they have completely taken over the market.
Cost Differences Between Superchargers and Turbochargers
While both systems will boost engine performance, they rely on different philosophies. As a result, you mostly find turbochargers on Japanese vehicles with superchargers corner most of the American and European car markets.
Even if you have an American vehicle, turbochargers may still be a viable cost-effective alternative. A good professional turbocharger installation will only set you back $500 to $2500 for both the part and labor.
Meanwhile, superchargers with comparable output and service typically can easily cost $7500.
Turbochargers are also more fuel-efficient, which means they will save you money in the long run. They also maintain their power output longer, making a great purchase for the budget-conscious auto enthusiast.
However, you are stuck with superchargers if you need the extra power output without the usual turbocharger lag.
A supercharger boosts the output of your car’s engine by forcing air into the combustion chamber.
However, a reliable professional supercharger installation can cost anywhere between $100 to $8000, or more depending on the price of the part, labor, and any additional equipment required for the installation to work.