Whether your old supercharger is going out or you want to install a new one, a supercharger can help you to improve vehicle performance without increasing fuel usage.
That can make it a cost-effective upgrade for people who spend a lot of time on the road – whether or not you’re into performance vehicles.
Here, the average cost of installing a supercharger is about $4,000. However, actual costs range from about $400 for a low-end DIY job to over $20,000 for a custom installation at a performance shop. In fact, just parts can cost well above $10,000. And, most shops will need 8-15 hours to install your supercharger.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of supercharger replacement cost estimates from reputable suppliers:
|Supplier||Supercharger Cost||Cost of Labor|
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How Much Does Supercharger Installation Cost?
The cost of installing a supercharger will depend on your vehicle, the make and model, and the kind of parts you want.
Here, the supercharger will likely be the most expensive part, although labor can be above $2,000.
|Vehicle||Supercharger Cost||Cost of Labor|
|Dodge Ram Hemi||$480-$9,039||$450-$2,595|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||$530-$9,369||$549-$2,395|
|Honda Accord||$680-$2,895||$634 -$2,000|
*Prices are estimates and were correct at the time of writing (January 2023). Cost estimates may have changed since, our figures should be used as a starting point for your own research.
Supercharger Installation Pricing Factors
There are three main factors that go into installing a supercharger. These include the type of supercharger, the cost of labor, and the vehicle make and model.
Where you get the parts will also greatly impact the price.
Type of Supercharger
There are three primary types of superchargers and each has different pros and cons. In addition, they cost different rates.
- Centrifugal – These superchargers draw air into the supercharge and into the air intake via an impeller fan. These do not use rotors to move air. Instead, they use a centrifuge, which compresses air and pushes it into the intake. These superchargers are not ideal for vehicles moving at low speeds but are popular because they don’t require much space and generate less heat than other types. However, they can be very expensive.
- Twin Screw – Twin screw superchargers are designed to mix the pros of both the root and centrifugal superchargers together. This means they generate power at low and high RPMs and don’t generate much heat. However, they’re also very large, normally require a significantly complex installation, and cost a great deal.
- Root – Root superchargers are the most common and popular supercharger type, simply because they’re cheap and easy to install. Often, they can be installed in 8 hours or less, with only a simple connection to the crankshaft. However, they simply pump air into the engine instead of compressing it, so they don’t provide the same power as the other two options on this list. However, they do get a good boost even at low engine RPM.
Cost of Labor
The cost of labor will always be a significant part of installing a supercharger. That’s because it can take 8 or more hours to remove parts, install a supercharger, and then test your engine.
Often, performance shops will keep your vehicle for up to two weeks. That’s because it can sometimes take two full days of work. That’s especially true if your supercharger has to be welded into the engine.
Considering the average cost of labor is about $50 per hour, that can get significantly expensive. On average, for a simple installation, you can expect costs to hover between $500 and $1,000 for installation.
If you choose a cheap shop, that can drop as low as $200. However, high-end shops and dealerships might charge you over $200 per hour.
Vehicle Make and Model
Root superchargers are normally made for the model of vehicle they’re produced in. In addition, if you buy a factory or OEM supercharger, you’ll pay for whatever the manufacturer wants.
For example, Toyota sells a factory OEM supercharger for just $990. However, a Ford supercharger package normally costs above $9,000.
That significant difference in price often reflects what you’re getting, but that isn’t always the case and you might want to check what supercharger is included in the package – and if labor is included in the cost – before choosing a factory package with a supercharger.
A factory OEM supercharger will often cost around $7,000-$10,000. On the other hand, aftermarket parts will average between $600 and $4,000. However, high-end performance parts, like the Dodge Hemi, can run above $20,000.
Often, root superchargers are made per vehicle – which means you’ll pay $400+ for a supercharger that likely only fits one vehicle. However, if you go for a centrifugal or twin supercharger, you can reduce costs by choosing a universal model.
That may require more adjustments under the hood – which can add up in terms of hours. Eventually, there’s no one right choice and it might not even save you money, so make sure you do your research before deciding.
4 Symptoms Of A Bad Supercharger
If you have a supercharger on your vehicle, it can go out. Often, you can simply repair it, check the parts around it, or replace the fans. In other cases, you might have to fully replace it.
These 4 symptoms will likely appear when something goes wrong.
1. Acceleration Issues
If your supercharger is having problems it might impact airflow into the engine. This might result in too much or too little air.
This could cause your vehicle to lose power when you try to accelerate, as the supercharger either chokes off air or floods the combustion chamber with air.
When that happens, you’ll have to either check the fans, the intakes, or the rate of airflow to see what’s going on and if you can fix it.
2. Increased Gas Usage
If your supercharger is throwing off the air-fuel ratio in your vehicle, it could cause the vehicle to use more fuel. That’s without greatly increasing power.
Because most people chose superchargers over turbochargers because they don’t influence fuel usage, this is likely the last thing you want. It can also damage your engine.
3. High Oil Usage
If your vehicle is burning through oil, it normally means the engine is running too hot. If the oil gets too low, it can also increase friction on the supercharger, causing the gears to wear down.
When that happens, your vehicle will burn through oil more quickly, because the gears always cause more friction. Inspecting the full system can help you to identify this issue and if it’s fixable.
4. Leaking Oil
If your supercharger is leaking oil or has oil inside, it’s a good sign that it’s time to repair or replace it. Your supercharger should never leak oil.
If it does, you’ll also have to check to ensure that oil isn’t dripping into the combustion chamber and that your engine oil doesn’t run too low.
How Do You Install A Supercharger? (Video)
In most cases, you can install a supercharger at home, with no real special tools. However, you will need a hoist or someone to help out to lift the supercharger into place.
This guide assumes you’re installing a root supercharger with no welding or cutting needed to make it fit.
Things you’ll need:
- Wrench set
- Ratchet set
- Drainage pan
- Fuel disconnect tool
- Floor jack
- Service manual for your vehicle
- Needle nose pliers
- Screwdriver set
It’s important to take a few minutes to thoroughly review the instruction booklet that comes with your supercharger.
Sitting down and reading both the day before will help you when you go to make adjustments to your vehicle.
- Figure out where your supercharger should go. Many are designed to fit next to the air intake. Others are designed to fit over the engine. Check the instruction booklet. Then move any parts that are in the way. This may require buying and placing new brackets to hold alternators, fans, and hoses out of the way.
- With the key out of the ignition, disconnect the battery from the positive terminal.
- Remove factory accessories including the power steering, alternator, fan, water pump pulley, and crank pulley if they are in the way or if you’re replacing the belts.
- Install the supercharger pulley using the provided bolts. Depending on your vehicle, you may want to jack up the front of your vehicle and access it from below. In this case, be sure to use jack stands to stabilize the vehicle.
- Install the head plate on the passenger side of the vehicle.
- Install the head plate on the driver’s side (power steering).
- If you’re installing a power steering reservoir, do so on the head plate.
- Install the water pump pulley, lined up based on your type of water pump.
- Install the provided brackets to the head plates.
- Connect the alternator.
- Install the compressor provided with the supercharger if you have one.
- Mount the head units on the supercharger bracket.
- Install the rib belt connecting the accessories to the timing, Be sure to use the diagram provided, and don’t over-tighten the sprocket.
- Install the second belt. Make sure the tension locking bolts are loosened and then tension the belts. Then, tighten the tension locking bolts.
- Install the air filters.
- Install the blow-off valve assembly.
- Connect the valves to the manifold vacuum and the intake.
From there, you’ll have to tune your car and adjust the timing. However, instructions will change based on your car and the supercharger.
Some superchargers also fit directly onto the intake assembly. Many will also require connection to the coolant – which may require removing the front fender.
Always read the instruction booklet that comes with your supercharger to decide what has to be done.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about installing a supercharger in your vehicle, this FAQ should help.
Is a supercharger or a turbocharger better?
Superchargers and turbochargers both have advantages.
Superchargers use mechanical energy from the vehicle, meaning that performance is based on engine RPMs. Many can function very well at low RPMS.
Turbochargers use exhaust gas to power the fans. This means you may experience some delay – although it’s not as bad as some mechanical delay in centrifugal systems.
Is it worth it to install a supercharger?
Superchargers can cost over $10,000. In addition, they can increase an engine’s performance by 8-50%. They can also decrease fuel efficiency by up to 20%.
Therefore, whether or not you use one should depend on what you want from your vehicle and why.
An optimum installation will increase engine efficiency by reducing the fuel you need to get the same power, which can save you considerably while hauling, driving long distances, or in areas with hills. However, that might never pay off.
Can you install a supercharger on any car?
You can install a supercharger on any car with room under the hood. However, it’s not always worth it.
For example, if you have a hybrid or a super compact, adding a supercharger might not actually add anything to performance.
Do superchargers damage engines?
Superchargers shouldn’t damage the engine. However, you’ll often replace factory accessories with performance ones.
In addition, you might have to make adjustments to the engine to get the supercharger to fit. That may involve welding brackets or drilling holes. However, that should (largely) not involve the engine.
Of course, superchargers also replace the air intake assembly, so if you take yours out, you’ll have to replace that to use the vehicle.
How much horsepower does a supercharger add?
Most supercharger manufacturers cite expectations of 50-100 HP increase in power for your vehicle. In actuality, that normally works out to about 30-50%, or 46%+ of your engine’s existing power.
This means that results will vary a lot depending on your engine. In addition, superchargers come with different performance ratings.
Superchargers can increase the power and efficiency of your engine a great deal. However, with an average cost to install hovering around $4,000, they’re also expensive. Performance parts or superchargers from dealerships will normally cost $7,000 or more. At the same time, you can buy aftermarket parts for as little as $400 – although more is common. This means it’s unusual to spend less than $1,000 on a supercharger, even if you do the work yourself.
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