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How to Tell If Your Supercharger Is Bad?

by Liz Tomas

A supercharger helps force air through a vehicle's engine. The more air that goes through, the more efficient the engine. Yet if the vehicle is lagging when accelerating, getting less gas millage or leaking, it could mean the supercharger is malfunctioning -- thus affecting the engine's ability to efficiently burn a mixture of fuel and air.

Signs of Bad Supercharger

Scan the vehicle's computer to determine why the check engine light is on. A bad supercharger -- among other problems with the vehicle -- can cause the light to turn on.

Notice if the vehicle is having problems accelerating. More power, and therefor more air, is needed as a vehicle accelerates. If the engine is having problems getting air form the supercharger, then it will be difficult to accelerate.

Determine if the vehicle's gas mileage is deteriorating. If the supercharger is not forcing air into the engine, then the miles driven per gallon will decrease.

Listen for a clacking noise at the front of the supercharger when the vehicle is idling. This indicates there is not enough oil in the supercharger, and the supercharger coupler has melted or dissolved.

Check the color of the gears. If the gears have turned blue-black or black, then there is not enough oil in the system. The gear teeth may also have worn down due to a lack of oil.

Check for dripping or leaking oil from the supercharger. It could mean the supercharger has been overfilled with oil.

About the Author

Liz Tomas began writing professionally in 2004. Her work has appeared in the "American Journal of Enology and Viticulture," "BMC Genomics" and "PLoS Biology." She holds a Master of Science in food science from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in oenology at Lincoln University.

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