Mini’s recent addition of supercharger systems to their cars means that driving a Mini is more fun than ever before. This gives your customizable, colorful car power life never before. You get the compact efficiency which at the heart of every Mini alongside the powerful punch of a high-performance sports car. However, for many life-long Mini owners, this can be the first time experiencing and maintaining a supercharged car. With this in mind, we’re going to take a closer look at the supercharger system and discuss why its oil is so important to the system.
The Supercharger: An Overview
Many drivers find the supercharger a mysterious system. Many owners even incorrectly make the mistake of using the terms “supercharged” and “turbo” interchangeably, when in fact, these are two very different systems.
At its heart, the supercharger is an air compressor that gets its power from the engine, specifically from the engine’s crankshaft via a belt. This means that, unlike the turbo, which runs independently on waste energy, the supercharger relies directly upon the engine to run.
The biggest benefits of having a supercharged car comes in the way the extra power is delivered. Not only is the horsepower of your vehicle dramatically increased, making even the most practical cars feel sporty, but this extra power is received instantly when requested by the driver, unlike turbo systems which need to build power.
Superchargers are also able to perform powerfully at low RPMs too, making them the perfect choice for consumer vehicles which need to slow in traffic, for example. Superchargers are also surprisingly cost effective. It doesn’t cost much to make the upgrade when purchasing your Mini.
The Potential Cons of the Supercharger
The main thing that drivers need to know about the drawbacks of a supercharger is the fact the system reduces the fuel efficiency of your engine, as it causes the engine to work harder and therefore burn through more fuel. However, many drivers consider the slight decrease in mileage per gallon a small price to pay for improved performance.
Also, a supercharger can also accelerate wear upon your engine, as it increases its use and also exposes the system to further heat and pressure. However, this potential pitfall can be largely circumnavigated by good maintenance practices, such as the importance oil plays in your supercharger. Let’s take a closer look at that below.
The Importance of Supercharger Oil
1. Engine Oil
A fatal error that many drivers can make is thinking that supercharger oil is interchangeable with engine oil. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Supercharger oil is specially formulated for use within the supercharger system, while engine oil has been created for the requirements of the engine. Think of it like broccoli and cauliflower. Both are healthy vegetables for your body, but they are vastly different in color and taste!
2. Oil Reservoir
Another common mistake by drivers new to superchargers is thinking that keeping the engine oil topped up is enough to keep the supercharger system well-lubricated. However, as previously mentioned, the two systems use different oil, which means that the supercharger has its own separate oil reservoir. This will need monitoring and topping up as needed, just like engine oil.
While we’ve expressed the differences between engine oil and supercharger oil, when it comes to the job they do in their respective systems, they are actually quite similar. The supercharger oil keeps the moving parts of your supercharger system well-lubricated and able to move in their full spectrum of motions. It prevents them from seizing up or becoming dry and grinding against one another, leading to unpleasant noise, increased temperatures, and premature wear of parts.
4. Temperature Control
Oil can also help to keep temperatures down by reducing friction between parts, as they will slide smoothly against one another instead of grinding and creating heat.
The supercharger system can be very expensive to repair or replace, so by looking after its health by caring for its oil, you are preventing yourself from footing a costly repair or overhaul bill.
Residents of Redwood City, CA can look to Cerrone’s European for all their Mini’s repair needs. With over 40 years of experience in the local community, Cerrone’s European has helped generations of motorists with repair and maintenance needs at affordable prices. Call us today for an appointment or stop by to speak with one of our experts.
* Red MINI Hatch image credit goes to: bruev.