Mini Coopers are unique and fun to drive, some models being made even more sporty with the addition of a supercharger. A supercharger, like a turbocharger, is a type of forced induction, both of which permit higher horsepower by forcing more air into the engine. Turbochargers are more commonly used and therefore more well known, making it important to highlight key differences between them and superchargers.
A turbocharger essentially functions by making use of air in the exhaust that would otherwise be wasted, while a supercharger is an air compressor that is attached to the engine itself via a belt. The supercharger also requires special oil that turbochargers do not, adding a maintenance item that turbochargers do not have. It is wise to keep up with the supercharger oil with regular inspections to prevent performance loss or even engine damage.
Let’s go over the importance of supercharger oil, signs it is low or aging/contaminated, and what should be done about it/how to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Supercharger Oil in a Mini: What Can Go Wrong and Why
As noted in the above section, a supercharger requires special oil to work properly. Your Mini will have a spot in the engine bay specifically for supercharger oil, and this is distinct from the engine oil.
The oil for superchargers contains different ingredients than that of engine oil, so it is important that said oils not be mixed or substituted. It is often recommended to change your Mini’s supercharger oil every 50,000 miles. However, if you notice any symptoms that the oil might be low or contaminated, it is best to change it immediately to prevent any damage.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Loss of power: If your supercharger’s oil is low or simply old and in need of a change, you will notice a significant reduction in performance. For example, the car will not accelerate as quickly as it used to.
- Loss of fuel economy: Your MPG will also drop off, leading to you needing to refuel your Mini more often.
- New noises: You might hear unusual sounds from the engine bay, including a growling and clanging. Note that without sufficient lubrication, friction is increased amongst the moving parts of your supercharger, leading to these noises. These are alarming to hear and signal impending damage, if said damage has not yet occurred.
While these are without a doubt signs of supercharger oil issues, they can also signal other problems with your Mini. For example, loss of power can also be due to problems with your Mini’s battery, spark plugs, fuel injectors, etc., while noises can be caused by problems within the engine itself, suspension, wheels, tires, etc. In other words, these signs alone do not inform you what the exact problem is, so it is best to have your Mini inspected by a qualified professional so your issue is diagnosed and repaired before further damages occur, if the vehicle has already suffered from running with low or contaminated supercharger oil.
Of course, the best way to prevent these signs of supercharger oil trouble is to have your Mini regularly serviced, which includes inspection of the supercharger’s oil level and condition. That way, the oil can be replaced if needed prior to symptoms beginning.
Woodinville Sports Cars for Your Mini’s Service Needs
Woodinville Sports Cars is the go-to destination for European and Import vehicle services in Woodinville, WA and surrounding areas of Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Mill Creek, Redmond, and Snohomish, WA.
Our certified mechanics have decades of experience, specializing in European/import vehicles, including Mini Cooper, and use factory grade tools and equipment. All our work comes with a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty so you can rest assured in the quality you will receive from our shop. Additionally, we never rush a job, which is why we provide complimentary loaner cars so you aren’t inconvenienced if your repair takes more than a day.
Please call us at (425) 402-7878 to schedule an appointment or use our online form. We are located at 12602 Northeast 178th Street Woodinville, WA 98072, and open Monday through Friday, 7:30AM to 5:30PM. We look forward to serving you!
* Mini Cooper Car image credit goes to: AdrianHancu.