How to Maintain Supercharged Cars

February 10, 2012

Supercharged cars run on the same basic principals as any other motor vehicle, but you would be mistaken to say that they aren't any different. Power-adders like superchargers subject the engine to extra stress, and therefore extra precautions should be taken to ensure that the car is maintained in good working order. With some performance car maintenance, a supercharged car can offer a long, trouble-free service life. Here are some particular things to pay attention to if you happen to have a supercharged car.

Engine Oil

Superchargers function by forcing extra air into the engine to create more power. Forced induction creates more extreme conditions inside the motor itself, and therefore puts extra stress on the engine. Make sure that you follow your manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule and check your oil frequently to make sure your car is protected.

Coolant and Temperature

Supercharged cars are extra reliant on their cooling system to keep them at an acceptable temperature. Have the condition of your coolant checked frequently and follow the recommended replacement schedule. Make sure that you keep an eye on your temperature gauge at all times. Supercharged cars are especially vulnerable to damage from overheating.

Fuel

Having quality fuel is an especially important issue for supercharged cars. As a general rule, a supercharged car should be run on premium gasoline, unless recommended otherwise by the manufacturer. If inferior fuel is used, pre-detonation can occur and cause severe damage to the engine. If a supercharged car is experiencing engine knock or hesitating, stop driving right away and get the car to a shop.

Filtration

All filters are important, but it's particularly important to make sure that your air filter is clean and replace it often to ensure that your vehicle's supercharger can properly breathe. A clogged air filter puts unnecessary strain on the supercharger and hurts performance.

Transmission

The extra power created by a supercharged engine has to be transferred to the road through your transmission. That means quite a bit of extra stress on your vehicle. On cars with automatic transmissions, this means that you have to be very meticulous about service and keeping an eye on the condition of the tranny (how it's shifting, etc.).

In addition to these specific issues, it's important to remember that we as drivers tend to treat performance vehicles differently than other cars. Supercharged cars tend to be driven harder than other vehicles, and without proper care this can really show. Make sure that you pay attention to all the areas of the vehicle that are put under extra stress by hard driving. This can include things like the tires, clutch and brakes. The responsibility is yours as an owner to make sure that your car lives up to its true potential. With a little bit of attention to detail, your supercharged car can be long lasting, and a lot of fun.

Related Questions and Answers

How Often Does a Supercharger Belt Need to be Replaced?

Your car's supercharger is driven by a supercharger belt. This accessory drive belt runs around the crankshaft, idler pulley and the supercharger pulley. All belts have a life expectancy. Supercharger drive belts usually have a life expectancy of between 50,000 and 70,000 miles. Most manufacturers specify a replacement interval of 60,000 miles. However, just like all the other accessory belts on your car, if the belt shows signs of wear, such as cracking or fraying on the edges, it should be replaced as soon as possible. This is a relatively easy process that can be accomplished in less than an hour.

How Often Does the Air Filter of a Supercharger Need to be Replaced?

Your car's air filter for the supercharger filters the air that is forced in to your engine, mixed with the fuel and combustion in the engine cylinders. Whether you have a supercharger or not, you should observe the recommended air filter changing interval set forth by the maker of your car. Most car makers specify between 12,000 and 15,000 miles for an air filter changing interval. However, if you live in an area with a high dust or pollen content in the air, you should at least inspect the filter on a monthly basis. Take the filter out and hold it up to a light. If you can see light through it, then you don't need to change it.

What kind of an Engine Cooling System Does a Supercharger Need?

The engine cooling system on your car is what keeps your car's engine from overheating and causing serious damage. Air heats up as it is compressed. For optimal performance with a supercharger, you should have what is known as an intercooler. An intercooler is a device that cools the compressed air before it enters the engine. Cooler air is denser air, and thus has more chemical energy than hot air. The extra energy released inside your engine's combustion chambers with a supercharger creates more heat in your engine. To help your engine's cooling system cool more effectively, there are flow restrictors that can be inserted into the radiator hoses, to slow the flow of coolant in the system, giving it more time to be cooled in the radiator.

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