Mini Magazine - - Mini Tech -

Q What oil should I use in an au­to­matic Mini? Usu­ally I’ve used 20W50 in ev­ery Mini I’ve had, but those were man­u­als, and this is a later Ja­panese im­port car with a 1275 in­jec­tion en­gine. I can’t find any hard and fast an­swers on this, and I’m keen not to cause any dam­age to the gear­box. Some­times in the cold it seems re­luc­tant to se­lect gears, so I’m hop­ing new oil will help. Sarah

A Ul­ti­mately, what­ever Rover rec­om­mended for the au­to­matic gear­box equipped Minis is the way to go. Typ­i­cally this was the Uni­part 10W40 oil. That stuff was not specially for­mu­lated for Uni­part, but pro­vided by a ma­jor oil man­u­fac­turer in their tins. The oil would have to have con­formed with SAE oil leg­is­la­tion so would have been the same as al­most any other 10W40 oil on the mar­ket. I say ‘al­most; as Uni­part/Rover may have spec­i­fied a higher than usual ZDDP (lu­brica­tive chem­i­cals es­sen­tial for anti-scuff­ing of me­tal sur­faces) con­tent to pro­tect the cam and fol­low­ers. Ex­pe­ri­ence of the oils sup­plied at that time, I would say they did not. Many later A-plus en­gines show cam fol­lower wear con­sis­tent with a lack of these pro­tec­tive, es­sen­tial chem­i­cals.

Making oil rec­om­men­da­tions has be­come a very trep­i­da­tious is­sue. Re­cent events have lead me to drop com­pletely a pre­vi­ously highly-rec­om­mended prod­uct be­cause there has been a dra­matic change that is not at all favourable. And go­ing by the SAE-rec­om­mended oil con­tent and recog­nised con­form­ity tag is no good ei­ther, as the vast ma­jor­ity of mod­ern off-theshelf avail­able oils are for­mu­lated for mod­ern-de­signed en­gines. These are pro­duced us­ing far greater man­u­fac­tur­ing pre­ci­sion, ma­te­rial types and heat treat­ments, and thus don’t need the chem­i­cal con­tent re­quired to pro­tect older-de­signed pushrod type en­gines. I use and highly rec­om­mend Torco oils. They have per­formed with con­sis­tent per­fec­tion for me since 1991 when I first cam across them. Joe Gibbs ‘Driven’ oil range is de­vel­op­ing a good rep­u­ta­tion, while Pen­ritre and Cas­trol are also up there among the front run­ners for the older push-rod, clas­sic en­gines.

What oil for an auto?

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