17 Jun 2019

Your air compressor needs to stay in top condition for it to work properly. Air compressors that are well- maintained also last longer, which saves you money in the long run. There are lots of maintenance routines necessary to keep your air compressor in full working condition. One of these routines includes oil change. Some people focus too much on maintaining the different parts of the compressor and tend to overlook the need to change the oil. Failure to change the compressor oil when it is already urgently needed can cause your air compressor to provide poor performance and may even cause some considerable damage.

Why Is It Important to Change Oil in an Air Compressor?

The oil of an air compressor performs a vital function for an air compressor. This specially formulated oil acts as a cooling, lubricating and sealing agent during compression. The lack of oil can lead to quick heating of your air compressor which, in many compressor models, causes an automatic shutdown. Thus, having the necessary amount of oil allows your compressor to perform much longer.

Since compressor oil also acts as a sealant, its absence can cause leakage that greatly reduces its efficiency and the maximum pressure it produces. Moreover, the oil serves as a lubricant that prevents the wear and tear of compressor parts.

How Often Should We Change Compressor Oil?

The frequency at which one should change the oil in an air compressor heavily depends on the type of compressor you bought. Some compressors may need oil to be changed more frequently than others. The best source of information about this is found in the user’s instructions manual that comes with the compressor oil package you have purchased. Some instructions manuals even provide information about the expectancy life of the oil in terms of service hours.

If you are unable to locate your user’s manual, there are some basic guidelines for compressor types’ schedules of oil changes.

  • For Rotary Screw Compressors – Change the oil every 1000 to 2000 service hours.
  • For Reciprocating Air Compressors – Oil change should be every 3 months.

As mentioned, the need for oil change in an air compressor varies according to its model and service hours. At least, you should change the oil in your air compressor once a year. The presence of oil filters that regulates the oil in your compressor is only commonly found in big models. Hence, once the air compressor is opened, it is advisable to change the oil.

What Type of Compressor Oil Should Be Used?

Just like in oil change frequency for air compressors, it is always best to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. Not only will it work best for your compressor but it will also ensure that your warranty is not voided. When you are uncertain of what to use, especially when the user’s manual is nowhere to be found, you can opt for the often recommended 68 grade or 100 grade hydraulic compressor oil.

When choosing between compressor oil and motor oil, compressor oil is always the best choice. This type of oil is specially formulated for compressors. Motor oils, on the other hand, have some type of detergent, which is best for the engine’s internal combustion. When used in a compressor, it may cause faster carbon build-up in a shorter span of time.

Some compressor owners are also torn between using synthetic or standard air compressor oil. Both can be used if your manufacturer allows it, otherwise, it is best to stick to what is recommended to avoid breaking your warranty.

Standard air compressor oil is best for compressors that are not heavily used. These are compressors found in homes and small shops. Light to medium duty compressors is best treated with standard compressor oil because this type is cheaper.

For heavy duty compressors like those used in construction areas or large industries, a synthetic compressor oil is more recommended. This type of oil can best protect the compressor from overheating and has a wide range of temperature suitability for colder environments. Many compressor users also say that synthetic compressor oil causes the compressor to run smoother and more quietly.

Note: synthetic compressor oil is mainly used in screw type compressors.

Where to Buy Compressor Oil?

To make sure that you are getting the best quality compressor oil, whether standard or synthetic, make sure to buy from trusted distributors. If you do not know any reliable sellers near you, try asking your manufacturer or friends who also use compressors.

Additionally, you can buy from online stores like Amazon and eBay, but make sure to read the reviews first and determine the trustworthiness of your seller before buying one. You can also ask professionals, family and friends where they usually purchase one.

Caring for your compressor oil and doing necessary routine maintenance will help you save money in the long run. It will also ensure that you get the best possible performance from your oil when doing some projects.