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What Does Air Compressor Oil Do?

air compressor oil
Air compressor oil does a lot of different jobs to keep your air compressor running efficiently.

Air compressor oil is specially formulated for air compressors. It performs many important functions, including cooling the compression, lubricating the compressor, and acting as a sealant. Without air compressor oil, your compressor would heat up more quickly. For many compressors, overheating causes an automatic shutdown, so the way the oil removes heat allows your compressor to run longer without overheating. Your air compressor would also leak more air without air compressor oil serving as a sealant to prevent leakage. Leaks reduce the efficiency of your compressor and the maximum pressure it produces. Compressor oil also lubricates the moving parts in your compressor, saving wear and tear on the motor.

Which air compressor oil do I need?

Not all compressors need oil. So the first thing you need to know is whether yours is an oil-free model or not. If it is, check the owner’s manual to see which oil the manufacturer recommends. Most synthetic air compressor oils are universal for use in all consumer-grade air compressors.

Can I use automotive engine oil in my air compressor?

No. Automotive engine oil contains detergents and other additives that can cause problems in compressors. In some cases, using an automotive oil can cause a build up on the backs and faces of the valves in your compressor’s pump. This buildup will cause the compressor to run less efficiently and wear out faster because of the increased strain on the air pump.

How often should I change my air compressor oil?

Most manufacturers recommend changing the oil in your compressor every 500–1,000 hours of run time. You should check the oil level on your air compressor every time you use it. Make sure it’s topped off. Follow the maintenance tips in your compressor’s owner’s manual to ensure that you get a a nice, long life out of your unit.


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