Can You Put Motor Oil in an Air Compressor ? (Complete Guide)




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Can you Put Motor Oil in an Air Compressor? Technically, the answer is yes, you can put motor oil in an air compressor. As we use compressor oil, motor oil can be a great alternative to compressor oils. For that, the oil needs to have a certain composition and match the viscosity and weight of your usual compressor oil. If you want to know more, then you’re in the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn,

  • How to use motor oil in an air compressor.
  • Different types of motor oil that can be used is air compressors.
  • And much more!

So, let us take you through the article.

Why Air Compressor required oiling?

Before starting we need to know why an air compressor required oiling. An air compressor requires constant oil lubrication to prevent friction on the pistons or screws and other moving parts. So, if want to run your air compressor efficiently, then do check your oil level regularly to identify how much oil your compressor needs.

Is Motor Oil Safe as an Air Compressor oil substitute?

Motor oils have some detergent in them that boosts the internal combustion of an engine. So, motor oil isn’t ideal for use in air compressors as it has a huge amount of carbon that can accumulate in the compressor.On the other hand, Synthetic oil are ideal for use in air compressors as they are non-detergent oils. Compressor manufacturers warn users about using automobile motor oil or other unfit oils to power their compressors. But there are some non-detergent motor oils that can be used in compressor oil. 

Non-detergent (20-weight or 30-weight) motor oil can work on an air compressor. To keep your air compressor up and running, you need to use suitable oil that can make your compressor work smooth and fast.

Can You Put Motor Oil In An Air Compressor

What Kind of Oil to Use in Air Compressor?

Always try to use the inorganic and non-detergent ones for your air compressor. These oils are a great substitute for compressor lubrication. You can use 20W ISO 68 or 30W ISO 100 oil. These oils are the most commonly used ones. A 30W single viscosity non-detergent inorganic oil will be perfect for the compressor. Air compressor manufacturers usually suggest a non-detergent 20-weight or 30-weight air compressor oil.

Besides, a synthetic or standard blend can work on an air compressor if the manufacturer advises you to use it. More viscous oils are better than less viscous oil as it offers a better coat resistant against the harsh weather conditions. Than less viscous oils. 20-weight oils are ideal for colder environments. They can offer superior protection against unwanted engine deposits and reduce the damages made by the deposits on the oil passageway.

What Happens When You Use Motor Oil in Air Compressor?

Motor oils are not suitable for air compressors except the non-detergent ones. The main difference between air compressor oil and motor oil is the properties of two oil varies upon a number of things. By using motor oil as an air compressor oil substitute will lead to unexpected results from the compressor, and that is due to detergents present in motor oil. It will foam up when gets agitated, and the oil with foam won’t lubricate well. This will cause carbon build-up at high temperatures. It will leave deposit the pump and hence will decrease its power and capacity.But non-detergents are suitable for air compressors. These oils perform well in temperature and other conditions. This results in high-performance of air engines.

How can I Change the Oil of the Air Compressor?

Changing the oil is pretty easy. You just need to warm up the air compressor as warming up the machine heats up the engine oil. For that, it reduces the viscosity of the oil and percolates more easily. You can keep the machine under the sun for making it warm. When it is warmed up, you can release the motor oil by opening the drain valve. Be careful as the engine oil might be hot. You can even tilt the machine to ensure all the oil has seeped away.

When it is done, close the drain cap and prepare the new oil. Ensure that your oil is perfect for your compressor. Then uncap the fill port and pour the air compressor oil into it. Keep pouring oil until it covers the red dot on the oil level marker. Never overfill the port otherwise it may leak out. Finally, put the cap on the fill port, and you’re done. Try to keep change in air compressor oil every year or every 3-4 months.

Things we should know about the functions of Oil in Air Compressor

In an air compressor oil performs 4 different types of tasks.

  1. Cooling: Cooling is when air compressor compresses air continuously. During cooling the temperature inside the compression, chamber gets higher. This can lead to failure of the compressor, and oil is used as a coolant.
  2. Lubrication: A proper lubrication is required for the air compressor. A number of moving metal parts get compressed air needs proper lubrication for performing their task. So, lubrication is the major task of an air compressor, and it gives protection from wear and corrosion.
  3. Sealing: Sealing compresses the air and keep it at a compressed state. However, sometimes this is not achievable only by sealing with metal parts. Oil is required to reach the smallest thinkable position and can give good sealing.
  4. Cleaning: The air filter can capture most of the contaminant particles, but some nanoparticles are still present in the air. Oil is a good way to capture them. The metal parts of the compressor produce fragmented small particles in its service time. These removed from the compression chamber for maximum efficiency and service life.

How To Change Your Air Compressor Oil ?


Q. Are Synthetic oils good for air compressors?

Answer : Synthetic air compressor oils have a higher viscosity index. It protects air compressors from overheating. It can enable a compressor to operate relatively quieter and smoother even in extreme service conditions. Synthetic oils include longer engine life, improved fuel efficiency, extended drain levels, and decreased evaporation loss. Synthetic oils with this viscosity offer more protection in the summer months.

Q. Should we need to lubricate air compressor regularly?

Answer : An air compressor is a pretty heavy-duty machine. It has a complex mechanism and runs by an engine or motor that results in a lot of frictions and heat productions while it runs. Due to it, your air compressor might get damaged or get blasted due to overheating. A lubricant effectively decreases the friction between the parts of the motor and reduces the chance of damage.

Final Thought

I hope you have got your answer about Can you Put Motor Oil in an Air Compressor? This review was our perspective toward putting motor oil in an air compressor. Before using motor oil, make to be totally aware of the facts about the effects and side effects. Then make your decision as per your choice.

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