air compressor oil

10 facts you need to know about air compressor oil

Air compressor oil is a necessary component for any engine-powered compressor system that uses oil as it needs sufficient lubrication to perform efficiently. This specially formulated air compressor oil contains paraffinic base oils and other special synthetic additives, which can thoroughly lubricate the internal components of your equipment thereby, significantly extending the life of your machine.

Using the right air compressor oils would have your equipment running smoothly in tip-top condition for a very long time! The primary purpose of air compressor oil is to lubricate the cylinders and valves, to cool and to reduce the temperature, and to seal the compression chamber and piston rods in a compressor. Air compressor oil provides you with adequate lubrication in rotary screw compressor and reciprocating piston compressor as well as some other industrial applications that use compressor oils.

In this article, let’s discuss in detail about the synthetic air compressor oil, its functions and benefits, applications, guidelines and steps to change your air compressor oil, and factors to consider before you choose from a variety of compressor lubricant models suitable for your air compressor tools, causes of premature oil failures, etc. Read on to the end to get all the helpful information about the outstanding product so you would make the most informed decision while selecting the best oil suited for your air compressor machine.

1. What Are the Main Functions and Features of air compressor oil?

Synthetic air compressor oil contains high-performance properties that can carry out numerous excellent functions. Their main feature that differs from other industrial oils is their high viscosity index and their ability to operate in high-temperature environments and mixing with coolants. It does not just lubricate your air compressor, but also it provides outstanding protection against oxidation and thermal degeneration of your system.

Additionally, synthetic compressor oil plays a vital role in maintaining the overall parts or components of your equipment. This non-sulfur compressor oil contains refined petroleum and other special additives that can protect and keep your machine from the wear and tear and prevents rust from corroding your compressor. With the best air compressor oil, your engine will operate efficiently without any significant issues for years.

The main features and functions of air compressor oils:

  • Air compressor oil provides excellent protection against oxidation.
  • Air compressor oil effectively reduces the temperature caused due to the friction of the machine.
  • Air compressor oil provides excellent anti-rust and anti-corrosion protection.
  • Air compressor oil effectively separates water from the compressor lubricant.
  • Air compressor oil seals and covers any leaks to prevent air from escaping from the air compressor.
  • Air compressor oil balances and controls the rapid release of air and foams.
  • Air compressor oil lubricates the entire components of the machine.

2. What Are The Main Benefits of Air Compressor Oils?

Using authentic and standard air compressor oil is beneficial not only for your air compressor elements but also for the entire parts of your compressor model as well. The non-detergent compressor oil can significantly improve the competence of your air compressor as well as extend the service life of your engine.

Air compressor oil works exceptionally well in providing resistance to oxidation

The sulfur-free air compressor oil guards against oxidation and works efficiently in cleaning and preventing any particles and carbons from forming around the air compressor. This non-sulfur compressor oil frees you from the hassles of regularly cleaning the engine as it runs adequately for more extended periods between your maintenance and oil changes routines.

Every ISO viscosity grades perform remarkable endurance to oxidation in providing efficient lubrication for your air compressor. Synthetic air compressor oils enable you to complete your tasks proficiently as well as ensuring a long lasting life to your machine.

Air compressor oil works efficiently in degenerating heat from the air compressors

Proper use of synthetic air compressor oil can remarkably reduce the high-temperature level caused due to the friction of the compressor during the process of operation. As such, appropriate application of the air compressor oil would lessen the conflict which can immensely help in lowering energy and oil consumption, thereby reducing any repair costs and extends the life of the engine.

Air compressor oil works powerfully in protecting your equipment against rust and corrosion

The remarkable anti-wear and anti-rust safeguard functions in the oil enhance the life of your machine while also relieving you from the stress of keeping up with regular maintenances. The air compressor oil thoroughly lubricates the internal parts of your engine preventing any chemicals or acids from corroding your compressor, whereby it shields all the essential elements of your equipment.

Air compressor oil works effectively in separating water from the lubricant

Air compressor oil acts efficiently in discharging water from the compressor oil. It separates the water from the oil by lubricating the entire equipment correctly which lessens the formation of any residue or dirt in functional elements like the crankcases, coalesces, coolers and discharge lines.

Air compressor oils act efficiently in sealing and covering any leaks to prevent air leakage

Air compressor oils work considerably by sealing any holes or gaps to restrict air from passing from the air compressor. These excellent properties of the synthetic compressor oil help to improve the execution of the air compressor while averting any maintenances or repair costs.

Air compressor oils assist in accelerating the release of foam and air

Air compressor oil also helps the machine in the rapid release of foam or air from the air compressor. As such, the anti-foam properties in superior compressor oil prevent any degradation or damage to any portions of the engine, extending the life of the product.

Air compressor oils work efficiently in lubricating the whole parts of the machine

Air compressor oil protects the components of the equipment by thoroughly lubricating every moving component. This non-detergent compressor oil greatly helps your engine to operate smoothly and run at a high-level performance while minimizing maintenance costs and extending the life cycle of your compressor.

3. What are the properties of air compressor oils:


Viscosity is the measurement of the thickness and density of the air compressor oil that lets you know about its ability in resisting pressure. Air compressors oil contains enough viscosity adequately suited for your compressors which enables your machine to function effectively. The higher the amount of thickness, the thicker the oil will be and the slower it will flow.

Chemical or Oxidation-Resistant

Air compressor oils maintain the chemical stability in the machine. It can effectively prevent the build-up of carbons, sludge and acids which can significantly impair the functions and lifespan of your compressor. Using other detergent-based oils may cause a chemical reaction that can affect your compressor. Consequently, it is always wise to follow your manufacturer’s recommended oil for your equipment.

Dielectric Strength and Moisture reduction

Air compressor oils have higher dielectric strength that maintains the quality of the oil. It effectively reduces the number of moisture contents in the coolant. Moisture collected in the coolant may cause a problem for the valves resulting in a reduction of the dielectric strength of the oil. However, it can separate the oil from the moisture enabling the system to function efficiently.

4. What Is the Importance of Using Air Compressor Oil in Rotary Screw and Reciprocating Compressor Applications?

Finding suitable compressor oil for your compressors is very important. Air compressor oil is specially designed to enhance the service life in air compressor applications like the rotary screw air compressors and reciprocating air compressors. The compressor oil 68 is an ideal choice for both the applications.

Air compressor oil is also a fitting choice for use in vacuum siphon and other appliances that use compression oil. These compressors and its oils can heat up intensely from the friction during operation. You can also use the compressor oil 68, 122 and 220 for quick and efficient lubrication of the cylinders and valves in reciprocating compressor as well as in other rotary compressor models. However, the exclusive and standard additive properties in synthetic oils can meet up all the complex demands of your compressors.

Although there are some oil-free compressors available in the market, most air compressors demand the use of standard or synthetic compressor oil which is very crucial for the effective performance of your engine. Furthermore, most manufacturers strongly suggest the use of non-sulfuric oils as it can lead to the accumulation of carbon on the back and front of the compressor valves.

Let’s look at the benefits of synthetic oils on the following applications;

Rotary Screw Air Compressors:

The use of synthetic oils in rotary screw compressors can give up to 8000 hours of total lifespan of the oil. It provides anti-wear protection and effectively prevents dirt, varnish, and other residues from restraining the performance of the compressor.

Rotary screw compressor requires lubrication on vital parts like the connection between the cylinder and the rotor of the machine. The lubricants effectively remove the high heat of the screw compressor during its operation.

Besides, synthetic air compressor lubricants can cool down the temperature of the oil as well as effectively release cool air from the compressor. Moreover, the synthetic oils can significantly reduce the overall consumption of oil saving you from the trouble of adding oil regularly.

Reciprocating Air Compressors:

Using synthetic lubricants in your reciprocating air compressors can bring about more than a few benefits. It can lessen the formation of carbons and deposits that lodge in and around the valves of the compressor. Correct application of synthetic oils on the main components of the compressor can reduce the oil consumption rate to a great extent and increase the performance of your compressor on the whole. It comes with a high flash point and automatic ignition temperature.

Besides, synthetic air compressor oils can provide outstanding lubrication and oiling which can prevent the compressor’s cylinder system such as the piston rings, liners, packing, and valves from any premature wear thereby considerably extending the life of your appliances. The oil can thoroughly lubricate the crankcase components including the cross-head guide, bearing, crankpins and crosshead pin bearings of your air compressor.

Synthetic compressor oils generally lubricate both lubrication systems from the viscosity unit ranging from IS VG 68 to ISO VG 220 that contain rust inhibitors, anti-oxidants, and anti-wear additives. Greater viscosity ratios are suitable for use during higher temperature situations.

Thus, the use of synthetic air compressor oils comes with lots of benefits for your rotary screw and reciprocating compressors. Therefore, it is essential to understand which models or type of compressor oil is best suited for your air compressors. For your rotary screw and reciprocating compressors, vacuum siphon or other oil-powered industrial applications, always pick high-performance compressor oil that can adequately protect against any premature wear and degradation of your equipment.

5. What Are The Essential Steps To Follow Before Changing Air Compressor Oil?

Your air compressor does not need frequent oil changes. You can change the compressor oil at least once in a year. Changing compressor oil involves specific procedures which can be quite a challenging task especially if you are a beginner or inexperienced in the matter. Following proper and accurate oil changes can immeasurably facilitate in reducing its consumption as well as increase the lifetime of your compressor oil.

If you are considering changing your oil compressor, it is advisable to follow your compressor’s manufacturer guidelines to know the type and volume of fuel needed for your machine.

Even so, if you strictly follow the below-mentioned steps of changing your air compressor oil, you can be able to extend the lifespan and improve the quality of the oil at a stretch.

  • Power on the compressor before draining the remaining oils in the compressor; this helps to warm up the compressor which, therefore helps retain viscosity and prolonging the life service of the oil.
  • Remove the fill ceiling of the compressor to allow free passage of air into it.
  • Open the drain plug from the machine and thoroughly pour out all the extra oils in it; ensure that you thoroughly drain any used oils in the compressor.
  • Place the drain plug back into its original position after emptying.
  • Pour the new synthetic oil carefully into the air compressor.
  • Close the fill gap securely after filling the oil.
  • Change your compressor oil every three months for a reciprocating compressor and once a year for a rotary screw compressor. You can also refer to the manufacturer’s guides for more information.

6. What Are The Factors to Consider Before Choosing Air Compressor Oil?

Before you go selecting compressor oils that suitably match the requirements of your machine, firstly you should consider your compressor’s oil viscosity demands. For a compressor that runs in complex situations where temperature ranges from 34 degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, SAE 30 weight compressor oil is a fitting choice. On the other hand, SAE 20 weight compressor oil is an ideal choice for a compressor that operates in colder or low-pressure conditions.

You can follow your manufacturer’s guides and recommendations of oil suited for the needs of your equipment; choosing the right air compressor oil can enable your compressor to function better while adding up a longer life to it.

The main factors to reflect on before choosing air compressor oils are:

  • It should be able to protect against corrosion and rust.
  • It should have strong oxidation performance to keep up the viscosity and to boost the lifetime of the compressor oil.
  • It should be able to reduce moisture. It should effectively separate water from the oil.
  • It should allow adequate filtering without draining the conventional compressor oil additives.
  • It should be able to degenerate or cool down the high temperature of the compressor.
  • It should be able to seal or coat any leak on the compressor.

7. What are The Main Causes of Premature Oil Failure?

When your compressor operates at maximum temperature for an elongated period, it can result in causing the oil to form a thin coating within the entire components of your machine. As a result, your compressor’s oil may not cool the oil and the refrigerant may not function as it should have. As such, it will lead to an even higher temperature which will eventually lead to an automatic closedown of your system.

If such oil failures occur to your compressor, it is highly advisable to clean the corroded interior elements thoroughly for any carbon or sludge accumulation. In particular, the coolant parts of the oil compressor needs adequate cleaning of any chemicals that might lodge on it, or you can substitute it with a new one.

To prevent such untoward occurrences from happening, take a cautious step by not engaging your compressor to operate at a high temperature. However, using only standard air compressor oil can help avert such unwelcoming situations. Synthetic compressor oils are free of detergents or sulfur and can highly resist such higher temperatures of your compressors.

8. What Are The Risks Involved In Choosing The Wrong Air Compressor Oils?

Selecting the wrong air compressor oil may damage and ruin the overall parts of your machine. Use of hydraulic oil, detergent-based oils or any other motor oils may result in harming your engine which can lead to poorer performance and incompetence. Your compressor may experience overheating issues leading to increased energy consumption, and higher energy costs and maintenance expenses, and total

shutdown. For this, it is always highly advisable to keep these points in mind and choose a more reliable and premium quality oils for your compressors.

The wrong compressor oil will make your compressor to malfunction or shorten its service life voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. Such non-synthetic oils can increase the chance of giving rise to risks, such as the accumulation of carbons and acids along the oil lines and other moving components of your compressor.

Non-refined compressor oil may deteriorate the sealing and can destroy the metal components of your compressor due to oil oxidation. It can also lead to foaming which can cause oil holdover, resulting in a reduced air flow rate as oil molecules accumulate itself in the compressor. Therefore, it is best to avoid such mistakes and invest in good quality air compressor lubricants like standard or synthetic compressor oils.

9. Health and Safety Precautions While Handling Air Compressors Oils:

It is fundamentally essential to practice proper personal health hygiene while handling air compressor oils. The air compressor oil contains a mixture of petroleum and synthetic based oils and other added preservatives that may be toxic to your body.

Proper handling of air compressor oil is highly advisable. Avoid direct or prolonged contact with your skin, eyes, mouth, etc. Remember to cover any exposed part of your body while performing oil changes for your compressor. Avoid splashing the oil into your eyes. Do not ingest or inhale the vapour of the compressor oil. Visit a doctor immediately if such an accident occurs.

You can also follow the Material Safety Data Sheet to know more about its health and safety tips.

10. Where can you get Air Compressor Oils?

You can get air compressor oils from many different places like an auto-parts store in your area as well as from popular online markets like Amazon, Home Depot, or Lowe’s, etc. These virtual public markets offer a wide range of oils from different brands and models at a competitive price. Just remember to get the ones your manufacturer recommended for your compressor.


Thus, the compressor oil is uniquely created to accommodate the demands of your compressor models. With its excellent execution in delivering varied purposes such as defending your compressors towards metal corrosion or rust, sealing, cooling, rapid strain release, anti-foaming and other cool functions expected to meet any critical applications makes it all the more reliable and suitable. It is specifically intended to enable your air compressors to operate at a top level performance, minimizing any maintenance hassles all the while ensuring a long lasting life to your machine.