Which Oil Should I Use for My Air Compressor?

Air Compressor Oil

Oil is one of the essential elements that most air compressors need to function and operate smoothly, but it can be a hassle trying to figure out which type of oil is best for your air compressor. After all, you don’t want to jeopardise the well-being of your unit by filling it up with a type of oil unfit for compressors. Nor do you want to spend money on oil that won’t be energy efficient over a long period of time. In today’s article, we look to answer all of your oil-related questions – from regular vs synthesised to how often you should replace compressor oil – Mobile Energy Australia are here to help.

Is There Specific Oil for Air Compressors?

Yes, there is. While you could technically use motor oil to operate an air compressor, that oil type typically contains detergents that will cause carbon build-up within a compressor unit. Instead, oil manufacturers have created oil specifically for air compressors that don’t include detergents. Always check your compressor’s manual to determine whether or not it is compatible with motor oil but err on the safe side and use air compressor oil instead.

Regular vs Synthetic Oil

Both regular and synthetic oil can be used for air compressors, with the main difference between the two being price and efficiency. Synthetic oil is made from more refined base oils than regular blends and will work more efficiently within the engine of an air compressor. Synthetic blends are also more reliable over a range of temperatures and are less likely to overheat the unit. However, they do cost more than regular oils.

The question then is how often you intend to use your air compressor? For irregular home use, the cheaper regular oils are a perfectly acceptable option. However, professionals who are constantly using their air compressors may prefer to choose a synthetic blend to increase the lifespan of their unit and ensure that it runs more smoothly.

A Question of Viscosity

Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil, and in regard to air compressors, you’ll mostly be coming across 46-weight and 68 weight oil. 68 weight is the thicker of the two and works better in warmer conditions, while 46 weight oil is thinner and is better suited to colder climates.

68 weight oil helps to coat your pump better, while 46 weight oil increases engine efficiency. However, each of these comparisons are relatively minor and either oil type can work effectively for your air compressor in a variety of conditions and climates.

How Often Should You Replace the Oil?

The first step in answering this question is checking your compressor’s owner’s manual, as every model is different and may require more regular oil top-ups than others. However, you should be aiming to replace your air compressor’s oil at least once a year at a minimum. Compressors don’t have to have their oil replaced as often as cars and other vehicles, but checking the oil levels every three months or so is still recommended.

It should also be noted that reciprocating compressors require oil changes more frequently than rotary screw compressors. This is due to the latter incorporating oil recycling technology.

Vehicle Mounted Air Compressors from Mobile Energy Australia

At Mobile Energy Australia, we sell a range of high-quality vehicle-mounted air compressors. To be used for professional jobs around the country. Our friendly team will happily answer any questions you have regarding what type of oil to use for your compressor but remember always to check the owner’s manual for comprehensive information. To get in touch, call (07) 3273 6803 today!