Air Compressors: How often should I change the oil?

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An air compressor that is kept in good working condition is more likely to work better and last for a long time. Although you may be paying heed to other parts of the tool, you could be forgetting about changing the oil of the machine. A quality air compressor will serve you longer if you change its oil regularly. Here is how often you should consider changing the oil of the compressor.

Frequency of oil changing

The frequency of oil change depends on the type of compressor you have. A manual that comes with the compressor is one of the best indicators to determine how often you should change the oil of the machine. Most of the manuals will mention the life of the oil in terms of service hours. If you can’t find the instruction/user manual, there are certain guidelines that you could follow.

If you have a rotary screw compressor, you may need to change the oil after every 7000-8000 hours of usage of the machine. On the other hand, changing the oil once in every three months is recommended for a reciprocating air compressor. Note that you should change the oil at least once a year no matter what. Oil filters are mostly absent in smaller air compressors, but they are mostly present in larger models. Thus, it is a good idea to change the oil if the compressor is opened.


Type of oil

Any user manual that comes with an air compressor will list the type of oil to use for the compressor. If you don’t have access to this vital information, you should buy oil that is specifically meant for air compressors. 20w or 30w oil is ideal for older compressors. Stay away from using motor oils for compressors as these oils have the tendency to foam and won’t provide a protective coating to internal parts.

How to change the oil

The compressor should be turned off when changing the oil. Be sure you do not decompress the air tank. The oil in the compressor could be found in the crankcase or the sump. You will find an opening above through which you can pour the new oil. You don’t have to be a professional to change the oil of your compressor.

The process is similar to changing the oil in a vehicle.

You should note three vital points with respect to changing the oil of the machine. Firstly, you should change the oil whenever needed. Never delay the procedure of oil change. Secondly, use the oil type that is mentioned in the user manual or ideal for compressors. Lastly, be sure to turn off the compressor when changing the oil.

Bottom line

Since a quality air compressor is an important woodworking tool, it is important to keep it in good condition to make the most out of the tool. While you may have to check the device regularly for any wear and tear and overhaul it periodically for better usage, you need to change its oil regularly. If you lack info on how often you should change the oil of the machine, follow the above advice. With the periodic change in the oil of the compressor, you could ensure that the tool will work better and last longer.

So, how to change the oil in a compressor?

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