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Air compressor oil | Air Compressor Guide
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Air compressor oil

Keep your compressor in top condition by using the right air compressor oil. Make your compressor run nice and smooth.

Using the right air compressor oil for your compressor is very important. This is true for both rotary screw compressors and reciprocating piston compressors. You can't just use your cars oil or hydraulic oil (believe me, I've seen it)! Compressor oil isn't there just for lubrication, it has a few important functions:

  • It removes heat from the compression (number 1 function)
  • It works as a sealing to prevent air leakage (which would lower the efficiency of the compressor)
  • It lubricates all moving parts
  • It’s used to cool important parts of the compressor element.

Air compressor oil is specifically designed to do the above jobs well. If you would use oil from your car or hydraulic oil (I've seen it both) the compressor will definitely die a slow (or quick) death. Compressors (and the oil) can get very hot.. normal maximum outlet temperature of a rotary screw compressor element is set at 120 degrees Celsius (when it gets hotter, the compressor will shut down). The oil should be able to survive these kinds of temperatures.

Oil failure

If you would operate your compressor on a too high temperature for a too long time, the oil will form a thin layer on the entire inside of your compressor (piping, compressor element, oil cooler). When this happens to your oil-cooler, it won't be able to cool the oil as effectively as it used to, with as result: even higher temperatures (and in the end an automatic shutdown of the compressor).

When this happens to your compressor, the 'contaminated' parts and especially the poor oil-cooler need to be chemically cleaned or replaced by new ones. So it's important to prevent this. Don't let your compressor run too hot, and use the right kind of oil. Special compressor oil is designed to resist these high temperatures.