An air compressor that is well maintained will be much more likely to work better and to last a longer period of time. While you may be attending to other parts of the compressor, many owners forget that they are required to change the oil. This should be done on a particular schedule, depending on the air compressor that you have chosen. Here is what you need to know about changing the oil on your air compressor.
Oil Changing Frequency
As mentioned, how often the oil needs to be changed is usually dependent on the type of air compressor that you have purchased. One of the best indicators for how quickly the oil needs to be changed is usually in the manual that is present with the compressor. Most manuals will mention the oil life in terms of the service hours. If you cannot find the instruction manual, there are some guidelines that you can follow. Typically, with a rotary screw compressor, you should change the oil every 7000 – 8000 hours that it has been used. For a reciprocating air compressor, you should change the oil every 3 months, ideally.
It is important, however, that you change the oil at least a year, regardless. Oil filters are usually only found in larger air compressors and are absent in the smaller models. Thus, if the compressor is opened, it is a good idea to change the oil.
Type of Oil
The user’s manual will usually list the type of oil that is meant to be used for each type of air compressor. If you do not have access to this information, you should only buy oil that has been specifically tailored for air compressors. For older air compressor models, you can use non-detergent 20w or 30w oil. It is important to not use generic motor oils in your air compressor. This is because such oils have the tendency to foam and will not form a protective coating on the internal parts. There are a few, newer model air compressors that may be capable of utilizing synthetic motor oil. Unless it has been specified in the manual, however, you should not use this type of oil.
Changing the Oil
When changing the oil, the air compressor needs to be turned off. You are not required to decompress the air tank, however. The oil in your air compressor can be located either in the sump or the crankcase. The oil can be emptied from the compressor by opening a drain present below the case. There is an opening above through which the new oil can be poured in. The process is quite similar to that of changing the oil in a vehicle.
It is important that you change the oil in your air compressor as needed. You should also only use the type of oil that has been specified.