A compressor is a necessary equipment for industry, auto shops, and home garages. Their compact sizes, with their extraordinary capabilities to inflate even a tire at home, make it more demanding. In order for it to function, it requires oil, just like any other machine.
There are many air compressors oil available on the market (Also, we’ve listed some of them below), but the real problem is when you don’t have an air compressor oil at the moment, and you need to use the air compressor. That’s where this question popped up: “Can I use 10w30 in my air compressor?”
We can’t answer these questions with a Yes or No, as you’ve to understand some things beforehand.
- 1 Why Do Air Compressors Need Oil?
- 2 Do All Air Compressors Require Oil?
- 3 Can I Use 10w30 in My Air Compressor?
- 4 Can I Use Motor Oil in An Air Compressor?
- 5 What is The Difference Between Air Compressor Oil and Motor Oil?
- 6 Characteristics of Oil That is Used in an Air Compressor
- 7 What Kind Of Oil Should I Use For My Air Compressor?
- 8 What Viscosity is Best for Air Compressors?
- 9 Cautions While Putting Oil in An Air Compressor
- 10 After How Much Time Should I Change Air Compressor Oil?
- 11 Air Compressor Oil Substitute
- 12 Which Oil is Best for Air Compressors in Cold Weather?
- 13 Our Recommendation for Air Compressor Oils
- 14 Conclusion
- 15 FAQ’s
Why Do Air Compressors Need Oil?
Compressors need oil maintenance regularly, but why do you ever think about that? In addition to enhancing the longevity of our compressor, it also removes heat generated inside the motor during the compressor process of compression.
Lubricants reduce the chances of wear and tear on the compressor’s moving parts to prevent friction (on pistons, screws, and metal to metal rubbing). It helps in cooling down the compressor and helps in running efficiently.
Do All Air Compressors Require Oil?
No, we only lubricate oil-lubricated compressors, not the oil-less air compressors. You see, every machine with moving parts requires oil to withstand friction and work effectively. If we don’t lubricate those moving parts, we can malfunction our air compressor.
Oil-less air compressors are designed so that they don’t require oil in a compression chamber. So, you don’t have to lubricate an oil-free air compressor.
Can I Use 10w30 in My Air Compressor?
No, You can not use 10w30 in your air compressor because it is a detergent oil, and the manufacturers of the compressors always guide us to use lubricants that are detergent free. Besides having detergent in the oil, its weight and viscosity also do not match the manufacturing specifications.
So, it’s clear that we can’t use 10w30 in air compressors. What about other Motor Oils?
Can I Use Motor Oil in An Air Compressor?
Yes, it is allowed to use motor oil in the air compressor, and its oils job is to work and handle the temperature ( high and low) of the compressor. However, motor oils have detergent because they are mainly used for cars and trucks, so long-time use is not recommended. You can use it temporarily when nothing else is available.
What is The Difference Between Air Compressor Oil and Motor Oil?
The primary and fundamental difference between air compressor oil and motor oil is that: air compressor oil is full-synthetic and non-detergent oil, and it prevents heating and sticks to the crank. While motor oil has detergents, it may be great for cleaning car engines but harmful for air compressors.
- Their formulation is for different purposes: air compressor oil is for specific compressors, and motor oil is not for compressors. Motor oil is beneficial for car and truck internal combustion engines.
- Detergent oil build-up carbon in the compressor. Do additional research and buy detergent-free oil for compressors.
- Cost is another difference which is less, and you can stock compressor oil.
Characteristics of Oil That is Used in an Air Compressor
The main characteristic of the compressor is:
Stabilizing Temperature: Oil helps in cooling down the heat from the compressor. The engine’s temperature can rise to 120F and cause damage.
Consistency: Oil thickness depends on the motor running condition. The warmer condition works better with thick oil viscosity, which is why synthetic oil is better and allows the compressor to run longer.
Corrosion: Additive in the air compressor prevents rust and corrosion and helps in prolonging the life of the pump and other moving parts.
What Kind Of Oil Should I Use For My Air Compressor?
Synthetic oil or non-detergent oil are recommended mainly by manufacturers and experts. They work the best in cooling down the unit. Motor oil needs to be avoided because it has detergent, damaging parts over time.
Whether standard, synthetic, or substitutes, always choose non-detergent oil for the compressor. You can use 20 or 30-weight compressor oil for the compressor. 30-weight protects in summer and is effective. While 20-weight is ideal in winters
What Viscosity is Best for Air Compressors?
The viscosity is the thickness of the oil. The 5W and 10W remain at a lower weight, and the compressor does not get heated enough to increase its weight. It is better to use 20-30W oil. Most experts and manufacturers recommend 20W and 30W oil for the compressor.
In compressors manuals, 20W is recommended in winters (cold environments) when it is 78-degrees. In comparison, 32-degree oil is 10W oil, which is below 50-degree. The ISO 46 is recommended.
Cautions While Putting Oil in An Air Compressor
These are some cautions to take before while, and after putting oil in your air compressor:
- Wear gloves and glasses to prevent any mishap.
- Make sure the viscosity of the oil is correct.
- Putting compressor oil ( not motor oil)
- Putting enough oil. (more or less)
- Make sure the oil is clean.
- Ensure the surface of the oil valve is not getting rusted.
- After putting oil, close the valve properly and ensure no leakage.
After How Much Time Should I Change Air Compressor Oil?
Changing the oil depends on the compressor’s type, usually manual instruction on the intervals and oil specification. The rotary screw compressor needs to change the oil every 7000-8000 hours while the reciprocating compressor every 3-months.
Regardless of use, change the oil every 6-months. If you do not use the compressor often, then every year or 8-9months to increase the lifespan. The lubricated compressor needs regular changing ( 4000 hours).
How much oil to put in the air compressor? Maximum requirements of oil are always mentioned in the manual of the unit. From the sight glass of the tank, check the oil level, and estimate to add 1-Gallon of oil to the machine.
Air Compressor Oil Substitute
There are substitutes available when you are not able to get compressor oil:
This acid has low viscosity in cold temperatures, which helps airflow in low density. It works best in low temperatures and prevents rusting because it does not oxidize.
ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid):
It is mainly used for cars but also compressors: it reduces wear and tears in the unit. It helps in resisting breakdown and cold down the parts, and ATF does not get affected by heat, and neither causes damage.
Although it should be avoided because it has detergents in it, in need, you can use it as a substitute for a brief time.
Which Oil is Best for Air Compressors in Cold Weather?
Which oil should I use for my compressor? Firstly always choose a non-detergent oil for your compressor because it does not affect the pump’s lifespan. Most of the time: SAE20 and SAE 30 oil are recommended because it enhances the pump’s life.
Living in a region where there is cold, then it is best for you to use SAE 20 and for warmer places, use SAE 30. Also, this is based on how the viscosity changes (according to the weather). SAE 20 is excellent for winters because it is excellent for low-temperature performances, and it allows no exceeding of maximum viscosity when tested at 5F and -4F.
Our Recommendation for Air Compressor Oils
Ingersoll Rand 38436721 OEM All Season Select Synthetic Lubricant
Ingersoll has an excellent reputation: when it comes to manufacturing products that offer quality, durability, reliability, and excellent performance. They have stool great for industrial innovation for over 100 years now.
From manufacturing compressors to power tools with a great mission of providing a better future. The company has plants and offices around the world, and the only mission is to provide better air compressors to support air, safe food, energy, and sustainability.
This new 38436721 All-season compressor is designed to work in all temperatures having synthetic lubricant provide cooler temperature to your reciprocatory compressor. It helps in carbon (build-up) and also reduces wear. This 1 liter can perform four times longer than general petroleum-based lubricants. Under a normal operating situation, it can work for 2000hours.
Designed explicitly for reciprocatory air compressors with the essential of protecting air compressors with US-based electrical plugs, which will need additional adaptors if used anywhere else.
DEWALT Compressor Oil
Dewalt’s are popular for their excellent air compressor manufacturing at affordable prices. Their long-run air compressors are superb and treat professional users, and having a variety of oil-lubricant and oil-free compressors makes it even better for users.
Dewalt oil is a great oil to use for their oil-lubricated air compressors. This oil helps improve the efficiency and protection of the compressor by providing a balanced temperature to the compressor with full oil lubrication. This compressor’s specialty eliminates carbon and does not allow any build-up with the capacity to start at low temperatures. And it can provide up to 2000hours of excellent service from the compressor.
Triax Kompressor Full Synthetic Air Compressor Oil
Triaz Kompressor provides multi-viscosity with synthetic premium compressor tools and compressors (lubricated) designed especially for screws, rotary, vane, and reciprocatory air compressors.
This oil provides lubrication in both applications: regular and severe service. Its great blend of base oil and top-tier additives provides outstanding protection for air compressors. It has an additive to give protection: from foaming, corrosion, shear, varnish, and deposits.
- Excellent in high temperature, loads, and continuous working.
- High thermal and oxidation stability.
- Shear stability for loads.
- Provides metal-to-metal temperatures with high durability.
- Corrosion protection
- Have laid bearing capacity with 800-1000%.
In this article, we have given the three best compressor oil available in the market, which works the best and provides efficiency and a longer life span for the pump. Ingersoll Rand, DEWALT, and Triax Kompressor are great compressor oils.
However, in any situation: if you do not have compressor oil, then you can use substitutes, but Can we use 10w30 in my air compressor as an alternative? No, because it does more harm to the compressor than benefits.
Can I use SAE 30 oil in my air compressor?
Us of SAE 30 is ok because it is a non-detergent oil, and this synthetic oil is ideal for air compressors. The use of regular oil is never recommended because it shortens the pump’s life by its additives.
Can engine oil be used in air compressors?
Do you want to use engine oil in your compressor? NO, never do that because engine oil has detergents and is used for cars and trucks because of internal combustion. However, detergent oil is harmful to compressors. Use engine oil for your compressor, which is detergent-free
Can I use 5w30 in my air compressor?
Should you use 5w30 in compressors? No, it is not a great idea to use detergent oil, and guides recommend using non-detergent type oil. But the construction foreman says he may be running its single-stage compressor with this 5w30. Many of the manuals state to use 5w30 oil temporarily.
Hamza is a founder of Compressors Insights. He is an Electrical Engineer having strong experience in Technical and Power tools. He has been helping electricians, and HVAC technicians regarding tool selection, and how to use power tools (Compressors, Pressure Washers, Multimeters, etc)