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Can I Use Motor Oil in my Air Compressor?

Can I Use Motor Oil in my Air Compressor

To keep your air compressor up and running, you need to use suitable oil.

No way around that, right?

Different types of oils are available for air compressors in the market.

However, you may find it difficult to choose between synthetic and standard blends.

These oil types differ depending on the weights and manufacturers.


What Kind of Oil is Safe for Use in an Air Compressor?

Air compressor manufacturers usually recommend a non-detergent 20-weight or 30-weight compressor oil.

A synthetic or standard blend can work on an air compressor if the manufacturer advises you to use it.

Always stick to the recommendations of the manufacturer to benefit from the warranty coverage.

Safety Oil Tools Liquid Synthetic
Safety Oil Tools Liquid Synthetic

Oil-less Vs Oil Lubricated Air Compressors

Oil-less air compressors come with engines that don’t require any oil.

They may feature a Teflon-type coating that eliminates the need for their motors to run on oil.

Oil lubricated air compressors come with engines that run on compressor oil that you can change once in a year.

They are more durable and can operate quietly than the oil-less ones.

Synthetic and standard compressor oils work well with an air compressor.

Professionals and individuals who use their compressors regularly can rely on synthetic compressor oil.

The standard compressor oil, on the other hand, is ideal for homeowners and individuals who don’t regularly use their compressors.

The standard one is much cheaper than the synthetic one.

Synthetic Air Compressor Oil Composition

As a lubricant, synthetic oil consists of artificially-made chemical compounds.

The lubricant is as a result of chemically-modified petroleum components rather than crude oil.

In air compressors, synthetic oil is the best alternative to petroleum-refined oils since it enables the device to operate in extreme temperatures.

Synthetic oils are products of Group III, Group IV or certain Group V base oils.

The higher purity in synthetic oils makes them operate at extremes of both low and high temperatures.

They have molecules that are soft and large enough to maintain good viscosity in high-temperature environments.

Unlike other petroleum products, synthetic oils have a higher viscosity index.

Synthetic oils protect air compressors from overheating.

They can enable a compressor to operate relatively quieter and smoother.

They also enable devices to operate better in extreme service conditions and maintain their operational efficiency under standard conditions.

Other benefits of synthetic oils include longer engine life, improved fuel efficiency, extended drain levels, and decreased evaporation loss.

Air compressor manufacturers recommend 30-weight synthetic oils in warm environments. Synthetic oils with this viscosity offer more protection in the summer months.

More viscous oils offer a coat that is resistant to harsh weather conditions than less viscous oils. 20-weight oils are ideal for colder environments.

They can offer superior protection against unwanted engine deposits and reduce the damages made by the deposits on the oil passageway.


Motor Oil Composition

Motor oil can consist of a lubricant base stock or a lubricant base stock with additives.

The additives help boost the oil’s performance, detergency and ability to prevent corrosion of engine parts. Motor oil comes handy when lubricating internal combustion engines such as car engines.

They help reduce wear and friction on moving parts.

Non-vehicle motor oils, which power two-stroke and four-stroke engines, are also available on the market.

You can find four-cycle internal combustion engines (four-stroke engines) in lawn mowers and portable electricity generators.

Two-cycle internal combustion engines (two-stroke engines) are available in model airplanes, chainsaws and snow blowers.

You can also find them, in gasoline-powered gardening equipment such as soil cultivators, leaf blowers and hedge hammers.

You can rely on motor oil to keep the engine free from sludge since it acts as a varnish and dispersant. The oil also cools the engine by dispersing heat from the moving parts and boosts the sealing of piston rings.

It can neutralize the acids that come from oxidation of the lubricant and from the fuel.

Lubricating oil usually creates a separating fill in between the surfaces of parts that are in motion.

It aims at minimizing direct contact between the two parts and reducing the heat produced by friction.

Motor oil facilitates the transfer of heat via conduction to reach the engine.

Manufacturers usually blend motor oils using base oils consisting of petroleum-based hydrocarbons.

This means that they use organic compounds comprising of hydrogen and carbon or poly-alpha-olefins (PAO) or their combinations in specific measurements.

For better dissolution of additives, manufacturers blend these ingredients with up to 20 percent esters.

The typical motor oil contains hydrocarbons with 18 to 34 carbon atoms on every molecule.

Viscosity is one of the most crucial properties when motor oil helps lubricate moving parts.

The viscosity of the oil needs to be high enough to make the lubricating film stronger.

Motor oil should also flow sufficiently in low temperatures to prevent metal contact in the moving parts when turning on the engine.

Is Motor Oil Safe For an Air Compressor?

Motor oils meant for automobiles have some detergent in them that boosts the internal combustion of engines.

They aren’t ideal for use in air compressors since they have a lot of carbon that can accumulate in the compressor.

Compressor oils are ideal for use in air compressors since they are non-detergent oils.

Compressor manufacturers warn users against relying on automobile motor oil or other unfit oils to power their compressors.

Their warranty cover doesn’t apply to defects caused by motor oil usage.

They may cancel the warranty after finding out that you used nonspecified oil on your air compressor.

Non-detergent (20-weight or 30-weight) motor oil can work on an air compressor.

Be sure to check the specifications of the motor oil you’re buying before using it in the compressor. Use the non-detergent motor oil only if the air compressor manufacturer recommends it.

Recommended Best Air Compressor Oil

The PowerMate Px P018-0084SP is one of the best air compressor oil that you must have for your compressor. The air compressor oil has a high viscosity that protects the components from wear.

The oil also contains oxidation inhibitors that make the thermal reliable throughout. The properties in the oil prevent corrosion of the different parts. The oil plays a vital part in, making sure that the device does not produce noise and smell while in operation.

PowerMate Px P018-0084SP is a high-quality oil that does not evaporate during the hot seasons. Despite its viscosity, it can be poured out easily.


• The oil can make old compressors effective again.
• It helps eliminate the sound when the device is starting
• The compressor does not get affected by cold weather when starting.


• The oil forms sludge
• The oil has a strong smell that does not last for long.

Campbell Hausfeld oil compressor

The oil has a single viscosity, and it is non-detergent oil. It is one of the highest quality air compressor oils in the market. It has a 16oz MP12. It works by preventing valve carbon from building up.

The oil can be used by all models and brands of air compressors available today. The oil can work in severe weather conditions. However, high temperatures than 90 degrees Fahrenheit can cause the oil to ignite. The oil has a life of about 4 hours.


• The oil does not have an unpleasant smell, unlike other oils.
• It prevents the noise from the air compressor.
• It prevents overheating of the device even with long hours of work.
• The oil enhances the durability of the parts as it prevents corrosion which is the main reasons why most parts wear out.


• You should be careful when pouring the oil as it pours quickly.
• Due to its transparency, it is stressful when filling as you have to keep on checking.

Senco PC0344 Air Compressor Oil

The oil is known for its hydrophobicity. The oil contains tar, hydrocarbons, and asphalt that make it corrosion resistance. The oil is quite effective as you require using it once for the entire work.


• The air compressor does not produce any noise.
• It does not change when under very low temperatures.
• There are no leakages with this oil.


• The oil can be affected by varying weather conditions.
• The oil requires regular change as it becomes less effective after a while.


The air compressor is synthetic and can keep your compressor running for a long time. It can withstand very cold temperatures without being sluggish.

It is one of the most affordable air compressor oils in the market. Therefore it is ideal for people with small budgets.


• It is cheap
• Improves the compressor’s efficiency
• Provides excellent pump protection.


• The oil requires to be changed often.

Pro Silent VS-32

The Pro Silent VS-32 is applicable for personal and professional use. It protects the pump making it last for long. It increases the efficiency of old oil compressors and makes them look new again.

The oil offers efficient lubrication and can ignite at high temperatures of about 770 degrees Fahrenheit.

With this oil, you are guaranteed protection against hydrolysis and rust. It has great anti-foam and anti-corrosion properties that make sure all the parts are in good condition.


• It can be used in all weather conditions.
• The compressor can start easily in the first attempt.
• It does not have a smell.


• It is not economical in terms of consumption.
• The oil is very thick, and it becomes a problem when pouring it out.
• It does not seal all the gaps.

PowerMate 018-0060CT

The air compressor oil offers maximum lubrication under low consumption. The oil is safe and does not affect people or the components. It is highly effective and the compressor stops producing noise immediately you apply the oil.

The oil has high viscosity, and it is colorless. The container of this oil has a level indicator that helps you to use the right amount for each application.


• It protects the components from rust.
• It increases the efficiency of the air compressor.
• The air compressor does not change color.


• The oil requires protection from high temperatures as it will evaporate easily.
• Cannot be used in cold places or during the winter.

Porter-Cable PXCM018-0080

The air compressor comes in one gallon. It is synthetic and non-detergent oil compressor. It can be used to increase the performance of an old air compressor. It works immediately after applying.


• It is economical to use
• Faster delivery
• Has no unpleasant smell
• Works fine in all weather conditions.


• It is very dense, and it can be difficult to pour it out.
• The oil is colorless, and it can be difficult to know the level when pouring.
• It can change color if it stays for long without being changed.

Royal Purple 01513

The air compressor color is purple as its name suggests. It is a high performance, highly synthetic oil. It offers maximum lubrication to the various components and protects them from corrosion. The air compressor oil is 32oz.


• It is easy to apply the oil as the viscosity is not high.
• The oil separates from the water, and this makes the air compressor last for a long time.
• The oil is highly durable as you only require to apply small quantities.
• It is compatible with other air compressor oils.


• It is not ideal for all models and brands
• The oil has more liquid properties that can cause spillage.

Although there are different types of compressor oils in the market, PowerMate Px P018-0084SP is one of the greatest air compressor oil that you should have for your compressor. Additionally, it has a high viscosity that protects the components from tear and wears. The oil also contains oxidation inhibitors that make the thermal reliable throughout. Thus, it is one of the highly recommended compressor oils that you should get.

Our Favorite Air Compressor

We strongly recommend you to use the California Air Tools Cat-1P1060S air compressor (our review).

The compressor comes with an Oil-free Piston pump and can produce 1.2 CFM at 90 PSI.

It also comes with a 1-gallon steel tank with a weight of 29lbs. Find out more about the CAT-1P1060S from the review we did here.