How To Change Air Compressor Oil?

Has your compressor started making weird noises lately? Is your air compressor facing fluctuations? As terrible as it sounds, most compressor owners tend to forget its maintenance as it is far easier to neglect until something concerning starts happening. So, it is important to know how to change air compressor oil, if you have one at home.

How To Change Air Compressor Oil

When it comes to changing oil, it is relatively easier on most contractor-based air compressors than on most trucks or cars. The compressors that are commonly equipped in most garages or workshops have more than 10 gallons of compressed air (have a look at the best 20 gallons air compressors). In this blog, we’ll be focusing on such air compressors to change the air compressor oil.

Changing Air Compressor Oil

Changing oil within the air compressor is quite easy and affordable when you do it at home. Just follow the steps below to change air compressor oil:

Steps to change the Air Compressor Oil

1. Gather your tools

It is recommended to gather all your tools before starting the process. These tools include cleaning rags, oil funnel, wrench, drain pan or other container for excreting existing oil, and compressor oil with almost 20 level viscosity.

2. Prepping the Air Compressor

As we’ve compiled this blog for beginners, try making sure that your compressor uses oil. As some advanced compressors don’t even need oil to get through and they’re known as oil-less compressors.

After ensuring that your compressor needs oil to operate, try going through the manual to know the recommended oil range as per the instructions. It is important to have half a litre with you so you don’t run out. Most air compressors don’t need more than ¼ litre for oil change.

3. Measuring Oil level

Measuring Oil level

After that you have to find the oil filling nozzle of the compressor. By unplugging, you get to see the sight glass. It is important to make sure that you measure the existing oil residing in it. The oil level should be over the glass indicated by a red dot.  

4. Warming up the Compressor

Before doing any of the work, try running the competition for about two minutes. This step is necessary for melting any existing oil, helping with the removal that may settle at the bottom.  

5. Drain Out Any Existing Oil

Keep the drain pan or any container under the opening of the drain. There isn’t always a fixed location for drains within every compressor model but it is mostly at the bottom. You’ll find oil along with its contaminants rolling down, gathering in the pan. Also have a look at how to drain out an air compressor.

Drain out any existing oil

In this step, you should also note the color of oil draining out of the compressor. If you find it milky or there is a change in viscosity then it means it’s time for a fix.

6. Replacing Drain Plug

When you’re opting for maintenance, you need to replace the plugs as when it is misshapen. Wipe the plug and its opening with a cleaning rag soaked and dried with just water. After that, you can replace it with a new plug and adjust it according to the manual.

If you are unaware of the instructions or can’t find the manual, then just give it a twist and avoid over-tightening it.    

7. Adding New Compressor Oil

Now, it is time to remove the oil filling cap and pour down just the right amount until you see it reaching the red dot. You can also use the sight glass to make sure it is filled up to the correct level. Finally, you can replace the cap and you’re free to operate the compressor.    


Is it possible to mix regular and synthetic oil?

We know how expensive an oil change can be if you pursue professionals for the job, as they use special oils and tools. However, if you are doing it at home then you can always mix the two oils for more stability. The only deviating factor in this matter is the detergent as usually non-detergent oils are good for the machine.

Can we use SAE 30 for oil change in the air compressor?

No, you can’t simply use SAE 30 oil for your air compressor as it may contain detergent on some levels. Most manufacturers suggest using any synthetic blend ranging to 20W or natural oils without detergents.


We know how daunting it is when you can’t start your air compressor or face fluctuations in between your work. But it might be needing some upgrades and maintenance that most of the operators tend to overlook. The basic steps of the maintenance is to change the oil so that the machine can run smoothly.

It is highly recommended to increase the durability and boost all your routine work. Most manufacturers suggest doing the complete process at least once every year. If you follow the entire process systematically, it’ll be highly fruitful for future usage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *