For an air compressor to work correctly, it needs oil to help lubricate and cool the moving parts, as well as to create a tighter seal in certain areas. Just like the oil in your car, air compressor lubricants need to be topped up and changed periodically to remove impurities and keep the device’s components moving smoothly. But exactly how often you should change your oil depends on the type of air compressor you have.

Rotary Screw

A rotary screw compressor uses two interlocked screws to compress gas. It is often favored in high-volume applications because the continuous motion of the screws means there is little fluctuation in the air pressure produced. A rotary screw compressor should have its oil changed roughly every 7000 to 8000 hours it is in use.


Air CompressorA reciprocating air compressor, also called a piston air compressor, uses pistons driven by a crankshaft to compress air in multiple cylinders. In this case, the ideal oil change schedule is once every three months, based on frequency of use. The pistons experience significant friction with each stroke, so keeping this machine well-oiled is key to prevent it from seizing up.

Follow the Directions

While these rules of thumb are generally effective for keeping your equipment in working order, every air compressor is different. Most should come with a manual detailing the care and operation of your particular model. Check the manual for oil change instructions specific to your equipment for the best results.


Industrial Compressor Supplies in Maryland Heights, MO, is a worldwide supplier of air compressor supplies and parts. Operating 24/7 and with 25 years of experience, they offer unparalleled access to a wide array of accessories, lubricants, and spare parts for all major brands. For help keeping your air compressor running, call (877) 426-3131 or send a message online.