Air Compressor Oil vs. Engine Oil: What’s the Difference?

Air Compressor Oil vs. Engine Oil: What’s the Difference?
Air Compressor Oil vs. Engine Oil: What’s the Difference?

Air Compressor Oil vs. Engine Oil

As you probably already know, an air compressor is extremely useful and versatile too that serves a wide variety of uses and purposes. It’s great for inflating your tires, running a wide range of air tools, using for spray painting, cleaning your driveway, and much more. Because they are a specialized piece of pneumatic machinery, they require special forms of maintenance and fluids for operation, one of those being oil. However, there are distinct differences between the oil you’ll find in your car (engine oil) and the special air compressor oil that’s used for, well, air compressors.

Have you ever been unsure about how air compressor oil is produced? As mentioned above, every oil is different, and there are distinct differences between air compressor oil and engine oil. While most common engine oils and air compressor oils are made using mineral oil base stocks (a purified version of what is called “crude oil”), they are still different in their own ways.

In order for these oils to withstand the extremely high temperatures involved in air compressors and engine operations, several processes are taken such as evaporation, desalting, solvent extracting, and more in order to make these oils high-performing in high temperatures.

To help you understand the differences, let’s take a look at what makes these two oil types unique in their own special ways.

What is air compressor oil?

The majority of the time, air compressor oil is a type of synthetic oil that is free of any of the detergents that you’d commonly find in traditional motor oil. Because it’s made especially for the air compressor machine, air compressor oil is designed to lubricate ball bearings found in the air compressor. It also helps with reducing the risk of carbon depositing in the compressor itself.

What is engine oil?

Because motors vary widely, motor oil tends to vary in form as well, being available in both synthetic and organic forms. As you may already know, it is used in the engines of vehicles to lubricate the hot and grinding metal components. One key difference between motor oil and compressor oil is that motor oil usually contains some added substances that work to protect the engine by preventing the motor oil from wearing out or otherwise deteriorating in extremely high temperatures.

Can I use motor oil in my air compressor?

While it is indeed possible to use traditional engine oil in certain air compressor machines, it’s not recommended in most cases. Furthermore, it is also advised to not use air compressor oil in motor vehicles since the oil is not designed to withstand extremely high temperatures found in engines while running.

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