What happens when you don't change your oil in your Air Compressor?
Are you changing your Oil in your Compressor?
As the oil moves through your air compressor, it also picks up dirt and other small pieces of debris. While this helps to keep the motor safe of these pollutants, over time the oil gets too dirty to be effective. This is why the oil has to be changed to ensure your machine is not running those pollutants back through.
What does the oil do in your compressor?
The oil in your air compressor works hard to keep your machine running smoothly. Lubricant is pulled from the sump and processed through the oil cooler to reduce the inlet temperature of the oil before being injected into the compressor air end. It then passes through the oil filter to remove impurities from the oil.
The lubricant is injected into the air end which helps:
- lubricate the bearings (and gears if applicable)
- seals between the rotors to prevent the metal-on-metal contact
- keeps the temperature within an acceptable range
It is then delivered through an air-oil separator to remove the oil from the air stream and store it back in the sump to be repeated all over again. Now imagine if you NEVER changed your oil!
What happens when you don't change your oil?
Dirt will collect in the lubricant the more it is ran through the compressor. The filter will remove the dirt for a while, but eventually the filter will clog and the dirty oil will automatically bypass the filter through a relief valve. Dirty oil is thick and abrasive, so it causes much more wear in your compressor and the parts it touches.
Additives in the oil like detergents, dispersants, rust-inhibitors and friction reducers will wear out, so the oil won't lubricate as well as it should. Eventually, as the oil gets dirtier and dirtier, it will stop lubricating and the motor will quickly wear and fail.
Eventually, if the oil is not changed, the compressor element will fail and shut down. This repair can cost thousands of dollars, and many people who have to do this decide to scrap the compressor rather than pay for the new compressor element. In addition, when submitting a warranty claim an oil analysis will be performed to help figure out why the motor failed.
Change your Oil!
While the above problems can be scary, there is good news! Regular preventative maintenance on your air compressor, including an oil change, is one of the least expensive maintenance items available and will save you a BIG headache later on.
Below is an example of an oil analysis performed on a compressor that missed their routine oil changes. Learn from their costly mistake.
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