Alternate oil when starting compressor when cold?

by Allen Ganser
(Needham, MA USA)

My Harbor Freight Air Compressor, Model 68740, (8 gal. 2 HP 125 PSI Oil Lube) won't start when it is about 50° - 60° and I have read on your site that this is due to the thickening of the compressor oil and the insufficient motor.


Instead of heating up the compressor would it be possible to use a lighter grade of oil that wouldn't get so thick at those "not so low" temperatures?

If so, please make a recommendation.

I suppose though that a lighter oil would then be a problem once the compressor gets warm (which may not be a problem for me since I use it only occasionally during the day in my shop).

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Oct 13, 2016
Alternate oil when starting compressor when cold?
by: Doug in s.d.ca

Anything is possible, but I doubt the oil thickens enough at that temperature to be the cause.

Have you checked the cap(s) when it's cold?

What does it sound like when it's cold and can't start, as opposed to when it's warmer and does start?

Oct 12, 2016
Alternate compressor oil
by: Bill

Allen, you can try, but I fear that you'll void the warranty if there is one, and, if you do use the compressor for any length of time, the thinner oil may not protect the pump sufficiently.

On the other hand, HF compressors are fairly cheap while insulating and heating a workshop isn't, so if you get a few years life out of using the compressor with a lighter oil, and it runs OK, maybe that's a good trade off?

Good luck.

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