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This article will answer the question commonly asked question on what happens when an air compressor runs out of oil, along with related FAQs.

Table of Contents

What Happens if an Air Compressor Runs Out of Oil?

Oil lubrication is required by an air compressor the same as a car engine, to minimize the friction of moving parts. If an air compressor runs out of oil, it will produce significant heat due to friction and parts will start to expand, before finally seizing the compressor. In compressors, there is a crankcase that is always filled with lubricant.

Of course, not all air compressors use oil, some are oilless. For more information visit our Oilless Air Compressors vs. Oil Compressors guide!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the effect on compressor if there is no lubricant oil in oil sump?

If there is no lubricant oil in the oil sump of an air compressor then the internal parts that require lubrication will begin to rub against each other. This will result in friction and premature wear of not only the components but the overall air compressor.

What does the oil do in an air compressor?

The oil in an air compressor acts as a lubricant, to stop internal parts from rubbing against each other, causing friction and overheating. The oil helps to maintain the internal mechanisms of an air compressor and ensures that the compressor is able to run at its optimum efficiency.

What happens when you run an air compressor without oil?

When your air compressor runs without oil, the internal mechanisms that rely on the lubrication will begin to rub against one another, resulting in friction, high temperatures, and the eventual seizure of the compressor.

Additional oil reading:


If you have any questions regarding an air compressor running out of oil, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!