Most ceiling fan manufacturers claim their fans will never require oil. Most of these fans can operate for many years with no added lubrication. However, depending on the life and age of the fan, motors may ultimately require to be oiled whether they are designed for it or not.
Some fans are made with an “oil-bath" lubrication system, designed to be oiled regularly to keep the bearings lubricated. Most motors made these days have “sealed bearings" they are lubricated when manufactured and not designed to require oil. However over time, with dirt and the heat from the motor etc, these sealed bearings eventually get dirty or dry and require to be cleaned and re-lubricated. If your fan is operating fine I wouldnt worry about it. However if it is running slow, the blades do not coast freely by hand, or it makes mechanical noise, it may need oil.
Certain fans, such as Hunter Originals and other older models, are designed to be oiled regularly, and not doing so could result in premature bearing wear. Also, even a fan not designed to be oiled, if the blades turn stiffly or do not coast, and yet the fan still runs properly, the added load on the motor could be causing it to overheat and wear prematurely. Better get some oil.
Visit http://www.ceiling-fans-n-more.com/ceiling-fan-oiling.php for instructions on when and how to oil your ceiling fan.
(c) Dan Neuman 2005
This article by my editor, Dan “Spiffy" Neuman. For more help related to ceiling fans, including troubleshooting, or purchasing a fan, please come visit us at http://www.ceiling-fans-n-more.com