How To Fix An Air Compressor – SOLVED!

Fixing an air compressor is not a tough job to do. Porter-Cable, Bostitch, Craftsman, Dewalt, Senco, Viair, and similar popular air compressors these days include 3 key components. They are the pump, the tank, and the regulator that cycles the pump periodically for keeping up the steady pressure. The pump or the regulator could fail in situations when a compressor fails to build and maintain the pressure.

Another possible failure occurs to the pump or the tank due to worn sealing. It may cause them to lose pressure. It may seem an electrical problem to you, but the underlying mechanical issues must be fixed. You have to understand the interrelations between mechanical and electrical problems.

Now, how to fix an air compressor? Let’s have a look at the following to know more.

The Interrelations Between Mechanical and Electrical Problems

Not all the electrical problems are the aftermaths of electrical component failures. Take the repeated tripping of the circuit breaker for instance. It’s not always caused by electrical failure even if it’s possible. The motor can be made to work harder than usual, and the run capacitor may be overheated by a loosened drive belt. It can well cause breaker tripping.

Moreover, inadequate lubrication of the motor or a damaged pump seal may overheat the capacitor as well. And the capacitor may blow up out of nowhere even without any defect.

Compressor Fails To Switch On

When you fail to switch on the compressor, you should check if there’s any loose connection in the power cords, first thing. Check the power receptacle followed by. If no power is there, search if the circuit has a GFI receptacle or a tripped breaker. If you notice a repeated GFI or breaker trips, or the compressor fails to operate in the presence of power, the possible cause might be in the compressor itself.

Step 1

Check the start and run capacitor. If one of them or both are melted partially or blackened, you have to replace them. The manual is needed to locate the components. It’ll also help you to determine their removal and replacement process. If you don’t have a manual, you can search online with the manufacturer name and model number of the compressor to get one. Remember to put the word ‘manual’ in your search.

Step 2

Check if there’s any leak in the tank, hose or your tool. You can hear hissy sounds if there’s any. Spraying soapy water is another option. The bubbles denote there are leaks. If you manage to locate any leak, repair it. It can be done by tightening the loose fittings or sealing the tool or hose tightly.

Step 3

Turn off your compressor and loose the belt. Ensure it’s free-spinning turning the motor. If you detect jam, disassembling the motor would be best for the repair.

Step 4

Inspect the tension of the belt. It’s likely that you’ll fail to laterally move it more than the width of a finger. Make tension adjustments, or belt replacement if the tightening seems hard to you or it’s worn.

The Compressor Doesn’t Maintain The Expected Pressure

It’s necessary for an air compressor to pass the amount of pressure you desire. It’ll interfere with your work if the pressure is too little or too much. Too little pressure causes leak troubles, although it’s also possible due to improper adjustments or regulator malfunction, un-loader valve or pressure limiter.

When the compressor won’t switch off and delivers pressure too much, the problem is with the switch almost always.

How To Fix An Air Compressor Pressure Regulator

Adjusting The Pressure

You’ll notice an outlet that sits just before the compressor’s quick connect. The regulator can be noticed on that outlet. A clockwise turn increases the pressure, and a counterclockwise turn does the opposite. Some compressors have limiter screws. The screws are found usually under the cover on the tank top. 2 brass screws should be seen when you remove the cover.

While cut-in pressure is controlled by one, cut-out pressure is controlled by the other. Determine which does what looking up your manual. A clockwise turn of the screw increases the pressure, and it’s decreased by an anticlockwise turn.

Lower Pressure and Louder Noise

Quite naturally, the parts loosen up and wear with the aging of the inflator. It then tends to take longer than usual for the pressure building. The worn pump seals indicate the need for replacements. It’s a good indication since you become aware of possible improvements your compressor requires.

If you want to do it yourself, its usefulness will depend on how skilled you are mechanically. It’s recommended to repair the air compressor in a service workshop rather than repairing it yourself.

Bad Unloading Valve

An unload-er valve comes inbuilt within the pressure switch. In the occurrence of its malfunction, the compressor gets stalled even if it starts up. It occurs when the valve doesn’t release the residual pressure properly after the completion of the charging process. Replacing the entire assembly of the switch may be the best possible solution to this problem.

Fix Air Compressor

Presence of Water Between The Air Lines

Sometimes, when the air gets compressed, you may notice some moisture that starts to condense and gather inside the compressor tank and also in between the air-lines. Many issues may happen due to the presence of water between the air-lines. Messed up painting jobs and tools freezing up during cold atmosphere are among those annoying scenarios that may happen. Look for the drain plug your compressor tank has.

Every compressor comes with a drain plug, and yours should have one as well. You must remove it every time after you use the compressor. Removing it helps release the jammed water. When the weather is humid or cold, water particularly becomes a big problem. I recommend installing a water refiner on the channel port before you hook up the hose.

Pick Precise Parts For Particular Jobs

All I’ve mentioned in the segments above are quick and easy fixes addressing the most commonly encountered problems of air compressors. Some of the fixes may require several parts replacements such as gauge, valve, solenoid, or tubing.

Those are the ways to fix or repair air compressors on your own. Now you know how to fix an air compressor. If you face any other problem regarding this issue then please feel free to leave a comment.

If you are looking for the best portable air compressor for your vehicle tires then do not worry, we listed down the best ones among them.

Stay tuned to know more about automotive and gears at thegrabbable.com. Ride Safe!


4.6/5 - (16 votes)
Henry Smith

Smith is passionate regarding all matters about automotive and prefers to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all sorts of automotive accessories. Before joining The Grabbable, he spent the better part of two decades as an automotive writer, reporter, and editor for various publications.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Max Jones - October 27, 2021

Thanks for the info about compressors. A friend of mine is interested in compressors. I’ll share this info about compressors with my friend.

Kenneth Jenson - February 15, 2022

I have got more information how to fix maniacal and electrical problems in my compressor. Thanks for sharing your valuable article


Leave a Reply: