A portable air compressor can take the hassle out of driving to a fuel station every time you need air in your tires. Additionally, by attaching tools such as sprayers or gauges to the output hose, a portable air compressor is able to do more than just fill up a tire. However, just like any power tool, an air compressor can experience problems. Knowing how to troubleshoot any problems that arise with your portable air compressor may allow you to make simple repairs at home.
1. Turn the portable air compressor on by plugging it into an electrical outlet. Inspect the power cord to make sure there are no signs of wear or splits in the power cord, which can occur with age or improper handling. Remove any kinks in the cord by unraveling it all the way. Replace the cord if it is damaged.
2. Make sure the compressor is situated on flat surface. One of the best places to operate a compressor is on a level concrete slab or other hard surface. Failure to operate the unit on a level area will place unneeded stress on some of the compressor’s mechanical parts. Listen for excessive noise, which is usually a clue that the device is not sitting level.
3. Give the air compressor enough time to build up pressure before operating it. The amount of time depends on the power and model of the compressor. If the compressor shuts off without building up enough pressure, the check valve may need to be replaced. Examine the air filter and clean it if it’s dirty. Also look for air leaks, particularly around fittings and the compressor hose. It’s normal for some air pressure to leak out of the compressor over time.
4. Turn the air compressor off immediately if there is smoke or fire coming from the unit. This may mean the oil in the unit is overheating. Allow the compressor to cool down fully if this occurs. Check to ensure that the oil is clean and is at the proper level and viscosity. Consider changing the oil if it has been sitting in the unit for a while. Also, check all gaskets to see if they are leaking oil. The gaskets may need to be tightened or replaced if oil is leaking out heavily.
5. Inspect the air output hose. Make sure there is no excessive oil coming from this location. It is normal for small amounts of oil to leak out, especially if the oil was just changed. However, excessive oil leaks can damage the tools that are attached to the air output hose. Also check for hose damage or blockage caused by debris.
6. Tighten all belts and pulleys that are attached to the air compressor. Check the specifications as listed in the instruction manual. If any mechanical part of the compressor is loose or too tight, the device may not operate correctly.