Tips for Maintaining Your Air Compressor

By Russell Warner | September 28, 2010

Portable air compressors are very rugged machines and can handle rigorous environments. However, like a vehicle or off-road construction equipment, care and maintenance need to be taken seriously. The costs of preventive maintenance will more than pay for itself in jobsite safety and longer life of the air compressor if a routine maintenance schedule is developed and followed.

Every day, take 10 minutes before starting work to ensure the compressor is in tip-top shape. Your checklist for daily maintenance should include:

  • A general walk-around, checking for leaks
  • Checking the engine oil and the compressor oil sight glass on the separator tank
  • Monitoring the level of radiator coolant
  • Checking to ensure all gauges and lamps are in working order
  • Checking the air cleaner service indicators and fuel/water separator drain
  • Draining any water that has collected from the fuel filters

There are a few extra checks that should be added to the above on a weekly basis:

  • Inspecting fan belts and alternator belts
  • Inspecting the battery connections for minimal corrosion on the terminals
  • Checking the tires on wheel-mounted units

Every month do a full inspection of the air compressor. Check to ensure that the hoses are not fraying, and the automatic shutdown system and the air cleaner system are in working order. The exterior of the compressor oil cooler and the engine radiator/oil cooler should be clean and in good working order.

Check the tires and the lug nuts before and after transporting the air compressor. Although most portable air compressors are designed for 65 mph, it is recommended to check the VIN decal to verify tire size and pressure. Re-torque the lug nuts to assure they meet manufacturer recommendations.

At a minimum of 500 hours, all filters should be replaced. If the air compressor is working in a dirty environment, the filters should be checked daily and replaced when necessary. Other 500-hour maintenance points include inspecting the fasteners and guards, as well as replacing the fuel/water filter element and compressor oil filters, which will increase efficiency and save fuel.

Russell Warner is product marketing manager, small air compressors for Doosan Infracore Portable Power, Statesville, NC.