How to Maintain Your Compressor

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How to maintain your compressor is essential when owing such an expensive tool.  My experience using an air compressor has shown me that they accumulate a ton of dirt and dust over time from being used.

make it routine to constantly check it and perform maintenance procedures. This ensures that it continues to generate air and run my air tools apeak level. 

how to maintain an air compressor
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How to Carry Out Preventive Maintenance 

Regular maintenance on your air compressor can save you a lot of money in the long run. Failure to service it periodically will negatively affect your compressors performance.  

Your Compressor Storage Space 

The cabinet (or storage space) of your compressor needs to be kept clean and free of dirt and debris. Otherwise, these particles could find their way into your compressor. 

Air Compressor Break-In 

An air compressor break-in is a simple process to check that your piston rings are positioned properly and the bearings have sufficient lubrication. Most modern models do not require a break-in process, but, if you have earlier versions, here’s how to do it.  

  1. For an oil-lubed compressor, start by filling up the crankcase with oil. Use your manual to find out about your air compressor's oil change interval, grade, and the right quantity.  
  1. Open the drain valve and then plug in the compressor. You should ensure your outlet’s power capacity can match that of the air compressor to avoid damaging its motor.  
  1. Let the compressor run for at least 20 minutes, then switch it off and close the drain valve.  

Your compressor will now be ready for use after the break-in process.  

Air Compressor Oil Change Interval 

The oil level is a key part of maintenance for your air compressor. If you own an air compressor that relies on oil for lubrication, you should always ensure that the oil level is optimal to support your compressors parts. Failure to adequately lubricate your air compressor can also cause your warranty to be deemed null and void by the manufacturer.  

When inspecting the oil level, first switch it off and disconnect it from the power supply. Place the compressor on a flat surface and uncap the plug. Check the oil level in the crankcase and inspect it closely for any dirt particles or debris. 

When replacing the oil cap, make sure you tighten it securely. You can use white plumber’s tape for an added tighter seal.  

Too Much Oil in My Air Compressor 

Your air compressor oil level should not be more than halfway when you check the sight glass. When I have too much oil in my air compressor, I drain some of it, because excess oil can damage the pneumatic tools and accessories.  

Air Compressor Daily Checklist  

  • Pump oil level 
  • Inspecting for air leaks 
  • Inspecting oil leaks 
  • Draining the water in the tank 
  • Listening for unusual noises and vibrations 
  • Inspecting the belts 

The air filters should be inspected on a weekly basis and changed if necessary. As for the bolts and safety relief valve, you can check them on a monthly basis. Finally, the service pump and engine can be inspected once every year or whenever the compressor has run for at least 200 hours.  

The above compressor preventive maintenance checklist should help ensure that you regularly check your machine to determine that all its sensitive areas are in optimum working condition.  

Tackling the Air Filter Element 

Whenever I want to take a look at the air filter element, I follow a simple series of steps.  

  1. First, I turn off the unit and let it cool.  
  1. Next, I unscrew the filter top and separate the cover from the base.  
  1. From there, I take out the element, clear any dust particles and dirt from it, and replace it if I feel there is a need to. Finally, I reconnect the filter top to the base and ensure I securely tighten it.  

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How Often Should an Air Compressor Be Serviced? 

How to maintain your air compressor includes following the service schedule.  If you are wondering about what affects your compressors servicing schedule, the answer is that it depends on a few different factors.  

Different air compressors will require varying periods of time between regular maintenance checkups. Some attract dirt and contaminants faster than others, but, of course, this also depends on several factors. One is the frequency of use of your air compressor, and another is the kind of tasks your air compressor performs.  

If you're just using it to blow up tires well, it might not see much use and the service interval will be longer between services than if you used it to run an HVLP paint sprayer almost every day.

Do I Need a Filter on My Air Compressor?  

That depends on the type of compressor you own and the working environment it's exposed to. However, air filters are an added preventive measure that limits the dirt particles that find their way into your compressor.  

Although your devices may boast efficient extraction systems, they don’t always get all the particles, and most end up inside the parts of your compressor.  

Saws, drills, and paint sprayers naturally result in high volumes of contaminants. Therefore, just because you may be using your air compressor in contaminant-free areas, there are still environmental factors to consider.  

The average interval between changing out your air filters should be 3,000 hours of use. Based on the frequency of use, this can range from 6-12 months.  

If you work in a low-contaminant environment, doing a regular check-up once every 1.5-2 years should be enough.  

However, these limits should not be fixed. Instead, they ought to change based on how often you use the air compressor and in what kind of environment you use it in.  

How do I Maintain My Oil-Free Air Compressor? 

Thankfully, you can follow all of the above instructions, excluding the details on the pump oil. Form the habit of periodically performing maintenance for your air compressor to ensure it's in top shape.  

How Often Do You Change the Oil in an Air Compressor?  

Your oil levels should be checked daily and the volume refilled accordingly. How often you change your compressor oil depends on how much you use your compressor, what kind of compressor you have and if there are lots of contaminants in your work environment. 

If you find that the oil is dirty or has accumulated grime before the manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule, drain it and refill the pump with fresh oil.   Only use the type of oil recommended by the manufacturer. 

Make a note of the amount of hours between oil changes so you have an idea of when you need to do your next oil change.  Regardless of the type of compressor or your work environment, make sure to check and change the oil at least once/year. 

Most modern compressors are now oil free, so if you’re worried about messing around with oil and oil changes, check into the newest models of portable air compressors. 


How to maintain your air compressor is a necessary part of owning such a machine. It will save you a lot of money in repairs in the long run, and you won’t need to buy a replacement. 

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