Tips When Buying Portable Air Compressors
One of the worst experiences during driving is realizing you have a flat tire. Making matters worse is seeing your spare is bad as well. In times like these, nothing would be better than having a portable air compressor packed in your car. This lifesaver can get you out of sticky situations in no time. Here are a few things to consider when buying one for your car.
There are two main factors to look for regarding compressor performance: voltage and pressure. Pick a pump that can satisfy both these needs.
- Voltage: Most portable compressors run on 12 volts or 120 volts. The difference between the two is that the 120 volt pump can be plugged on wall sockets, while the 12 volt is limited to your car's cigarette lighter plug. A common complaint on the 12 volt compressor is its weakness. If you still go with this, make sure you pick a high-quality unit from a trusted brand.
- Pressure: Compressors should be powerful enough to inflate your tires. As a general rule, bigger tires need stronger pumps. You also want a powerful unit that will take the least time to pump your tires. At times, it is advisable to buy a pump a little stronger than the one recommended for your car just to be sure that it is inflated.
What sets different portable compressors apart from each other are the practical advantages it has. These details can play a big role in helping you decide the perfect pump for you.
- Size: There's no point calling it portable if your pump is as big as your spare tire. Smaller is better. Make sure that power and pressure is not sacrificed for the pump's size.
- Accessories: Look for an all-around pump. It should have other ends and attachments to inflate items such as balls, floaters, and other toys.
- Noise: Using the pump shouldn't sound like standing beside a jet engine. Pick a unit that runs as quiet as possible. You want a compressor that blows your tires; not your ears.
- Cord length: The power cord and air hose should be long enough to reach all your car's tires. It's better to move the pump around than removing the wheels to bring it to a short-reaching compressor.
- Heating: Like any other motor, overheating is an issue. Make sure your compressor can properly manage heat especially during extended use.
Portable Air Compressor Maintenance
One of the most handy and convenient tools to have in your car is a portable air compressor. This little pump spares you visits to the gas station, or saves you when your tires deflate in the middle of a trip. Just like any other tools, this device needs regular maintenance. Here are some things to do on your routine air compressor check.
Difficulty level: Easy
- Compressor oil
- Air filter
- Power cord
- Air hose
- Teflon tape
Step 1: Inspect the electric cord of the air compressor. Fully unwind it to straighten and remove any bends. Make sure there are no cracks, splits, or any other damage to the cord. Replace it if necessary. If you are happy with its condition, plug it to a power source.
Step 2: Place the compressor on a flat surface. Listen carefully for unusual noises. Odd sounds are a sign of something wrong. If the compressor suddenly creates smoke, or catches on fire, immediately unplug it from the power source! Throw it away and buy a replacement.
Step 3: If your compressor is still alive by this point, let it run for a while to build pressure. Ensure that the check valve works, fasteners are in, and there are minimal leaks.
Step 4: The compressor's oil, and air filter, needs replacement every 500 hours of usage. Turn off the pump first and unplug it after. Disassemble the unit to reach the parts needed to replace. While the insides are exposed, now would also be a good time to drain out any of the water buildup inside. Any excess water can damage the electrical parts of the compressor.
Step 5: Check the condition of the air hose. Patch any holes where air might leak out. If it appears too busted, do away with it and replace the hose with a new one.
Step 6: You may want to put Teflon tape on the air inlet connection to prevent it from falling off the unit during use. First, unscrew the hose from the unit. Lay layers of tape over the threads of the male screw. Return the screw afterwards.
Step 7: A good way of extending the life of the hose of your air compressor is to wind both power cord and air hose after use. This will keep both lines protected and secure when not in use.