Compressor Maintenance

Compressor Maintenance Guide

Around 1500, Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch philosopher, coined the popular phrase: ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ Although this phrase bears more relevance in modern health care as well as social and health care strategies all over the world, the manufacturing industry also finds it useful, especially in air compressor maintenance at pressing plants and factories. 

Maintaining your air compressor is a crucial practice that should never be ignored, no matter how busy you are. When your compressor is adequately maintained, it saves you money and time down the road. 

Air compressor maintenance has to do with practices that must be carried out on compressors to varying degrees. Even if you operate multiple compressors, routinely checking critical components of the machines is essential. 

If you fail to inspect your compressor from time to time, you may experience premature failure and very costly repairs.  

Therefore, perform these suggested checks whenever you operate your compressor. This can be the considerable difference between a world of bliss and a world of pain later on. 

Preventative Compressor Maintenance Checks 

The first – and most important – maintenance check has to do with the compressor pump oil level. Never operate your air compressor with an unsuitable lubricant unless the machine is an oil-free model. 

Failure to use lubricants or using unsuitable lubricants to run your operator is on your shoulders. The manufacturers, as well as the company where you purchased the compressor, will not be responsible for your failure to adhere to the instructions to use a good and adequate lubricant. 

Check the Level of the Pump Oil in the Compressor 

Therefore, start by checking the oil level of the compressor. Follow the steps outlined below: 

  • Turn off the compressor unit and disconnect it from its power source in order to prevent electric shocks. 
  • Position the compressor so that it is on a level and flat surface. 
  • Remove its fill cap or plug. 
  • Carefully examine the oil within the crankcase assembly while looking for debris or dirt. 
  • Ensure the oil level does not exceed or go beyond the halfway point of the sight glass. 

Check and Change the Pump Oil in the Compressor 

The next step is to check and change the compressor pump oil, if necessary. If you have been operating the compressor before now, you have to be careful. This is because the compressor’s pump head, as well as all the surrounding components, will be very hot by now. 

Follow these steps to change the pump oil as soon as possible: 

  • Switch off the compressor unit and disconnect it from its power source. 
  • Make sure the unit is carefully positioned on a level and flat surface 
  • Take off the fill cap or plug 
  • Position a collection bowl or container right beneath the oil drain cap 
  • Unscrew the oil drain cap and allow the old oil to drain out. Be patient: this may take a few minutes for the oil to drain out completely. 
  • Replace the oil cap and tighten the nut until it is secure. You can create a much tighter seal if you can get your hands on PTFE or white plumbers tape.  
  • Fill the crankcase with the factory-recommended oil. Do not go beyond the halfway point. 

Examining the Air Filter Element 

This maintenance check is vital for standard reciprocating compressors. This is what you need to do: 

  • Switch off the unit and then disconnect it from the power source 
  • Give the compressor pump enough time to cool off so that you don’t get a burn while trying to check the filter element 
  • Remove the filter top by unscrewing it counter-clockwise in order to detach it from the filter base. 
  • Carefully separate that filter top cover from the filter base. 
  • Take out the filter element from the filter base 
  • Check to see if the element is coated with debris and dust. 
  • Blow out the debris and dust from the element 
  • If it seems the filter element is out of whack, replace it with a brand-new one. 
  • Reattach the filter top to the base, then secure the filter itself. 

That is how to check out the filter element and replace it if necessary. 

General Preventative Compressor Maintenance Schedule 

There are a few preventive measures you need to carry out every day to enhance your air compressor’s overall performance. Some require weekly and monthly maintenance checks. 

The primary goal of this entire exercise is to catch problems at the early stage, nip developing issues in the bud, or prevent the occurrence of problems in the first instance. 

Here are some of the checks you need to perform daily 

  • Check out the pump oil level 
  • Inspect every air leaks 
  • Check for any weird vibrations and noises 
  • Carry out oil leak inspection 
  • Drain water in the compressor tank 
  • Inspect all the belts to ensure they are at optimal levels of tautness. 

You need to carry out only one check every week. This involves checking the air filters and cleaning or replacing them if necessary. 

But here are the checks you need to carry out every month to ensure your air compressor performs optimally at all times: 

  • Check out the safety relief valve 
  • Check all belts and replace the slack ones 
  • Examine all connections for unexpected leaks 
  • Carefully examine and then tighten up all loose bolts. 

There’s another maintenance check you should perform. But this is usually done at least once in 12 months or annually. 

You have to service the compressor pump or engine annually. This sets the air compressor at peak levels, making it perform as expected. 

All these preventive compressor maintenance checks combined help enhance or promote the longevity of the equipment. 

This means minimized downtimes, zero need for costly repairs, and increased production output daily, weekly, and monthly. There will be no need to start searching for a new compressor to replace the old one since what you have is still serving you remarkably well. 


Compressor maintenance is not an easy task. Some types of maintenance can be challenging, depending on the given model or make of the air compressor. 

This is why compressor maintenance is best left in the hands of highly trained and experienced professionals. They know the specific steps to take to ensure your air compressor keeps running with little to zero chances of premature failure. 

Contact Samco today for any questions about Compressor Maintenance.