Spare Parts for Efficient Operation of Reciprocating Gas Compressors

Maintenance Tips for Engine Parts in Reciprocating Compressors

Nearly every machine you see today is nothing more than assortments of several moving components. Any device with moving parts requires regular maintenance to ensure it continues performing optimally on a daily basis. The same is true when it comes to reciprocating compressors.

The maintenance and repair of reciprocating compressors generally involve checking and replacing faulty components. This article highlights some maintenance tips for engine parts in piston or reciprocating compressors.

Reciprocating Compressor: Maintenance and Repair

Reciprocating compressors are used extensively across a wide range of industries – such as gas, chemical, and petrochemical – worldwide. However, these machines will not function optimally unless a carefully drafted and implemented maintenance plan is in place. 

When you perform regular maintenance or checks on machines, it ensures their longevity, performance, and prevents costly downtimes due to annoying breakdowns.

Different organizations have unique ways of maintaining their reciprocating compressors. A few use advanced predictive maintenance schedules or programs fueled by the non-stop monitoring of the compressor components. Advanced maintenance approaches make it easier to quickly detect or predict failures of components before they even occur.

But companies who don’t have access to advanced predictive maintenance programs can still carry out some procedures that ensure the optimal performance of their compressors.

Here are a few of these maintenance procedures you should consider if you are in this category:

  • Lubricant Checks

Every machine has several moving components, and the reciprocating compressor is no different. These moving components make compressors function optimally, day in and day out.

Therefore, checking lubricants is part of maintenance procedures. In addition, all machines should be lubricated in order to minimize friction and protect moving compressor components from wear and tear.

Ensure the lubricant is clean; if it isn’t, change it immediately. The compressor manufacturer should have a guideline you should follow for checking the quality of the lubricant after a specific period of using the reciprocating compressor. So, stick to that guideline, and ensure you only use recommended lubricant for your compressor.

  • Filter Changes

Changing the filters and separators of your compressor from time to time is a crucial maintenance practice. Experts highly recommend checking and replacing your machine’s filters every 2,000 hours.

This is important as it helps prevent oil from contamination by dirt and debris. However, this could severely damage several components in the compressor and result in unplanned downtime.

If you operate your reciprocating compressor in a dusty area, check and change the filters more often.

  • Temperature Control

It is always crucial to control the temperature of the area in which your machines operate. Since your compressor functions due to the continuous movements of several components, heat generation is something you can’t do without.

However, you should have no issues when there is sufficient clearance for unhindered airflow around and in the reciprocating compressor. As a result, your compressor will cool down easily in-between operations and minimize the risks associated with overheating mechanical equipment.

Moreover, sufficient space around your compressor makes it easier for you – or the operator – to move away swiftly if something goes wrong unexpectedly during operations.

  • Check Your Motor Bearings

A reciprocating compressor comes with a motor that powers a crankshaft. The crankshaft is one of the components that make the machine function optimally.

Therefore, ensure you check and lubricate every bearing inside this motor regularly. Use the recommended motor grease to lubricate the bearings, as this helps boost their lifespan.

The grease also cools the bearings and prevents them from premature breakdowns. Avoid over-greasing the motor bearings; do not mix two or three grease types.

  • Enhanced Seals

Most reciprocating compressors can function for years, with only service intervals from time to time. Therefore, check every seal to determine its state and identify those that must be replaced immediately.

Use enhanced, durable seals capable of securing pressure for extended periods. These seals take a long time to degrade, though you should check them occasionally.

Other Crucial Maintenance Tips to Deploy

Some maintenance tips require daily implementation, while others can be done almost every week, quarterly, and even bi-annually.

Daily Maintenance Tips for Your Reciprocating Compressor

  • Check for vibrations and leaks
  • Pour out the water from the receiver tank
  • Check the unit and ensure every safeguard is in place before starting the machine.
  • Check lubricant levels. Top them up if they’re below the gauge’s mid-range.

Weekly Maintenance Tips for Your Compressor

  • Clean the air intake filter
  • Check every air pressure relief valve
  • Examine hoses and the unit for air leaks
  • Ensure the surfaces of the unit and the intercooler are always clean.

Monthly Maintenance Tips for Your Reciprocating Compressor

  • Every 160 hours or monthly, examine the belt’s tension inside your reciprocating compressor.

Quarterly – i.e., Every 3 Months or 500 hours – Maintenance Tips for Your Compressor

  • Examine the screws and nuts to ensure they are torqued properly.
  • Inspect or change the oil filter. Check and change out the compressor’s lubricant.

Bi-annual – i.e., Every 1,000 Hours or 6 Months – Maintenance Tips for Your Reciprocating Compressor

  • Clean out the unit’s crankcase
  • Check every valve for carbon prints or signs of leaks
  • Inspect pressure switch diaphragm and motor-area contact points
  • Examine the oil filter and replace it if necessary. 
  • Change out the lubricant.

Understandably, you may not be able to implement all these maintenance tips. This is why it is essential to partner with a reliable maintenance company to carry out all these maintenance procedures on your reciprocating compressor.

Therefore, search for a reliable service company to ensure your entire system keeps going strong daily. This ensures the success of your business and guarantees the longevity – and optimal performance – of your reciprocating compressor.


Regular maintenance of your reciprocating compressor should be part of your weekly plans. In most cases, compressors work 24/7, which tends to wear out numerous components within the machine.

However, taking these maintenance tips to heart and implementing them prolongs the lifespan of your reciprocating compressor. Ensure you stick to regular maintenance schedules for optimal performance and longevity.