Signs Your Compressor Needs Repair

If compressed air is a crucial aspect of your day-to-day business operations, and lost production would be the outcome or cost of considerable downtime, then you need to know the signs that your compressor needs repair. 

Industrial air compressors are an inherent part of several production industries. They are primarily used for producing compressed air for actuators, pneumatic tools, conveyors, grippers, and spray systems. Therefore, it is not uncommon for air compressors to operate 24×7. 

Preventing severe air compressor problems by handling issues as soon as they are detected is the best way to avoid unnecessary delays, expensive services, and lost revenue. 

This post covers some warning signs that indicate your air compressor needs thorough inspection and repairs. 

Excess Oil in the Air 

Too much oil in the air indicates an issue with the oil separator. The oil separator may require emptying or replacement from time to time. 

Another issue related to this involves blockages within the oil scavenge line. The best way to fix this problem is to remove and blow out the scavenge line. Look at the oil check valve to ensure it has zero problems. 

Metal Deposits or Milky-Looking Oil in Oil Analysis 

This is usually the outcome of metal carrion from bearings, pipes, rings, or any metal part within the air compressor. It is also an indication of restricted air ventilation. 

Blown/Tripped Fuses due to Power and Electrical Motor Issues 

Fuses can blow out, and breakers trip when something happens and your industrial premises’ electrical system is overloaded. When these events occur, the air compressor is rendered nonfunctional. It stays that way until the breaker is reset or the fuse is replaced promptly. 

If the fuse keeps blowing or the breaker keeps tripping, get an experienced electrician to look at the electrical circuit. If the electrical circuit is in excellent condition, another issue may be responsible for tripping off the breaker or blowing off the fuse. 

An air compressor can also trip a circuit breaker at startup. If this happens, it indicates that air is trapped over the pistons, which usually arise from a faulty unloader valve. 

A worn starter capacitor can also dim lights when the compressor is started. More severe damages will occur if you ignore these signs. Therefore, get a technician to check them all out. 

Excessive Odd Noises 

Everyone knows that air compressors can be loud during operation. The noise is usually continuous at a relatively consistent volume and pitch. 

But if the compressor suddenly starts sounding louder or gives odd noises – like humming, rattling, screeching, etc. – something may be wrong with the motor or compressor. It may also indicate a broken or loose component within the compressor that requires replacement. 

Worn Compressor Parts 

Some parts or components in an air compressor will eventually wear out over time. This becomes noticeable when they no longer perform as effectively or efficiently as they should or fail to carry out vital functions. 

For instance, seals wear out quickly and allow pressurized air to come through. Several components within an air compressor system can suddenly go bad.  

This is why proper maintenance is crucial, as it helps extend the life of these components. It also gives rise to early detection of parts that need immediate replacement in order to avoid colossal damage that may lead to downtimes and lost production. 

Fortunately, you can easily replace most of the bad components within an air compressor system. Experts can help you switch out components such as seals, valves, diaphragms, and gaskets for newer options. 

Air Leaks 

Air leaks remain one of the most frequent issues with industrial air compressors. This is one of the reasons many facilities do everything to ensure, check for, and prevent this occurrence. The facilities also implement regular checks for air leaks. 

Air leaks are usually one of the culprits behind compressor failure. At times, a compressor may restart automatically in order to heal with the unexpected pressure drop, or you will immediately lose a full tank of compressed air as soon as you deactivate the compressor. However, these practices cannot prevent air leaks from occurring. 

Air leaks from connectors can easily be fixed by tightening the connector. If it is detected that some valves cause air leaks, they can be replaced as soon as possible. 

It is also vital to check tubes, pipes, or hoses in order to ensure they do not have problematic leaks. 

The Compressor Keeps Running Non-stop 

An air compressor that keeps running and refuses to stop may result from a faulty pressure or switch release valve. In an ideal state, the compressor stops running when tank pressure reaches a cutoff point. 

However, a bad pressure or switch release valve will not release this pressure. This makes the tank somewhat too pressurized for the compressor motor to stop running ultimately. 

A bad pressure switch can never signal the internal controls that the pressure is now at the right level. This prevents the internal controls from knowing precisely when to shut off.  

 A replacement is the best way to fix this issue, and the air compressor will be back to normal. 

Full Tank at All Times 

Industrial air compressors need to be emptied every day when the workday is over. However, if this crucial aspect is neglected or ignored and the tank remains full at all times, it may lead to rust or other essential forms of corrosion. 

Moreover, frigid weather conditions can also cause full tanks to freeze. This warps the tank and results in leaks. 

Check to see if the compressor tank has been full for much more than a single workday. If it has, you should immediately empty the reservoir. Then get in touch with a maintenance specialist to determine if any damage has occurred. 

Consistent Thermal Overload 

An air compressor can shut down when there is frequent thermal overload. When this happens, check around the compressor for proper ventilation. The coolers may be unclean and require a thorough cleaning. 

Consult the technician if the event repeats itself after you reset the thermal overload. If you also notice that the air compressor overheats within a few hours, it may require servicing. 


Air compressors are not designed to live forever. At one time or the other, some signs that your compressor needs a check over or repair arise. If you do not recognize these signs and do the needful, you may end up with a severely damaged machine, downtime, lost production, and lost revenue. 

Therefore, look out for these vital signs. Ensure your personnel is also aware and capable of recognizing and dealing with such signs as soon as they arise, and your air compressor will serve you for a long time to come. 

Contact Samco today!