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Bostitch Air Compressor Won’t Stay Running – Solutions & Causes

Published Categorized as Air Compressor Won't Keep Running, Bostitch No Comments on Bostitch Air Compressor Won’t Stay Running – Solutions & Causes

A common problem for Bostitch air compressors is them not being able to stay running. Therefore, this article will provide you with all the possible reasons as to why your Bostitch air compressor won’t stay running, along with existing reader questions and responses related to the issue.

Table of Contents

Reasons Bostitch Air Compressor Won’t Stay Running

When an air compressor starts but then doesn’t keep running either before reaching the cut-off pressure set on the pressure switch – or doesn’t restart as it should when pressure drops below the cut-in pressure, it’s likely you’re facing one of the following failure modes.

Identifying the “failure mode” is key to diagnosing and fixing the problem, so let’s start there.

Is your Bostitch air compressor starting but stopping before reaching the cut-off pressure on the pressure switch? If so, take a look at this guide too – as it might help diagnose the issue further.

Here’s a checklist to diagnose the cause of your Bostitch air compressor stopping unexpectedly:

  • Check all the wiring
  • Remove the compressor from the extension cord
  • Inspect capacitors
  • Check for signs of overheating
  • Check for leaks

Check All the Wiring

Check the wiring on the air compressor itself, but also check back to the plug and plug socket. It may sound obvious but try running the compressor using another power socket to rule out issues with the socket wiring. The Air Compressor pressure switch is the centrepiece of the electrical control system, therefore any suspect wiring, fraying or otherwise could easily be the culprit.

If you find damaged or suspect wiring, and ff qualified, (or at least competent!) you can rewire your pressure switch using this guide.

Remove the Compressor From the Extension Cord

If you’re using an extension cord, this could easily be the reason why your Bostitch air compressor won’t stay running. The reasons why you should avoid using extension cords to power your air compressor are covered in detail in my guide here. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is made to handle the power demands of your air compressor (that’s typically the issue – the compressor overloads the extension cord).

Inspect Run Capacitors

Check the run capacitor using this guide. If the air compressor is stopping after initially running (after the start capacitor gets the compressor going) the run capacitor could be the culprit. If the run capacitor is failing, causing the motor to shut off, you will likely need to replace the run capacitor – but this could also be an indicator that the motor is coming to the end of its useful life.

Check for Signs of Overheating

Check for signs of the air compressor motor overheating, meaning that the thermal overload is tripping and the compressor is shut down to protect the motor, allowing it time to cool down. Visit our Air Compressor Thermal Overload Reset Button Tripping – Solutions & Causes guide for more information!

If you can get the air compressor to start again simply by pressing the “reset button” on the motor, it’s highly likely you have a compressor motor overheating issue. So the guide above will be able to walk you through further diagnosis and problem solving.

Check for Leaks

Check for an air leak, an oil leak, or any broken part for that matter. Depending on the sophistication of your Bostitch air compressor, leaks may trigger some form of safety cut-out. Consult your manual (if you have it) for specific guidance on the safety systems. In the majority of cases, air compressors are relatively unsophisticated, so this is a last ditch attempt to diagnose the problem.

Reader Questions & Responses

Bostitch 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor Won’t Keep Running


I have a Bostitch 6 gal pancake compressor. After plugging it in, I pull the knob out to start building pressure.

It starts but then shuts off in less than 10 seconds. It sometimes restarts, but then runs for only a couple of seconds, then shuts off again.

Bostitch pancake style air compressor
Bostitch pancake style air compressor

Good 20amp power supply. Tank pressure starts at 0 psi. Any ideas? Thanks.


If this were my Bostitch compressor Paul I’d use a multi-meter to check the power on the compressor motor side of the switch after the compressor shuts off, assuming that the tank pressure is below the normal compressor cut out.

If the tank pressure is zero, and the pressure switch is not allowing power to flow through it to the motor circuit, then the pressure switch has tripped off, and, that makes me suspect that the pressure switch itself is the problem.

If not, then check all the wiring connections carefully as a loose wire could be causing this.

Last, if the motor has a capacitor, see the page on this site about how to test them. Yes, you’ll need a multi-meter to do so.

Could you check it out, and let us know via a comment if that was the problem?

Bostitch CWC200ST 3hp 4 Gallon Air Compressor Won’t Stay Running


CWC200ST 3hp 4gal. twin tank. The compressor is plugged into a power pole on a 20 amp breaker, no extension cord is in use.

BOSTITCH CWC200ST air compressor
BOSTITCH CWC200ST air compressor

With the tank empty turn the compressor on, it will reach about 30 psi and then will throw the reset. Wait a couple of minutes to push reset and it will them pressure up to around 60 psi and throw the reset again. Does this again at around 90 psi and then finally reaches 125 or 130 psi at normal shutoff.

I have checked and adjusted the pressure switch, checked the pressure relief valve, and checked the valve that allows air into the tank.

I don’t know what to do. It should not be the capacitors or pressure switch as it starts fine, and the pressure switch also shuts it off around 130 psi.

I started to bypass the reset but did not want to ruin something else. This has been in the shop twice and they say they can’t find what’s wrong. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks, Tommy


Tommy, if the start/run capacitor on your is weak, that could account for the compressor issues you are facing.

The start/run cap builds a bit of a charge which is used to get the motor going, but the motor lacks the power supply needed to keep going against a building pressure, the motor overheats as it’s struggling, and as a result, it kicks off the compressor motor thermal reset.

See the page about checking your caps on this site, and see if that is the problem, won’t you? Then add a comment if you still need some help.

If you have any questions regarding Bostitch air compressors not staying running, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!

By Aidan Weeks

A passionate Mechanical Engineer with endless enthusiasm for fluid power - building off the back of over 18 years of high quality contribution and discussion stimulated by Bill Wade here at About Air Compressors. With both practical and theoretical experience in pneumatics and hydraulics, I'm putting my knowledge to work - and working my grey-matter through my research, assistance and publishing work here at About Air Compressors. Feel free to reach out any time! P.S. A HUGE shout out to Doug who really offers such great value to all visitors to About Air Compressors - once again, feeling like I'm standing on the shoulders of GIANTS by getting to work alongside such a great community

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