Compressor Will Not
     Run Air Tools

If you have an air compressor that will not run air tools properly, you aren't alone. Here is a question and response about this compressor problem.

Question: by tim (cincinnati ohio usa). I have a 30 gallon 2hp Husky.

It powers up fine. The regulator reads 120psi then the motor shuts down. Air comes out of line but is not enough to run air tools. Any idea whats wrong? Bad regulator? Thanks!

My response: Tim, yes, it could be a bad regulator, but I rather suspect that your air compressor is under sized for the air tools you are trying to run.

What are the air tools you are trying to use, and what air flow and pressure do eac need to run properly, please? In order to ensure that your air compressor can run your air tools, you must determine what their requirements are for flow and pressure, and compare that to the output of your air compressor.

Tim comments: Jan 01, 2012 - I bought it at home depot a year ago I believe. I am using the supplied air tools that came with it. The impact used to work perfect now they will not remove a lug nut from a wheel. I bought a new impact thinking that was the problem but still no change. I am not sure of the required air pressure needed to run the air tools. I will check and see what they are. Thanks for the response.

My response: Tim, that the compressor was big enough, and now appears not to be, is important. Yes, something has changed on the compressor if it would run the air tools before and now cannot.

Can we assume that the lug nut you are trying to remove is the same type as you did before, not a sub-compact 14" wheel before and the 6" nut on a tractor trailer wheel now?

To diagnose the regulator function, take it out of the circuit and run air to the tool directly from the tank to see if that makes a difference. That will tell you if the regulator is impeding the flow to the air tool.

Tim comments: Jan 03, 2012 - So I removed the regulator and connected my line directly. Turned it on and air it completely up. Tried several air tools and nothing has full power. My impact says it needs 90psi. So is this think just junk? Thanks for the help!

My response: Tim, you said "The regulator reads 120psi ". If the compressor is putting out 120 PSI, then you have enough pressure to run the air tools.

What has perhaps changed is the discharge flow, then. The air compressor can build pressure to the 120 PSI, but now, due to a change, it cannot put out the same flow of air at the pressure as it did before, and the flow to the air tool decays.

So yes, you have a compressor or air feed problem problem.

Just make sure that your connector fits the coupler correctly, as an incorrect match could degrade air flow. Also make sure nothing is on the air hose. Sometimes we park on them accidentally, and then wonder why no air gets out of the connector at the air tool.

Is your compressor junk? Depends on how much time and money you want to spend on trying to fix it. But first, read the pages on this site about why air compressors run and don't build pressure satisfactorily. The fix may cost less than a new compressor.