Maintaining an adequate tire pressure is quite important since it concerns safety. Nowadays we no longer use pumps to maintain the pressure. Instead, we use car compressors — a contemporary pumping device designed for tire inflation. However, today there are a lot of compressors available on the market. Let’s try to consider some of them to see which one is the best.
First of all, pay attention to the warranty since all manufacturers monitor the product quality. To make the right choice, you must have an idea of the device functions.
A good compressor must be efficient, robust, durable, cheap and take up minimum space. However, you hardly ever find a device like that, thus, you’ll have to sacrifice something. For instance, compact compressors are usually inefficient and lack power while a good-quality compressor is never cheap. We recommend you to examine the characteristics of the device as well as additional functions, compare them with your own needs and what’s more important — do not cut corners since quality is what affects long service life of car compressor.
Cheap compressors break down quickly and mostly, are beyond repair. Low price should be a matter of concern. However, needless to pay extra for the high-quality and power device. There are models which combine low price and first-class quality. To choose the latter, first get to know the classification of these devices.
Types of car compressors
The main criterion for the divide of compressors into two large groups is the operation principle. A compressor (derived from Latin “compressio”) is an energy machine or device that increases the pressure (compression) and movement of gaseous substances. You can increase the pressure through the membranes or the piston. That’s why compressors fall into air-pump and diaphragm.
The name itself describes the way the air is generated in the device. This happens due to the piston moving back and forth inside the tube. This compressor has a connecting rod and a shaft. Thus, these are the parts one should pay attention to. Air-pump compressor parts must be made of stainless steel. Otherwise, you only leave money on the table.
An air-pump compressor has a lot of advantages:
However, keep in mind that while using an air-pump compressor you should avoid overheating. Otherwise, the device will break down. Repair will cost you a fortune (if possible).
The most robust air-pump compressors are those with a connecting rod of metal attached to a metal shaft of electric motor and with no plastic parts. Such compressors are more resistant to wear and have greater resource that positively affects the service life.
Drivers also recommend compressors with a teflon ring on the piston. A life cycle of these compressors is quite long, and during the service life a device itself won’t require any maintenance.
Diaphragm compressors consist of a membrane that moves back and forth. The membrane is made of rubber, and that’s one of the key advantages. The thing is that if it wears out, you can easily replace it, moreover, it won’t be expensive. Thanks to it, diaphragm compressors seldom break down and have a long service life. However, if we compare the power capacity of both compressors, we will see that the diaphragm come short of the air-pump. Though some people believe that 3-4 psi is enough for a diaphragm pump and thus, for off-roaders also. However, at low temperatures using this type of compressor is impossible. You may use it only at the heated garage. On the highway, when the weather is bad such compressor will be absolutely useless.
Components of the compressor
The main parts of the compressor are the body, engine (electric), manometer and cylinder.
The body must be made of metal (though the legs of the device may be of plastic). The engine operates thanks to either a built-in battery or power supply. A manometer may be either mechanical or digital. If it is mechanical, the data won’t be precise since an arrow constantly vibrates. The arrow stops within a certain period of time, i.e. arrow stop pending time is improper. Mechanical manometers unlike digital ones have higher error values. To see what type of manometer you have, consult the product certificate.
Manometers with two scales (which show the values both in arms and psi) are quite easy to use. However, if a scale has only the latter, keep in mind that one arm is equal to 14 psi.
A car compressor engine may feed from a cigarette lighter (at the average power), car battery (if the power is higher) or just a plain battery (suitable only for small cars). A combi version of power supply is also available. However, a wire must be long enough (no less than 3 m) to avoid lengthening. If a pump operates from a cigarette lighter, current rate figure of the latter must be higher than that of the cig fuse.
A car compressor may include a receiver — a device which helps to accumulate air. Well-known pump manufacturers offer models with a receiver from 3 litres and more. If a compressor is fitted with a receiver, you can use it for tire fitting, aerographics or even to create car pneumatic system.
We recommend you to purchase a compressor with automatic shutdown. When the sensor goes off, you don’t need to control inflation. Another user-friendly function is overheating control in the piston units (that’s quite important for the diaphragm compressors). To avoid breakdown, you’d better choose a device with thermal control. Thus, you will kill two birds with one stone.
Car compressors are good not only for tire inflation. Today many models are fitted with screwed nozzles for inflating the pools, rubber boats, balls, mattresses, cycle tires. If you need to quickly deflate the pool, you may use air exhaust function (however, applicable not for all models). If you often tend to go hunting, fishing or in the country, you may need a torch. The latter will do you good at night when on a highway, particularly, if it has a red filter.
Thus, now you know how to choose a car compressor. However, don’t forget to purchase an international driving permit. Apply here on our website. Don’t waste the chance to see the world with your own eyes!