Repair vs. Replace: how to determine the best way to fix an air compressor issue

Repair vs. Replace: how to determine the best way to fix an air compressor issue
By: Alayna Wilkening, Contributor Last Updated: May 5, 2022

Knowing what to do when an industrial air compressor starts to show its age is a difficult task for any business owner. Whether you’re in the manufacturing, automotive, or food-service industry, maintaining your compressor is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

When you run into trouble with your compressor, there are generally two options: repair or replace. Knowing the difference can save your business hundreds of dollars, whether you decide to repair the broken component or replace the entire unit.

“If we are able to repair the problem on our customers compressor and it is financially less expensive than a new machine we encourage our customers to repair then replace, said Air Specialist Steve Hill.

With recent supply chain issues altering the availability of new compressors, repairing older compressors is often the fastest way to solve a compressor-related problem. Repairing is an especially attractive option because many of the parts needed for repairs can be found in stock at CompressAir, which means customers may be able to get their compressor repaired immediately with minimal inconvenience.

“The supply chain right now is at an ultimate low no matter the industry causing back orders. Getting a new machine take longer than expected. If we can repair a machine that you already have with parts that we have in our stock, we encourage our customers to take that route. We have a huge inventory of repair parts. If it's a part that we have in stock, it would be much easier to repair the compressor than to try to order a new machine because of the supply chain,” said Hill.

It’s also recommended that customers repair their compressors when they are newer, have parts readily available, or if the machine is still under warranty.

If your machine is no longer meeting your needs or is becoming too expensive to fix, it’s time to consider replacing your compressor.

Air compressors can last for decades if properly maintained; however, it may be time to replace them if the compressor is out of date or too small to meet your company’s needs. If a compressor is too old, it can be extremely difficult to find parts to replace on a unit. If your company’s air demand has grown since you bought a compressor in the ‘90s, it also might be time to invest in a replacement.

“We just replaced a customer's compressor that was built sometime in the 1900s. There wasn't anything wrong with the compressor, in fact because they did routine maintenance and took good care of it, it still works. However, their air demand went up so purchasing a new machine was the best route for our customer to go,” said Hill.

As you see, routine compressor maintenance is so important. Keeping up on routine maintenance will help keep your equipment last for decades. If you don’t keep up with routine maintenance however, your machine will quickly start to show signs of wear and tear.

“We encourage our customers to do routine maintenance. Especially with warm temperatures coming. If you’re not doing routine maintenance, your compressor can overheat and cause more issues. Which might even lead to having to replace your machine,” said Hill.

It’s also a good idea to replace your machine if it is no longer energy efficient. As technology progresses, compressors become more economical and can save businesses hundreds of dollars by simply taking up less energy.

“As the years go on, Sullair works to create compressors that are more energy-efficient and affordable, helping to save on your company’s energy bill. In that case, replacing your older machine might make more sense,” said Hill.

Whether you decide to repair or replace your compressor, CompressAir has your best interest in mind. The business' educated specialists can help make the right decision for you and your company, and its massive supply of replacement parts ensures efficient service no matter what part you may need.

For more information about CompressAir, visit