QUICK GUIDE TO AIR COMPRESSORS
If you are going touring around Australia with or without a 4WD drive, you should be taking an air compressor with you. An air compressor should be among the first items you want to buy for your offroading, 4WD, touring and camping kit. There are so many on the market, sold by so many retailers, you want to make sure you make the right decision.
PORTABLE AIR COMPRESSORS
There are a number of portable air compressor systems available on the market. These portable air compressors come in a tackle box or canvas carry bag. They are connected to power with alligator clips, which is perfect for hooking them up to your vehicle’s battery.
FIXED AIR COMPRESSORS
Mounted air compressors are bolted on and permanently connected to your vehicle as an addition or a secondary type which is the conversion of the vehicle’s air conditioning system.
In most cases, most people are looking for a portable air compressor because they can be moved about and also used to pump tyres on a caravan or trailer without the need for an extra long line. They are also the cheapest form of air compressor to buy and no modifications to your vehicle are required.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PORTABLE AIR COMPRESSOR
It is important to look at 2 main features when deciding on an air compressor, among other issues. These are the output and the duty cycle. The output is normally listed as litres per minute and the duty time in minutes. The duty time is how long the air compressor will function before it switches off to prevent overheating. The duty cycle is a big issue, especially when you are trying to inflate 4 tyres or more.
Other factors to consider include…
• Make sure you are getting a genuine brand product when you buy online because fake products are not limited to just clothes
• Know the warranty period offered by the manufacturer
• Ask yourself who will be able to service or repair the air compressor
• Look for an air compressor that has a connection to pump up tyres so you don’t have to sit there holding it the whole time you are pumping up your tyres
• Avoid air compressors with cigarette lighter type power connections, this is usually an indication of a poor quality product not designed to have the power you will need when you are in the outback
• Look for high-quality 12-volt cables
It always pays to have a separate air pressure gauge to check your tyre inflation levels, especially when you are changing terrains.
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