How to Fix Air Tools

Air tools consist of a compressor and an attachment. These types of tools are powered by electricity and use air pressure to get the job done faster. There are a variety of things that can go wrong with these tools. Any problems should be immediately corrected since their power can cause severe physical harm if they malfunction. The main areas of repair lie within the compressor and the tool attachment. The tool attachment included items such as impact wrenches, nail guns, and other versions of otherwise handheld tools. There are some general problems that happen with all attachments.

Compressor Repair

A compressor will create air pressure that will be fed to a tool attachment.
  1. Allow an overheated motor to cool. If the motor stops randomly while you are in the process of using the compressor and attachment setup, chances are that there is too much heat being generated within the motor. It will need several minutes to cool and function again properly.

  2. Turn off the machine if the safety valve pops upward. Flip the switch on the machine to the "off" position. The safety valve will rise if there is too much air pressure within the tank of the compressor.

  3. Tighten the fittings on the compressor by turning them clockwise with an adjustable wrench if you notice that you have low air pressure. Low air pressure signals leaks via loose fittings. Do not over-tighten the fitting as that could cause irreversible damage to the compressor.

Tool Attachment Repair

  1. Turn the tool attachment pressure to its highest setting and the compressor to 90 pounds per square inch (psi) if the tool will not start. The attachment may require additional pressure to trigger a start. Return the compressor and attachment's pressure to the recommended setting for the particular tool once it has started. Consult the owner manual of that tool to determine the correct pressure for both devices.

  2. Examine the connection between the attachment and the compressor hose if you notice low air pressure. Wrap any leaks at this connection with Teflon tape.

  3. Change the size of the hose connecting the tool to the compressor if there is a lack of air pressure and no existing leaks. A hose that is too large or too small may not allow the correct air pressure to pass from the compressor to the attachment tool. Hose size will depend on which tool you are using. Consult the owner's manual of that tool to determine the correct size hose.


  • When working on or repairing an air tool, make sure the device is turned off. These tools are very sensitive and can cause physical harm.
  • Wear eye protection. Some air tools, such as air guns, expel nails at a rapid rate. This can cause irreversible eye damage.
  • Protect your ears with ear plugs. The loud noise generated from air tools can cause permanent damage to your ears.
  • Take breaks when working with air tools. Long-term exposure to the vibrating parts of the tool can cause injury.
  • Wear a protective face mask to cover your nose and mouth. Dust created while using air tools can harm your lungs and other parts of your respiratory system.

About the Author

Kim Sarah has been a writer since 2000. Her work has appeared on NECN, WCTR-TV3 and in the "Torch" university newspaper, among other publications. Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Worcester State University and a Master of Arts in journalism from Roosevelt University. She is also studying nursing and computer science at Indiana State University.