For a better understanding of the issue, let’s start with the basic types of modern automotive compressors. To date, the market most often you can find two types of compressors: piston and membrane.
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Piston compressor. The injection of air in such a compressor is carried out by means of a piston which performs reciprocating movements. The main advantage of using such an air injection system is high efficiency and durability.
Among the drawbacks of this type of compressor is the strong heating (the piston is intensely rubbing against the cylinder wall) and the lack of a high-quality filtration system for the supplied air (small particles of sand gradually wear out the piston, although this is not so fast).
Separately, there is a small subset of rotary-piston compressors. Their main advantage is the ability to supply a large amount of air. But there is a significant disadvantage of this type – a low supply air pressure. Although there are expensive models, where high pressure is injected.
Membrane compressors. Air injection in this type of compressor is due to the rubber cloth, which performs reciprocating motion. In another way such compressors are also called vibrational ones. The main advantage of this type of compressor is the absence of friction parts, because the only part that can break down, will be a small piece of rubber cloth, which is easy to replace.
Among the drawbacks of these types of compressors can be identified two. The first is a relatively low productivity. The second is the difficulty of operating at very low temperatures (the rubber membrane freezes corny).
After we sorted out the main types of car compressors, we need to understand what first of all it is necessary to pay attention when choosing this auto accessory.
Pressure. This parameter is both important and not important. Why? It’s very simple: even the simplest car compressor can easily raise the tire pressure to the required 2-4 atmospheres for most motorists. If you are the owner of a heavy vehicle or a real SUV, then you need to look towards devices capable of injecting 8-10 atmospheres.
Performance. This is one of the most important characteristics of the compressor, because it depends on the performance of how quickly the compressor pumps the wheel. The average compressors have a capacity of around 25-30 liters per minute, which is enough to pump the R15 wheel in a couple of minutes. Wheels of a larger radius will be inflated somewhat longer. The principle of choice is quite simple – the larger the radius of the wheel, the more productive the compressor is needed.
The manometer. An important detail of any car compressor. Focusing on the performance of this measuring device, you can easily raise the tire pressure to the recommended level without any problems. At the moment, most compressors are equipped with two types of pressure gauges – analog or digital. In this case, the best option will be the latter option, because the digital manometer is much more accurate and not subject to vibration from the compressor itself.
Type of connection. Most “civil” car compressors have a classic power connector that plugs into the car cigarette lighter socket. But more powerful versions can be equipped with special terminals-crocodiles – this is done specifically to avoid possible overload of the on-board power supply.
Miscellaneous. Among other “trifles” that specifically in your case can affect the purchase of a compressor, there may be such:
the presence of the auto-stop function (the compressor itself will stop the air pumping as soon as it reaches the set parameter);
bleed valve (very convenient if you often travel and want to save fuel – then raising, then lowering the pressure in the tire);
adapters (it is important that in the bundle with the compressor there were various adapters, because you need to pump not only the wheels, right?).