Air Compressor Won’t Stop Running? Try These 10 Fixes

What should you do if your air compressor won’t stop running? We’ve put together the 10 quickest fixes that can get your air compressor back to normal in no time.

air compressors
Air compressors that won’t stop running can become a dangerous problem.

An air compressor that won’t stop running can become a dangerous problem. An over pressurized air tank is a pretty big hazard to have around. One of our quick fixes could not only save you from having to replace your air compressor, it could also save you from injury.

Keep on reading to go to the 10 quickest fixes for an air compressor that won’t stop running. We’re sure that the fix for your air compressor is in our list.

10 Fixes For An Air Compressor That Won’t Stop Running

Check out these 10 fixes for an air compressor that won’t stop running.

#1 A Faulty Pressure Switch

The pressure switch is one of the most important parts of your air compressor. You can think about a pressure switch as the brains of the operation. This little electrical device bridges the gap between the air tank and the motorized pump. A pressure switch failure means that your air compressor will lose the ability to regulate and detect how much pressurized air is in the tank.

Pressure switches can experience some common electrical problems. These can result in your air compressor motor running constantly. Fixing a faulty pressure switch means working with electricity. You can always play it safe by contacting an electrician that’s experienced in repairing air compressors.

Check out this video for a step-by-step guide to replacing a faulty pressure switch.

#2 Worn Out Intake Valve

The intake valve on your air compressor is one of the most important parts in the entire machine. This valve regulates the air that’s coming in from the outside and getting compressed in the air tank. The intake valve is also one of the areas that wears out the quickest.

air compressor intake valve

If your intake valve is worn out, it can jeopardize the efficiency of your pump. This can be because the amount of air that your pump is bringing in is not enough to keep the tank pressurized. This can cause the pump to run constantly.

Luckily, replacing a worn-out intake valve on your air compressor pump is an easy fix. It is usually listed in your manufacturer’s instructions.

#3 Leaking Internal Gaskets

Gaskets are the unsung heroes of air compressors and compressed air tanks.

A gasket is a mechanical seal that goes in between two surfaces that are being connected together. Gaskets are designed to prevent leaks and withstand a certain amount of pressure and compression.

Over time, gaskets can start to crack or become loose. It can be difficult to spot a leaking gasket in an air compressor. There are internal gaskets that are not visible directly from the outside.

Worn out gaskets are a common cause of air compressors that are constantly running.

#4 Check for Leaks

Leaks can pop up anywhere in an air compressor. A leak can cause your air compressor pump to have to work constantly to make up for the lost pressure.

Here’s a quick way to check for leaks on the outside of your air compressor. The first thing you need to do is mix up a solution of soapy water. Apply this soapy water to the outside of your air compressor using a cloth. If any air is leaking out, bubbles will start to appear in areas where you’ve applied the soapy water.

This is the best way to check for leaks while your air compressor is running. We typically cannot hear the sound of leaks over the sound of the compressor motor. The soap bubbles give us a quick way to find leaks.

#5 Worn Air Seals in the Motor

Another common cause of an air compressor that’s constantly running is a worn-out seal in the motor.

There are seals all throughout your air compressor pump. These seals can be found anywhere from inside the housing for the pistons to the o-rings on the intake valves. Your air compressor can start to leak if any of these seals get worn down and start to crack.

Replacing these seals can be a little bit more complicated as it involves you taking apart the pump itself. The good news here is that the seals are typically very affordable and replacing them is really quick once you get the hang of it.

#6 Problems With Your Pressure Relief Valve

The pressure relief valve is one of the most important parts of your air compressor. This is a vital safety device that is built into every air compressor.

The pressure relief valve vents excess compressed air once it crosses a specific threshold. This prevents a critical failure that can cause the compressed air tank to explode. However, a faulty pressure relief valve can vent compressed air before this threshold is reached. This can cause your air compressor pump to run constantly to make up for the difference.

It’s worth calling in a professional to make sure that your pressure relief valve is in good working order. Check out this video for some more tips on air compressor safety. There’s nothing more important than safety when working with an air compressor.

#7 A Faulty Tank Check Valve

Now we have to talk about your tank check valve.

The tank check valve is a small part of your air compressor that sits between the pump in the tank itself. The check valve is often located just underneath the pressure switch.

The job of a tank check valve is to make sure that air doesn’t flow back into the pump system after the pump has been deactivated. The tank check valve can wear down or become loose. This can cause air to leak out and your air compressor pump to run continuously to make up for the lost pressure.

One thing to point out is that it might not be the tank check valve itself that’s to blame. It could be the seal between the tank check valve and the tank itself. Old self-sealing tape can become brittle and lead to air leakage between the tank check valve and the tank itself.

#8 Tank Stem Leaks

The way that your air compressor tank is assembled has a lot in common with plumbing.

Plumbers regularly use plumber’s tape or a variety of sealants to make sure that two pipes are connected together without a gap. If this tape is improperly applied, there could be a leak in the system.

Air compressor tanks work the same way. There will be pipe tape or putty inside of every connection on your tank. This tape is necessary to make sure that the seals between two pieces of pipe are airtight. Tank stem leaks are common when these pipes are not properly fitted together.

You can use the soapy water trick we talked about earlier to check your tank stem for leaks.

#9 Dirt and Grime

Your air compressor is a hard-working piece of machinery. It spends its entire life hanging out in your garage or your workshop. These aren’t always the cleanest environments.

Dirt and grime can collect inside of your air compressor overtime. This can lead to clogs and a drop in performance which can compromise the power of your air compressor pump.

This causes the pump to have to run continuously to make up for the fact that it’s pumping less air. So, how do you prevent dirt and grime from compromising your air compressor?

The key is to make sure that your air compressor stays clean. Regularly replacing your filters is one of the best things that you can do for your air compressor. Outside of that, make sure that the work area around your air compressor stays clean so that dirt and grime don’t collect around any of the intakes.

#10 A Loss of Power

Air compressors use a lot of electricity to maintain pressure. The loss of power to the air compressor pump could make it run continuously to try and make up for that lost power.

A great way to avoid this problem is to never use extension cords with your air compressor. Extension cords can struggle to deliver the power needed for energy demanding motors like those in air compressor pumps.

Extension cords might not be the only source of a loss of power. This could also come from faulty electronics or a worn-out motor. An electrician can help you find the location of a power failure in your air compressor.


Air compressors are becoming more common in garages and workshops throughout North America.

We’re sure that these 10 fixes for an air compressor motor that won’t stop running will get your air compressor back up and running.

Check out our other articles for quick fixes for problems around the workshop and the home.