You will get long life and utility from any air compressor that you buy if you take some basic steps in maintaining it plus catch troubles before they grow larger. Here are some ways:
Check for Leaks
Leaks degrade the efficiency of an air compressor and must be resolved. Periodically check for leaks from the valve, hoses, and tank by using the classic method of applying soapy water to these components. The bubbles generated will pinpoint the leak.
Tank leaks will need to be spot welded and valve/hose leaks are easily repaired by just replacing these components. Replacement components can be found at any major home improvement center.
Keep It Clean
Keep the air compressor free of external dirt. Otherwise, dirt can contaminate areas around gaskets and valves and do damage. Wiping the air compressor periodically will be sufficient in most cases.
Make Sure It Is Dry
Moisture from condensation tends to build up gradually inside of air compressor tanks. It is for this reason that on many models you will find a drainage valve. Keep the air compressor dry on the inside because moisture can cause rust plus steal space otherwise intended for air pressure.
Keep It Warm
Another way to keep your air compressor dry is to keep it warm. This also works to prevent condensation from forming inside the tank and around valves and gaskets. If moisture within these components freezes, the result can be cracking because of ice expansion.
Use an Acceptable Power Source
Engaging the air compressor motor will result in a quick surge placing a temporary high demand on the power supply. Electricity provided by the utility power grid is an acceptable power source because there is usually enough reserve to handle the surge.
In contrast, a generator is not an acceptable power source because it doesn’t have reserve to handle surges. Thus, without that reserve, the air compressor motor will be strained.
Consider that this risk of strain becomes even greater because a typical air compressor shuts off when it has the required pressure and then engages when it needs to build up pressure. This cycling combined with a less than optimum power source will reduce the life of the air compressor motor.