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A compressor is an essential part of any 4x4 for deflating tyres when doing trails, soft sand or long gravel roads, and punctures. A tyre repair kit would in most cases be useless without a compressor. There are many types on the market varying in price from a few hundred rand to several thousand rand.

Compressors are usually selected by air quantity, i.e. litres per minute, or by a duty cycle percentage i.e. A 33% duty cycle compressor can run for 15 minutes and then rests for 30 minutes, i.e. one third of the total use including cooling off. A 100% duty cycle will switch off when it’s maximum pressure is reached and can run continuously within reason. A compressor with high litres per minute spec, normally inflates the tyres to the desired pressures before any duty cycle spec is reached. These compressors will then rest after inflation is complete and may not switch on if duty cycle is exceeded. Many compressors are now fitted with a circuit breaker to protect against over use. Regardless of which criteria’s important to your requirements, you must always ensure that the compressor you chose must be connected to the battery and not into a lighter or auxiliary socket. The socket plug - in types are OK for balls, bikes and “plat karretjie” tyres. In most cases their capacity and duty cycle is so low that they will take hours to pump a 4x4 tyre and have very short life spans. The gauges on most compressors are often inaccurate, and we recommend a separate dial gauge be used. This is relevant even at the filling station air pumps.

Should you mount the compressor in the vehicle permanently or keep it as a mobile unit? If you are a regular off roader, it would be advisable to permanently mount the compressor providing a suitable position can be located. “I forgot to pack it” is not an option.

Always carry a spare fuse.