Tips for safely towing a portable air compressor

Published 16/5 at 12:51

A portable air compressor is a crucial piece of equipment that is moved on and between work sites. Before towing a compressor, it is important to perform easy to follow steps to ensure the equipment and, most importantly, the driver are protected. Luc Linart from Chicago Pneumatic reports on points to consider.

 

Check the compressor prior to towing

The first step is to ensure that the trailer and tow vehicle are in safe operating conditions. This would include checking tyre pressures and lights and brakes, if fitted.

 

The Tow Bar

When towing it is important to check the towing vehicle’s tow bar complies with the latest local regulations. Any trailer should also be equipped with safety chains where possible and need to be rated for the load and hooked up properly. For trailers that feature a pintle eye on the front, it is important to use a vehicle tow bar that includes a hook. It is also advisable to use a safety pin so it will not open unexpectedly. If the trailer has a tow ball, it is essential it is the right size and is tightly secured. 

On the plus side, in recent years new types of portable equipment, such as the Chicago Pneumatic Red Rock compressor, have been introduced that weigh less than 750kg and therefore can be towed without the need for a special licence. 

 

Tow Vehicle and Trailer 

The tow vehicle needs to be the appropriate size, weight and horsepower to carry the load. A common issue that can have a negative effect on a portable compressor when it is being towed is neglecting to check how level the trailer is. When using an adjustable height tow bar it is recommended to level out the trailer to be as flat as possible. It is not advised to pull the compressor with the draw bar stuck in the air, and the compressor slanted at an angle behind the tow vehicle, as this puts more weight on the running gear than intended by the manufacturer.

 

Driving with Caution

When driving on major roads, it is strongly advised to travel at slower speeds than the national speed limit and to consult with your manufacturer for guidance on what speeds to drive at when towing a compressor. Drivers should be aware of changing terrain and road conditions. It is also recommended to allow time for extra braking, as the additional weight of the compressor means you will not be able to stop as quickly. In addition, it is advisable to be extra cautious when changing lanes and leave more room between vehicles in front. Finally, when changing lanes pay more attention to the blind spot, because your vehicle is significantly longer with a compressor attached.

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