I Broke The Compressor Intake Filter

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Compressor intake filters hang out there on the edge of the compressor pump like a pimple on the side of your nose. You’re walking by with a 2 x 4 in your hand and accidentally whack the side of it, and oops –  I broke the compressor intake filter!

A lot of compressor intake filters are made of plastic and as such, are very easily broken. A gentle tap (accidentally of course) in very cold weather and the plastic intake filter shatters.

Another common scenario for breaking an intake filter is driving with a compressor upright in the back of the SUV or pickup truck. You turn a corner too tight, and BAM, the compressor’s over on it’s side and little pieces of air compressor intake filter are scattered all over your vehicle.

When this happens to you, or rather, if you do happen to break the compressor intake filter, and you have a lower cost DIY type air compressor that’s got a few years on it, you may have a hard time finding an OEM replacement. No worries! Have a look at the image of the intake filter.

Fix My Compressore - Compressor intake air filter

Dimension one refers to the diameter of the intake filter. Item two refers to the actual size  air intake opening or portal. Item three is the male thread on the intake filter.

The purpose of the air intake filter is to prevent fairly large particulates from entering the intake port of the air compressor. These devices are not filtering air to the micron level but are considered more general purpose.

We mention this because in our opinion, pretty much any air compressor intake filter that…

  1. Has an overall diameter that is close but not hugely smaller than your original filter
  2. Has an intake portal the same or larger than the original
  3. Has a thread size that is the same as the original and with the same thread location

… will work just fine on your air compressor.

We DO NOT recommend that you run your air compressor without an intake filter. The industry would not include one on your compressor if it wasn’t necessary.

If your compressor is out of warranty, using a non-OEM intake filter will have no voiding-warranty implications. So, get one anywhere you can. If you Google air compressor intake filter you will find many on line offerings.

Pick the one that’s closest to yours using the criteria listed above, and you’ll soon have your compressor back up and running.

Though, when we acquired our replacement intake air filter, the model we purchased was made of metal, not plastic like the original that broke so easily!

By Ashley Pearce

As a passionate manufacturing and mechanical engineer, I've had my fair share of run ins with air compressors and compressed air systems. With over a decade of experience in the industry, I have both a fresh perspective and time-served hands and mind to help you with your compressor problems (along with our able community!)

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July 23, 2015 1:00 am

I just broke mine today.

The male thread was stuck in the compressor head and no amount of screwdriver and hammer would fix it.

Because I didn’t want to crack or break the head, I used an old chisel with a hammer to unscrew the broken off male thread.

That with an adjustable wrench (need to get a pair of vise grips :P) gave me enough torque to screw it out without damaging the head or the thread.

My intake valve was 16mm like the one shown and I used the above technique to remove the broken part.

Thanks for this site, I know f-all about air compressors but this site has put me in the right direction.

Once I get the replacement part, I can see if my air compressor has other issues than just this valve 😉

Fix My Compressor Moderator
Fix My Compressor Moderator
Reply to  Scott
July 23, 2015 7:34 am

Scott, thanks for taking the time to update all of us on your compressor intake adventure and for your kind words about our site. Your tip about how to get the thread out of the compressor head will be useful for others, we are sure.

Reply to  Fix My Compressor Moderator
November 4, 2016 2:08 am

Is the a certain way they are supposed to face as I broke both mine off and have never taken notice of the intake direction?

Fix My Compressor Moderator
Fix My Compressor Moderator
Reply to  Luke
November 4, 2016 4:49 pm

Luke, I’m not quite sure of what you mean. Most intake filters have a male thread that threads into the compressor pump. The other end of the filter is where the air enters. What’s unusual about yours?