blue air piping in industry

Compressed air distribution systems are necessary for auto garages. Compressed air is used for cleaning, inflating tires, and powering air tools and paint sprayers. Whether you are opening a new garage or replacing your garage’s existing air system, you are probably unfamiliar with the operation and design of air systems. After all, you are an expert in repairing autos, not choosing an air compressor for auto repair shops. So here are four factors in choosing compressed air systems for auto repair:


The compressed air piping layout will factor into the choice of the system. This is because the size and shape of your garage will influences selection of materials, the number of materials needed, the cost of materials and installation, and the selection of the air compressor for auto repair shops.

In determining how much compressor piping you will need for your compress air system design, keep in mind that closed loops provide more even pressure than linear layouts if you need more than one air outlet. Think of it like a yard sprinkler system: if you lay out a straight sprinkler line with three sprinklers on the line, the water pressure will be much higher the closer you are to the supply pipe.

The remedy for this pressure drop in both sprinkler systems and compressed air systems is to use a closed-loop layout. In this layout, the air compressor for auto repair shops connects to a T-fitting so that there is no beginning or end, but a circuit. This way, the pressure is equalized throughout the system.

Piping and Tube Materials

Once you know your layout, you can begin to select the components of your compressed air system, including the piping or hose material and the compressor.

The choices among piping and tubing include aluminum alloy, high density polyethylene (HDPE), polyethylene of raised temperature (PE-RT), and nylon.

  • Aluminum: Aluminum is easy to install because it is rigid. Moreover, no soldering or welding is required because aluminum piping can be connected using compression fittings. Most importantly, aluminum is not susceptible to gas diffusion, which means that for large systems, air will not be lost through the walls of aluminum piping.
  • HDPE: HDPE is inexpensive and lends itself to installation in spaces where there are a lot of turns or obstacles because HDPE is flexible. Unlike aluminum, HDPE is corrosion resistant.
  • PE-RT: PE-RT is similar to HDPE but tolerates high temperatures better than HDPE. Moreover, PE-RT is food safe. Since neither of these considerations apply to auto repair shops, PE-RT provides most of the same benefits as HDPE.
  • Nylon: Nylon is inexpensive and is resistant to heat and light degradation. Like HDPE and PE-RT, nylon does not corrode.


Choosing an air compressor for auto repair shops, particularly the compressor size and capacity, will determine both the usability and efficiency of the system.

A high capacity compressor can supply air to multiple outlets so that one employee can use an impact wrench wile other employees clean bearing and inflates tires. However, if you do not have multiple outlets or plan to use only compressed air in short bursts, you may not need a high capacity tank.

Similarly, a high pressure compressor can deliver compressed air for high pressure equipment or for use over long distances. However, artificial demand is created when an end-use is supplied air pressure higher than required for the application. Excess compressed air is used when an application requires 50 psi but is supplied 70 psi. Choosing a compressor that is sized for the application and using pressure regulators for lower-pressure end uses can minimize artificial demand.


Some systems will be associated with greater costs than other systems. This might seem logical, but you need to balance all the potential costs to develop a full picture of which system that meets your demands is the least costly. Among the costs to consider are:

  • Acquisition cost
  • Installation cost
  • Operating costs
  • Repair and maintenance costs
  • Disposal cost

Selecting a compressed air system for auto repair isn’t easy, but this guide can help. When you’re ready to improve your auto shop, rely on Rapid Air Products today.

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