Troubleshooting Air Leaks On A Pneumatic Tool

Have you ever tried firing a pneumatic nailer, only to hear the air leak when pulling the trigger? If so, you're not alone. Over time, wear and tear will take its toll on any tool, regardless of the brand. The best way to prevent an issue on the job is to practice preventative maintenance on your tools. Keeping them oiled and cleaned regularly will help to prevent wear. Also, storing them in plastic will help to keep the elements out - especially when sitting for extended periods of time. But what about those unavoidable issues, such as the occasional air leak?
If you try to fire a pneumatic nail gun or stapler, but only hear air leaking when engaging the trigger, it is likely that your tool's "O-ring" is not sealing properly. When the trigger is not depressed, you might not hear air leaking, as the valve is probably sealed. However, once you engage the trigger, the valve looses it's seal, therefore creating a gap for the escaping air that you hear coming from your compressor, as it flows into the tool.
On a properly working tool, when air is forced into the firing valve, this pushes the valve upward, which opens the main cylinder sleeve and allows the air to drive a fastener into the object being nailed or stapled. If the "O-ring" fails to seal, the air will escape past, leading to your leak.
Despite the fact this appears to be a complex problem, fixing this issue might be much easier than you think. Simply stretch the "O-ring" on the firing valve and apply grease. This should take care of the issue - helping your tool to run properly. Keeping a tool's "O-ring" lubricated will increase the ring's lifespan and prevent drying out.
We must note, this is not the only cause for a pneumatic nailer or stapler to leak air, just a common source when troubleshooting a leak. 
Always remember to stop using your air powered tool - or any tool - when it is not functioning properly. Take your tool to a certified repair technician or complete any necessary adjustments yourself, before using the tool again. Failure to take these preventative measures can result in injury or can lead to further damage on your tool.
Also, be sure to check out our blog on choosing the right air compressor for your application. An underpowered unit might also be the cause for misfire or weak firing. 
Here's To Many Years Of Service From Your Pneumatic,
The Team At Nail Gun Depot
Leave a Reply


  • Sue Jackson November 21, 2016 at 12:09 PM

    Do you sell replacement O rings for the ISM AB100T pneumatic staplers? What kind of "grease" do you recommend?
    We purchased a stapler from you in 2011, so I need to repair or replace now.

    • Nail Gun Depot November 22, 2016 at 7:22 AM

      Sue, I've forwarded your request to our customer service team, who will contact you shortly in regard to options for repair versus replacement. Thanks for contacting Nail Gun Depot!

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