RoadSigns

Total cost: $374
Total time: Under 2 hours

How do you know it’s time for a new air compressor?

If you’re the last guy to air up your tires, it might be time for a new air compressor.

If your current air compressor starts shaking violently and blows a fuse (preventing you from filling up your last tire), it might be time for a new air compressor. True story.

I hadn’t planned on buying a new air compressor because I thought the Slime air compressor I’d had for about 4-5 months was working just fine and was going to last a long time. Untrue story.

So, what did I get? I decided to get the ARB On-Board High Performance 12-Volt Air Compressor (CKMA12). Not only is ARB a reputable company, but the compressor came with a two-year warranty.

I was immediately impressed with the ARB compressor. It was HEAVY! My old compressor weighed just over three pounds, but the ARB compressor weighs almost seven. It just felt solid  and built really well.












The Equipment

When I first opened the box for the ARB compressor, I have to admit, it was a little intimidating. I don’t happen to have an engineering degree and I was worried that it was going to be a lot to figure out. But don’t worry, it wasn’t and my install video simplifies it for you.

Here’s what came in the box with the compressor:

  • Air filter
  • Pressure switch
  • Relay (for the wiring harness)
  • Switch and rocker
  • Tire inflator
  • Adaptors (just in case you need to inflate a basketball)
  • Hardware
  • Mounting plate
  • And…a monster mess of wires (the source of the intimidation)


In addition to the compressor itself, I also bought ARB’s compressor kit, which comes with an adaptor and plug. I bought the kit on Amazon and it’s very sturdy – the hose and connections, just like the compressor, are very well built.

Another purchase was ARB’s tire inflator and I really like it. The gauge is very accurate and it has a nice metal hose that allows you to take air out of the tires as well as inflate them. You don’t even have to screw it on—it has a nice little clip that just clamps on and locks it in.

The last thing I bought was EVO’s compressor mount (part# EVO-1097), which is specific for mounting the ARB compressor on 2007-2017 Jeep Wranglers. It mounted right behind the brake booster and was a nice, clean, and easy install.

Here’s what it all cost:


Before You Start

Before you get started installing your new air compressor, there are a few basic tools you should probably have on hand. Here’s what I used:

  • Wrench and socket set
  • Screwdrivers
  • Dremel with cutting wheel (optional)


The bolts that came with the ARB compressor weren’t meant specifically for a Jeep using this mount, so be prepared to either have two shorter bolts handy or cut them down yourself using a Dremel.

The Install

The entire install took under two hours and was pretty easy. Here’s what we did:

  • Mounted the compressor to the bracket
  • Installed the compressor and bracket
  • Relocated the horn
  • Hooked up the wiring to the compressor and battery
  • Plugged in the relay
  • Plugged in the pressure switch
  • Ran the wiring for the power switch


Once all that was done, we turned on the power, and tested it out. We deflated the tires down to 20 psi and inflated to 40 psi in about two minutes. Pretty nice!






















After the Install

I’ve been using the compressor for over a year now and it has never let me down. I do a lot of wheeling in Southern California’s hot and dusty desert and it has performed well, even in 100+ degree weather. I use it at least 2-3 times a month to air back up when coming off the trail and even use it on occasion to air up some of my buddies’ Jeeps at the end of a trail run. Once, I even aired up 12 tires in a row with no problems.

The ARB is a great compressor. It's durable, inflates tires fast, is hard mounted, takes up limited space, and is reliable. I’m no longer the last guy to air up my tires, but, having been side by side with several off-road buddies who have the ARB Dual Compressor and watching them fill up in half the time, I’m seriously considering an upgrade. After all, is anyone ever really done upgrading their rig? 






The Video

Air Up! ARB CKMA12 Air Compressor Review ​

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”

— Edward Abbey