Airing down is an essential part of driving on dirt. Bottom line, it gives your rig more traction and more ride comfort when on graded roads. Let’s be honest though, airing up at the end of the day is a PITA. Portable compressors can work well, but they are one more piece of gear that needs to be stored in your rig and they always seem to be difficult to access, when you’re tired, dirty and hungry! Here at TAP, we used inexpensive portable compressors for a few years, but after blowing out two hoses and burning our hands on their overheated handles, we’d had enough. It was false economy! So, we  bit the bullet and shelled out for two on-board compressors from ARB. After 6 months of use; so far, so good. Attaching the hose is super easy and our new on-board compressors inflate our tires at approximately the same rate if not a bit faster, than the previous portable compressors. Overall, we find it much easier to maneuver a hose rather than a burning hot box and hose around our rigs.  Fitting the compressor into the Taco was easy with plenty of space available and even with the very cramped engine area of the Rubicon, we succeeded in finding a suitable location. An internal power switch on the dashboard, helps us look even more like the deck of the Starship Enterprise, so of course another plus. Well, that’s our simple, down and dirty non-technical compressor review. Here are the specs from ARB on their on-board, 12 volt air compressor (CKMA12).

Jeep JK
Compressor in the JK


About the Product:

This permanently mounted compressor is installed into your rig and includes a full wiring loom with air locker solenoid pug in contacts, mounting hardware with reinforcing bracket and quality compressor isolating switch.  This compressor, with the addition of ARB Pump-Up Kit can be used to activate air lockers, inflate camping gear and it’s got enough output to air up four 35″-37″ tires. It’s been tested in freezing conditions, blazing hot conditions and sandy, silty desert conditions for ultimate performance quality. Last but not least, it’s small. It can fit into the smallest space and it’s quiet enough to mount in the cab.

The Kit includes:

-fully assembled compressor
-Wiring loom with Air Locker solenoid plug-in contacts
-OEM quality compressor isolating switch
-Air Locker supply rated pressure switch
-Relocatable splash resistant air filter with washable high-flow sintered bronze filter cartridge
-Mounting hardware with reinforcing backing plate
-Comprehensive photo illustrated installation guide

Optional Accessories:

-Full assembled and test air compressor
-Complete wiring loom with Air Locker™ solenoid plug-in contacts
-OEM quality compressor isolating switch
-Air Locker™ supply rated pressure switch
-Relocatable splash resistant air filter with washable high-flow sintered bronze filter cartridge
-Mounting hardware with reinforcing backing plate
-Comprehensive photo illustrated installation guide


-Compact design makes it the highest flowing compressor in its class (voltage vs size)
-Fully sealed components for moisture and dust
-Pressure switch controlled air manifold systems specially designed to suit ARB Air Locker™ equipped vehicles
-Hard anodized cylinder bore and PTFE (Teflon) impregnated carbon fiber piston seal for reduced friction and maximum trouble free life
-New anodized mounting bracket dissipates motor heat and allows compressor to be repositioned 180°
-Anti-vibration/sound deadening mount
-Relocatable splash resistant air filter assembly for cleaner, cooler air supply and versatile waterproof air intake positioning
-High density, high flow washable sintered bronze air filter element
-Maxi-Fuse equipped for professional in-line circuit protection
-Motor is 100% ball bearing equipped with unique linear brush pre-load system for extra long life, low heat and quiet operation
-Compressor piston is equipped with a German-made high shock rated cylindrical roller bearing
-Constructed entirely of light weight, high strength engineering grade materials, including military and aerospace grade components
-Over-pressure safety valve equipped
-Motor is internally thermal protected against extreme temperature damage

Photos: TAP


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New York born to SoCal via Puerto Rico and San Francisco, partner in crime and co-founder of The Adventure Portal, Lori has over 15 years experience in partaking of adventures in the American southwest, primitive camping, hiking and exploring in her Rubi. She welcomes new challenges and is always pushing the envelope of adventure in her Jeep.