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The pressure regulator on an air compressor is designed to let the pump motor run until the pressure in the tanks reaches their safe level. While you are using the air the pressure drops in the tanks until it reaches the level where the pressure switch turns the motor on again and refills the tanks to their rated level. The pressure where these two things happen is usually with in ten psi above or below the rated levels because few regulators are so precise and are affected by temperature that they turn and off exactly at the rated pressures. If a pressure regulator is damaged or broken it is possible for the tank to either reach unsafe high levels or not turn on when the pressure drops to where it should restart the motor. If you are in doubt, have the regulator checked or replaced as overpressured tanks are very dangerous.
The problem with compressors not building pressure is usually a bad pressure switch or bad regulator. Does the motor shut off at 20psi or does it continue running and not build pressure? If the motor continues to run with no increase in pressure, the you should go over the machine looking for air leaks from your regulator back all the way to the motor. Any air leak while the compressor is running can cause the pressure to "peak" way before the intended shutoff that it is regulated to.
Is you air regulator working? I suspect your reed valves in the head need replacing as they may not be holding pressure over the 45psi that you mentioned, and are allowing the air pressure to defeat them which allows the psi over 45 psi to bleed back into the air compressor cylinder.