There are many pieces of equipment that rely on hydraulic systems, like excavators, material handlers, dozers and more. These types of equipment tend to be expensive, so it is very important to maintain them properly, and part of any maintenance program must be hydraulic services – keeping the hydraulic components working effectively and efficiently. If you ignore the symptoms of a hydraulic problem, you run the risk of ending up with much more expensive repairs or even total failure of your hydraulic equipment. You could even end up having to completely replace the equipment if the repair is too costly.
Any of your drivers or operators who use these vehicles should know the signs that hydraulic services are needed now:
- New noises: If your hydraulic equipment starts making strange or new noises, there are two probable causes: aeration or cavitation. If air gets into the system, it can degrade the fluid and components. Cavitation occurs with the demand for hydraulic fluid exceeds the available amount, leading to gas bubbles forming in the fluid.
- Reduced speed of operation: Generally, a loss of speed results from a loss of flow in the system. This can be a sign of leaks (either internal or external) and should not be ignored.
- Higher than normal temperatures: At temperatures above 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the hydraulic fluid breaks down more quickly and the seals can be damaged.
- Signs of leaks: Loss of hydraulic fluid through leaks leads to lower pressures, higher temperatures, and changes in viscosity.
In general, hydraulic systems should be regularly checked. Regular hydraulic services should occur every 1,000 operating hours, with the fluid being replaced. The manufacturer’s recommendations for hydraulic services should always be followed to protect the lifespan of these systems.