Common Hydraulic Fluid Issues To Look Out For

Hydraulic fluids perform essential tasks within the systems that contain them. Its main job is to facilitate energy transmission, but that is far from its only important function. We also use hydraulic fluids to provide lubrication, temperature control, and additional protection against corrosion.

Given the importance of hydraulic fluid, you will notice right away when something is wrong with it. Common hydraulic fluid issues can derail a system’s operations indefinitely. Resolving those issues should be your priority.

Continue with this article to learn more about those common hydraulic fluid issues and how you can prevent them.

1. Contaminated Hydraulic Fluid

The performance of your hydraulic fluid may start to suffer due to contamination. Two especially common types of contamination events are known to plague hydraulic systems. Those are contamination events that involve either air or water.

Air-based contamination typically occurs if the system is not sealed tightly. Because of the relaxed seal, air can seep into the system and affect the quality of the fluid. You can tell that you have air contamination if the fluid looks foamy.

Meanwhile, water-based contamination may occur if you didn’t flush out the system properly prior to installation. Poor seals and inadequate filtering may also cause this issue. Hydraulic fluid will take on the appearance and consistency of milk if it has been contaminated with water.

2. Cavities in the Hydraulic Fluid

One of the problems with hydraulic fluid you may encounter is cavitation.

Cavitation is a problem that stems from a significant and rapid change in hydraulic fluid pressure. Due to the rapid change in pressure level, bubbles may start to form inside the hydraulic fluid. Although they look like bubbles, they are technically referred to as cavities.

Eventually, the cavities that form inside your hydraulic fluid will collapse. When they do, they will cause shockwaves that can damage nearby hydraulic system components. As you can imagine, the fluid itself will also be greatly impacted.

People can prevent cavitation by regularly replacing filters and properly installing the pump suction line. Consider using a shorter hose if you want to reduce the chances of pressure drops taking place.

3. Aging Hydraulic Fluid

Finally, aging is another issue that can affect the quality of hydraulic fluid.

Hydraulic fluid is infused with various chemicals that allow it to perform its intended functions. Over time, those chemicals will break down. The effectiveness of your hydraulic fluid will suffer as its chemical contents continue to deteriorate.

You can take preventative measures to save your hydraulic fluid from contamination and cavitation. That’s not the case with aging. After a certain point, your hydraulic fluid will no longer be usable, so simply flush it out of your system. Make sure you flush out the aging hydraulic fluid thoroughly because you don’t want it contaminating the replacement fluid.

Generally speaking, hydraulic fluid should remain useful for about six months. Regularly check your hydraulic fluid after every six months to ensure that it is still performing its functions.

Preserve the performance of your hydraulic fluid by recognizing the problems presented in this article. Don’t forget to follow up with the necessary preventative measures so you can keep your hydraulic system humming.