How To Prevent Your Hydraulic Fluid From Leaking

Hydraulic fluid leaks can be quite expensive and dangerous. These leaks can affect your hydraulic systems’ operating costs, reduce the lifetime of equipment and parts, increase safety risks, and cause environmental damage. It is a common cliche that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, a few simple hydraulic leaks repairs can save you time and money, while keeping your hydraulic system running safely and efficiently.

Check The Seals

Seals are a crucial part of hydraulic equipment and should be checked regularly to prevent leaks from occurring. When seals wear out it will often lead to other issues with the equipment as well. In order to function properly they must withstand high temperatures, pressures, and chemicals as well as contaminants. Choosing the right material is an important step in ensuring that your seal will last as long as possible. There are a wide variety of seals that can be used on different types of hydraulic equipment. They can range from standard rubber to high-performance synthetic elastomers, such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

Check The Hoses

There are several different hoses used in your vehicle’s hydraulic system. They include radiator hoses, heater hoses and power steering hoses. A good hose should feel firm but pliant and have a smooth, even surface. If the hose is brittle or soft, it is likely to leak. You can test the integrity of your hoses by pinching them. Check for age cracks, hardening, soft spots, blisters, or bulges. When you have an idea of the condition of your hoses, tighten their clamps. If the clamps are too loose, the hose may move with your engine, which could allow coolant to leak from the hose. Radiator hoses typically last 10 years or 100,000 miles, depending on their condition and maintenance. You can improve their lifespan by inspecting them regularly and replacing them as needed.

Check The Connections

A good hydraulic system needs to have tight connections and hoses that last. The constant vibration on a hydraulic system can disengage connections between pipes and other elements, allowing fluid to seep out. The first step is to check the connections and seals. Wearing PPE, check the connections with cardboard or wood to see if they look swollen or discolored. If you notice leaks, you should either repair them or replace the faulty parts. A non-catastrophic leak can be fixed by tightening a fitting or coupling, but replacing damaged seals and hoses is typically recommended.

Check The Pressure

One way to identify leaks on your hydraulic assemblies is by checking the pressure. To do this, depressurize the system and check each connection for leaks while wearing gloves. Incorrect pressure settings can cause a host of problems, including overheating and damage to seals and pumps. High temperatures also accelerate the oxidation of hydraulic oil, which increases leakage. Often, overheating is the result of incorrect pressure setting, though it can be a sign of more serious issues that require professional help. Hydraulic leaks can occur in any component or hose carrying the fluid. Whether it’s an external or internal leak, it can have devastating consequences for your machine. To prevent this, make sure to always tighten fittings according to manufacturer’s specifications. Over-tightening can crack, while under-tightening can allow air, water, debris, or contaminants to enter the hydraulic fluid and promote leakage anywhere in your system.