How to get the most life out of hydraulic systems

It all begins with the spec'ing process

All of these situations will increase maintenance costs by shortening component life.

On the subject of hose, consider that the inside of a hose is not smooth. Internal friction is created as oil passes through, and friction equals heat.

When possible, where there are long runs, consider steel hydraulic tubing in place of hose. Not only is friction reduced, but the tubing will help to dissipate heat.

Also, minimize the use of fittings, particularly 90-degree fittings, and keep hose runs as straight as possible.


Oil has been described as “the forgotten component” in the hydraulic system. Oil transfers force to perform work and carries contaminates to the filters and cools other components by delivering fresh oil and transferring heat to the reservoir.

The choice of hydraulic oil is another area where the machine designer’s specification important. Secondarily, your local supplier will be able to recommend the best oil for your climate and operating environment.

The life of every hydraulic component is directly affected by the choice and condition of the oil.

Two major causes of hydraulic pump failure, contamination and heat, are preventable if the oil is properly maintained.

Keeping oil clean by sampling and establishing a schedule for filter replacement, and cool by maintaining the proper level and keeping the reservoir clean will substantially increase the life of the oil and every other component.

David Douglas is director of training and education for Muncie Power Products, which has been serving the truck equipment market with mobile power components and systems for more than 75 years. Part of the global Interpump Hydraulics Group, the company manufactures a full line of power take-offs and hydraulic components to both SAE and DIN (the German Institute for Standardization) specifications.

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