How to deal with contaminated hydraulic fluid

Hydraulic fluid is used in all hydraulic systems from the excavator to the loader. This is the lifeblood of any hydraulic system, which is why when this fluid becomes contaminated it damages the machinery and prevents it from working as it should.

What is hydraulic fluid?

This fluid is used within the system to do the work, as well as to lubricate the parts reducing friction and abrasion, and it conducts heat away from the critical components, improving performance and extending life expectancy of your equipment.

How does fluid contamination occur?

Most of hydraulic system failures occur due to fluid contamination, and typically equipment with higher pressures and tighter tolerances create an environment which is more susceptible to debris and contamination. The hydraulic fluid can be contaminated in the following ways:

Contamination by air and water borne particles can impact your equipment’s cycle time and performance which causes a loss of power and reduced heat dissipation.

Particulate contamination includes sand, silt, dust and soot and can contaminate the fluid through leaky seals or lack of breathable filtration.

Chemical contamination occurs when aging hydraulic fluid breaks down. This can also happen when different types of fluids are mixed. Always check the manufacturers guidelines on what type of fluid to use in the machine.

When should you change your fluid?

You can either change your fluid or flush it. Flushing is recommended when a component fails, or if there has been a rebuild. First you need to drain your fluid, then run it with a lower viscosity through the system under high pressure. This helps to loosen any dirt from the system, leaving it clean and allowing fresh hydraulic fluid to be added. It is best to change the fluid regularly, and flush when necessary.

When it comes to everything hydraulics, Power Team SA is available to provide suitable solutions. With extensive knowledge through years of working with hydraulics, Power Team SA understands every business’ hydraulic needs.