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Equipment Giving You Problems? 3 Steps To Help You Diagnose A Problem With Your Hydraulics

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If you use hydraulic equipment in your shop, you know that even a short equipment failure can cost you time and money. That's why it's crucial that you keep your hydraulic equipment operating at maximum efficiency. To do that, you need to catch minor issues before they turn into major problems. Here's a simple troubleshooting guide that will help you isolate hydraulic pump problems before you're faced with a catastrophic malfunction. 

Strange Sounds

If you use your hydraulic equipment on a daily basis, you know what it should sound like. Abnormal sounds usually signify that something isn't working properly. The two common causes for abnormal noises are aeration and cavitation.


When air gets into the hydraulic fluid, it can make a very loud knocking or banging noise. One of the problems with aeration is that it can cause the fluid to degrade at a rapid pace. To prevent aeration, you should make sure that your inlet lines are always in good condition and that the hose clamps are always fastened securely.


For your hydraulic equipment to work properly, the demand for fuel must be equal to the supply of fuel reaching the equipment. When the demand is greater than the supply, your system will malfunction. Cavitation is caused by a decrease in hydraulic fluid at a time when the need is increased. When that happens, vapor cavities build up inside the fluid. You can prevent cavitation by monitoring the fluid levels at all time and adding fluid as necessary. 

Temperatures Rising

Serious damage can occur when your hydraulic equipment overheats. Valve seals can be compromised and the hydraulic fluid can burn, causing it to degrade faster than it should. Most overheating is the result of either system overload or a malfunction in the system's ability to disperse heat. To prevent overheating, it's important that you avoid overworking your equipment and that you inspect your heat exchanger and cooling core on a regular basis.

Things are Slowing Down

If your equipment is in serious danger, you'll probably notice a prolonged cycle time – meaning it's taking longer to finish each operation – or the entire system will slow down. When your equipment slows down, it means that there's also a loss of hydraulic fluid flow. If your equipment has suddenly slowed down, or come to a screeching halt, you'll need to inspect the hoses. You could have either a small leak or a complete rupture. To prevent future problems, be sure to inspect your hoses for leaks before you begin using your equipment each day.

When your hydraulic equipment goes down, your whole workday can be ruined. The information provided above will help you identify potential problems with your hydraulics. If you develop any of the problems described above, be sure to have your equipment repaired looked at by a service technician (such as one from as soon as possible.