New Is Not Clean—Know Your Hydraulic System’s Oil!

Hydraulic systems are an incredibly important tool in many different industries. If you have your own hydraulic machinery, you probably understand just how important it is to keep it in good repair year-round. Sometimes, you can handle things on your own, but when it comes to regular analysis and important repairs, it’s best to call in the pros. This is especially true for one crucial component of your system: the oil.

When you choose M & M Hydraulic Company as your provider of hydraulic services in Minnesota, we’ll make sure your oil is clean, and we’ll give you tips for how to keep it that way between regular maintenance inspections. In the meantime, here are some important things you should know about your hydraulic system’s oil.

New doesn’t always mean clean

You would be in good company if you thought that simply putting new oil in your hydraulic system was enough. It makes sense—out with the old, in with the new, problem solved. But unfortunately, it’s not always quite that easy. You see, most oils are already contaminated by the time they reach you. The ideal level for hydraulic oil is between 5 and 10 percent microns, but most oils contain 30 to 40 percent microns! Knowing this up front will help you plan for your oil needs down the road, and M & M Hydraulic Company can help you make sure your oil is safe for your system.

Testing for glycol is essential

During your regularly scheduled oil analysis, your professional should let you know that they are testing for glycol. This is good news for you, because glycol contamination in your machine can lead to a bad buildup of potassium—an issue that you definitely don’t want to go unnoticed!

Potassium contamination is usually caused by glycol, which is the primary element found in antifreeze. It’s also possible to find contamination in your oil from a variety of other sources—such as silicon, boron, phosphorous and chromium—but if you have a potassium buildup, it’s almost certainly caused by glycol.

It is also possible that potassium found in your oil is due to other contaminants finding their way in on the wind. Some of these offenders might include granite, ash or even road dust. But if you and your professional suspect glycol is the issue, you’ll want to get testing specific to rule out or confirm this possibility. Common tests include Gas Chromatography (GC), Fourier Transformation Infrared (FTIR), a blotter spot test and Schiff’s reagent test. Gas Chromatography is particularly effective for detecting glycol levels in engine oil, but it should be used in conjunction with other tests to make sure there are no false negatives or false positives.

No one should have to worry about how well their hydraulic system is going to perform on a daily basis. Eliminate surprises and potentially costly repairs caused by missed problems—call M & M Hydraulic Company for expert hydraulic services in Minnesota, and we’ll make sure your machines perform to their full potential year-round.

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