Old-School Methods for Hydraulic Oil Analysis

Hydraulic systems are complex pieces of machinery that rely on consistent lubrication, sealant and pressure to work effectively. Hydraulic systems are implemented in a wide variety of industrial and even consumer products, including automotive brakes, gasoline pumps, dishwashers, airplanes, forklifts, backhoes, snowplows, amusement park rides and office chairs. Hydraulic systems essentially rely on oil pressure to create enough force to move or sustain an object’s position with limited electronic or physical manipulation. Hydraulic systems, when working correctly, allow people across industries to maximize their efficiency.

Over time, however, the hydraulic fluid inside a hydraulic device can degrade and become contaminated. Imperfections in hydraulic oil could cause long-term and occasionally irreparable damage to hydraulic systems. That’s why it’s especially important to consult with an expert provider of hydraulic service in Minnesota to learn about how often you should test the hydraulic fluid in your machinery.

While most machinery operators tend to send their hydraulic fluids away for professional testing and analysis, it is possible to test your fluid on your own. This can give you a better sense of the status of your fluid, and help you make the determination on whether you should send your fluid away for further examination or not.

Here are just some of the steps you should take to examine your own hydraulic fluid:

  • Visual inspection: First, you should begin examining your hydraulic oil by performing a visual inspection. Compare your machinery’s current oil sample with a new oil sample, and pay close attention to the color and levels of impurities present in the old oil.
  • Shake and observe: While observing your hydraulic oil, shake the vials of both new and old fluid. How do the oils respond to rapid movement? If the old oil is behaving in a way that’s substantially different from the new oil, you should probably consider sending it off for testing.
  • Cool the oil: While you should begin observing your oil at operating temperatures, you may be able to get a better feel for its current state by cooling it. Once the oil is cool, rub some between your thumb and forefinger to see how extensive the imperfections are.
  • Inspect the filter: Finally, you should inspect the filter element of your machinery. Begin by looking for any rips or tears near the filter, and then use a strong magnet to wipe the filter. If the magnet picks up lots of metal shavings, you should have your oil tested.

Since 1976, M & M Hydraulic Company has been a highly trusted provider of hydraulic service in Minnesota. We are proud to provide each and every one of our clients with high-quality, specialized hydraulic services that meet their individual machinery needs. We are known for our prompt, professional and friendly service. Regardless of the type of hydraulic system you use, we can provide you with the repairs, parts and operating expertise you need to succeed. Our expert team of hydraulic specialists can assist you with making your machinery meet your needs, and not the other way around.

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