Troubleshooting Tips for Common Hydraulics Problems

In any troubleshooting situation, no matter how complex, it’s always best to start with the basics. Starting from square one will help you find the root of the problem. Based on experience, the root cause of most problems is typically a simple fix, even when you’re talking about hydraulic systems.

At M & M Hydraulic Company, we’ve specialized in hydraulic repair in Minnesota for over 40 years, so we’ve seen it all, from the most complex repairs to simple fixes, but most of the repairs we perform tend to fall into a few basic categories. To help our customers identify and fix minor and common hydraulic system problems, here are a few troubleshooting tips from our hydraulic experts.


Aeration occurs when air contaminates the hydraulic fluid. Aeration accelerates degradation of the fluid and causes damage to system components through loss of lubrication, overheating and burning of seals. Abnormal noises, irregular actuator movement and foaming fluid are all symptoms of aeration. If you’re noticing any of these common problems with your hydraulic system, here’s what you can try:

  • Replace pump shaft seal
  • Tighten leaky inlet connection
  • Bleed air from system
  • Fill reservoir to proper level

High fluid temperature

When viscosity falls below the ideal value for the system’s components, the hydraulic fluid temperature can get too high. A high fluid temperature can damage seals and accelerate degradation of the hydraulic fluid. Anything that reduces the system’s ability to dissipate heat or causes the heat in the system to increase can result in high fluid temperatures. Here are a few common solutions for fixing a high fluid temperature or overheating hydraulic system:

  • Check for fluid leaks
  • Inspect cooling circuit components and replace
  • Check pump and replace or repair
  • Replace heat-generating components

Loss of pressure

A drop in pressure is almost always due to either an external or internal leak in the system. External leaks are usually easy to spot and repair, but internal leaks can be more difficult to identify. However, a pressure drop usually causes an increase in temperature. This is where an infrared thermometer may be useful to identify internal leaks. If you are experiencing a loss in pressure, here are a few things to check:

  • Valve is set too low and needs to be adjusted
  • Valve is worn or damaged and needs to be replaced
  • Check for water contamination
  • Check for damaged pump and repair or replace
  • Directional valve in wrong position
  • Dirty pump strainers
  • Pump motor not operating

Hydraulic systems are delicate pieces of machinery and require regular care and maintenance in order to reliably perform at their best. Most hydraulic system issues can be prevented through regular maintenance checks and by catching potential problems early on. However, if you have an issue with your hydraulic system, these tips can help you identify and fix minor issues. For help with more complicated hydraulic repairs in Minnesota or for regular professional hydraulic maintenance services, be sure to contact M & M Hydraulic Company!

1 Comment

  1. Amy Saunders

    Oh, dear.. it happens again. The hydraulic pump ant my neighbor’s workshop has stopped working for the hundredth time this week and he just couldn’t bear with the issue anymore. Well, maybe he should consider hiring a technician to give it a quick fix or replacement altogether as soon as possible. When I read the things you specified about pressure imbalance inside our hydraulic system and how it can be repaired by sealing any apparent leak, it totally blew my mind away.

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