An Overview of Hydraulic Fluids: To Change or To Flush?

July 11, 2024

Hydraulic Fluids

Learn about when to change or flush hydraulic fluids for optimal machinery performance with experts from Broda Hose, Melbourne’s hydraulic fluid supplier.

Hydraulic fluids are crucial for the smooth operation of machinery, providing lubrication, heat transfer, and power transmission. Understanding when to change or flush these fluids is essential for maintaining equipment performance and longevity.

What are Hydraulic Fluids?

Hydraulic fluids are specialised liquids designed to transfer power efficiently in hydraulic systems. These fluids possess unique properties that enable them to withstand extreme pressures, temperatures, and operating conditions. They act as a lubricant, protecting critical components from wear and tear, while also serving as a medium for transmitting force throughout the system. Choosing the right hydraulic fluid is crucial, as it directly impacts the performance, efficiency, and lifespan of the hydraulic equipment.

When to Change Hydraulic Fluids

Regular fluid changes are essential for maintaining the health and performance of hydraulic systems. While manufacturers often provide recommended change intervals, several obvious signs indicate when it’s time to replace the hydraulic fluid.

•  Discolouration and Contamination – Over time, hydraulic fluids can become discoloured or contaminated with particles, water, or other substances. This discolouration and the presence of contaminants are clear indicators that the fluid needs to be changed to prevent potential system damage.

•  Oxidation and Sludge Formation – Exposure to heat and air can cause these fluids to oxidise, leading to the formation of sludge or varnish deposits. These deposits can clog filters, restrict fluid flow, and accelerate component wear, necessitating a fluid change.

•  Degraded Performance – If you notice a decrease in system performance, such as sluggish response, erratic behaviour, or increased noise and vibration, it could be a sign that the hydraulic fluid has degraded and needs to be replaced.

Reasons for Flushing Hydraulic Systems

In addition to regular fluid changes, there may be instances where a complete system flush is recommended or required. Flushing involves draining the entire system and thoroughly cleaning it before introducing new hydraulic fluid.

•  Severe Contamination – If the hydraulic system has been exposed to significant contamination, such as water ingress, metal particles, or other debris, a complete system flush may be necessary to remove these contaminants and prevent further damage.

•  Fluid Incompatibility – When switching to a different type or brand of hydraulic fluid, a system flush is often recommended to ensure compatibility and prevent potential issues caused by mixing incompatible fluids.

•  Major Component Replacement – After replacing major components like pumps, valves, or cylinders, a system flush is advisable to remove any debris or contaminants that may have been introduced during the repair process.

Proper maintenance of hydraulic fluids and systems is essential for ensuring optimal performance, efficiency, and longevity of industrial machinery and heavy equipment. Whether it’s a routine fluid change or a complete system flush, addressing these maintenance needs promptly can prevent costly breakdowns and extend the lifespan of your hydraulic equipment.

By partnering with Broda Hose, a trusted supplier of hydraulic fluids in Melbourne, businesses ensure optimal machinery function and longevity. Call us now to explore our wide range of high-quality hydraulic fluids and accessories to keep your systems running smoothly.

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