The Key to Maintaining Hydraulic Systems





There’s no better way to get maximum return on your equipment investment than performing recommended maintenance. Combine that with daily walkaround inspections and there’s nothing to worry about, right? Maybe.

Hydraulic system issues are easy to miss during walkarounds because key indicators aren’t always visible. But overlooking them can be dangerous — after all, your machine’s hydraulic system determines how much and how fast you move material. Here’s how to catch problems you can’t see with the naked eye:


Put your operators on the lookout

Depending on your operating environment and maintenance practices, hydraulic components may show signs of wear as early as 2,500 hours. Train your operators to check these factors periodically — they may indicate issues with your hydraulic system.

  • Cylinder drift (unactuated cylinder movement)
  • Tracking (equipment experiences pull one way or another while in forward motion)
  • Inconsistent swinging motion with the equipment (jittery movement)
  • System noise (pump or relief valve squealing)
  • Increased system heat (above 190° F)
  • External leakage (hydraulic fluid leaking from cylinder, hose, pump or motor)


Make technology your ally

Hydraulic system issues may not be visible to you, but there’s a good chance they’ll show up in your equipment data. The Cat® App is a great way to monitor machine health right from your phone or tablet, and you can set up alerts to notify you about fault codes or performance problems. The Cat Inspect app is another handy tool. Use it to make sure inspections get done, issues get communicated and the necessary actions get prioritized. Both apps are free and easy to use.


Your competitive advantage depends on your machine’s ability to stay as productive as possible and your operators’ ability to recognize when to service something before it fails. Proper maintenance of your hydraulic and other systems can help you avoid costly repairs and reduce downtime.



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