Most often, a hydraulic failure is related to issues within the pump, creating a chain reaction throughout the entire system. Attention to detail and regular maintenance can go a long way in detecting early failings, creating a safe work environment, and other improvements regarding overall efficiency. 90-95% of hydraulic failures are caused by one of the factors listed below.


Often the primary cause for hydraulic failure is when foreign matter gets mixed with the fluid, impacting the pump’s overall operational efficiency. The absence of a particle filter can allow contaminants into the hydraulic system, taking the form of gas, liquid, or solid. This speeds up the rate of wear and tear.

Too Much Pressure:

Hydraulic pumps are designed to perform at specific pressure levels. If pressures get too high, the pump ends up pushing against the other components, resulting in faster wear and tear of the pump and ultimately, permanent failure.


This refers to the air bubbles within the hydraulic fluid. They’re exposed to the pressure within the pump can lead to an implosion. That will remove the metal debris from the components and raise the temperature to dangerous levels.

Pump Aeration:

This happens when any trapped air in the hydraulic fluid gets sucked into the pump through faulty shaft seals or joints. This results in a high-pitched sound that will rise as the pressures increases. Too much pump aeration will turn the hydraulic fluid milky while making other components within the system unstable.


Different from the one mentioned previously. If the air bubbles within the hydraulic fluid are subjected to system pressure, the bubbles can collapse inward instantly, generating intense shock waves. This can result in serious damage to the hydraulic pump.


When hydraulic fluid doesn’t fill the space within the pump completely, possibly due to the pump moving too quickly, an intake line that’s too long or restricted or high fluid viscosity, cavitation occurs. It can produce the same high-pitched sound as an aeration issue.

Poor Viscosity:

A specific level of viscosity needs to be maintained at all times within a hydraulic pump. If levels rise too much, it can cause cavitation. However, if viscosity levels are too low, too much heat will be produced, causing leaking.

Excessive Heat:

While often a side effect of other problems resulting in hydraulic failure, it can also be a cause. Too much heat is a warning sign that something isn’t working correctly and needs to be investigated immediately.

Prevention Methods:

The best way to prevent a hydraulic failure is to make sure the oil within the system is properly maintained, as it’s the most important component of any hydraulic system. Doing this can save you thousands of dollars in repairs and replacement fees. Make sure the hydraulic oil is filtered properly so it can effectively remove contaminants. And keep it cool, as heat has a tendency to reduce the efficiency of oil through oxidation and other factors.

At GO Hydraulics, our experts have over 30 years of experience specializing in repairing and reconstructing hydraulic components. Pumps, motors, cylinders, valves, and hydrostatic transmissions are no problem for us. Focused on manufacturing, automotive, agriculture, and mobile industries, call us today for a free quote.