Hydraulic Fluid Levels

We here at Smith’s Hydraulics get a sizable amount of hydraulic repair jobs from customers who are fed up with their machines constantly giving them trouble. We’d like to make it an obligation of ours to develop a troubleshooting/repair method that every customer can follow when dealing with hydraulic malfunction or failure. This post will cover step one – it’s definitely the first step everyone should take when these sorts of issues rear their ugly heads:

Check, Double Check, and Triple Check
Hydraulic Fluid Levels

It might even be advantageous to check the levels a fourth time. We cannot stress the importance of acceptable fluid levels enough. We know that you can’t physically check hydraulic fluid levels three or four times before every round of machinery operation – no one has time for that – so we’ve come up with some handy habits that’ll help you stay on top of fluid levels without distractions and breaks from your real work.

Check the Levels in the Morning

This is usually the go-to solution for many hard-working folks who want to be sure they aren’t running their machines in the red. This method is best practiced as part of a broader morning check-up routine, but there is no harm in doing it separate if you have the time. It also becomes either extremely dangerous or physically impossible to check fluid levels at the end the day because of the heat produced by the system during operation. So, go ahead and check it early – if you can.

Make use of a Visual ReminderHydraulic_fluid_reminder

There is a reason sticky notes are incredibly effective for organization. Visual reminders prompt action because it’s very difficult to ignore them. To help you remember to regularly check the hydraulic fluid levels of your machines, consider placing empty fluid containers in places they shouldn’t be. Your immediate response to the odd placement will be to move it – but, then, you’ll remember why you put it there in the first place.

Keep the Fluid on “The Line”

Most hydraulic systems will feature some sort of gauge, or measurement lines to let you know when the right amount of fluid has been deposited. Making these lines (or gauge) more accessible to your eyes is a great way to ensure that you never run a machine low on fluid. This can be done in one of two ways:

– You can position the machine deliberately for this purpose (making it simple to walk by and quick-check the machine for low fluid levels).


– If it isn’t a static machine (as is often the case) you can make use of a variety of sight gauges such as these to better check the levels before machine operation.

Both of these methods will make a tank’s levels visible and accessible – and that’s your goal.

Why this step is important

A good chunk of our repair jobs find their way to us because machine owners have run the systems in the red for far too long. Of course, the systems are not designed to function this way – and so, malfunctions occur more often than is normal. If you suspect that you’ve run the system low on fluid for extended periods, report this information to the Repair Service you’ve chosen. It’s handy information to have.

After you’ve assessed the effect of fluid levels on your system, move on to…

Hydraulic Troubleshooting Step Two – Filters, Filters, and more Filters

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