Troubleshooting Guide: What to Check if Your Hydraulic System is Not Working

January 12, 2024


Hydraulic systems play a critical role in various industries, powering machinery and equipment with precision and efficiency. When a hydraulic system malfunctions, it can lead to downtime, decreased productivity, and increased maintenance costs. To minimize these disruptions, it’s essential to know how to troubleshoot and identify the root causes of the problem. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key steps to take when your hydraulic system is not working as expected.

Fluid Levels and Quality:

The first and simplest step is to check the hydraulic fluid levels. Low fluid levels or contaminated fluid can significantly impact system performance. Ensure that the fluid is at the correct level and that it meets the recommended specifications for your system. Contaminants such as dirt, water, or air can degrade fluid quality, leading to issues. Regular fluid analysis and timely replacement are crucial for maintaining a healthy hydraulic system.


Hydraulic leaks are a common issue and can cause a loss of fluid pressure. Inspect the system for visible leaks and pay close attention to hose connections, fittings, and seals. Leaks can occur due to wear and tear, damaged components, or loose connections. Addressing leaks promptly is crucial to prevent further damage and maintain system integrity.

Pressure Issues:

Check the system’s pressure levels using a pressure gauge. Low pressure could indicate a problem with the pump, while high pressure might point to a blockage or a malfunctioning relief valve. Ensure that the pressure settings are within the manufacturer’s specifications. If the pressure is outside the recommended range, it’s essential to investigate the root cause and make the necessary adjustments or repairs.

Filter Conditions:

Hydraulic filters are designed to trap contaminants and prevent them from circulating through the system. Over time, filters can become clogged, affecting fluid flow and system performance. Regularly inspect and replace filters as needed. A clogged filter can lead to increased pressure differentials, reduced efficiency, and potential damage to other components.

Pump Operation:

The hydraulic pump is the heart of the system, and its proper functioning is crucial. Check for unusual noises, vibrations, or overheating, as these could indicate pump issues. Inspect the pump for leaks and ensure that it is supplying an adequate amount of fluid at the right pressure. If there are concerns about the pump, consult the manufacturer’s documentation for troubleshooting guidance or consider seeking professional assistance.

Valve Functionality:

Valves control the flow of hydraulic fluid within the system. Malfunctioning valves can lead to erratic operation or a complete system failure. Inspect all valves for proper functioning, including directional control valves, relief valves, and check valves. Clean or replace valves that show signs of wear, and ensure that they are properly adjusted according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Cylinder and Actuator Conditions:

Hydraulic cylinders and actuators are responsible for converting fluid power into mechanical motion. Check for leaks, damaged seals, or misalignment in these components. Regular maintenance, lubrication, and proper alignment are essential to ensure the longevity and efficiency of cylinders and actuators.


Regular maintenance and systematic troubleshooting are essential for keeping hydraulic systems in optimal working condition. By addressing issues promptly and following a comprehensive checklist, you can minimize downtime, reduce repair costs, and extend the life of your hydraulic equipment. Remember, when in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s documentation or seek the expertise of a qualified hydraulic system professional. And contact us for more information about hydraulic system and its functionality.

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