There are three key factors to consider when looking to extend the lifespan of hydraulic oil. Once these are applied, your hydraulic system is likely to improve its reliability and you’ll be in a better position for decreasing maintenance costs. Choose the right oil The purpose of hydraulic oil is not just to be a lubricant, but it’s also the medium through which power is transferred through the system. The requirement for being able to perform both of these roles means that viscosity and VI (viscosity index) become of primary importance. Both of these make a monumental difference when it comes to the service life of your machine and its performance. As some of you will already be aware, viscosity is the measurement of the oil’s resistance to flow. The Viscosity index is more about how the viscosity of the oil is affected by temperature change. The climate comes into consideration when selecting an oil. The viscosity needs to be at the right level in order to flow properly from a cold start and in colder weather. But if it’s too low, then you’ll have issues during the hotter days when your machine won’t be lubricated enough. As if that wasn’t complicated enough, there also needs to be consideration for loss of power and not enough lubrication if the right oil isn’t used. If the viscosity isn’t right, there will be mechanical friction and loss of further power. So how will you know which oil is the best one for your hydraulic system? Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as following the advice printed in the hydraulic system’s handbook that you may have received from the manufacturer. The best way to gauge whether your oil is suited to your machine, within your climate and in its location in your building, is by checking the actual temperature of your machine’s fluid. The temperature should be inside the window for optimum operation. It should also be less than the maximum operating temperature. If you find that your operating temperatures are not within the guidelines, then it’s most likely that you’ll need to try different oil.