How to Check Heavy Equipment Hydraulic Fluid Levels

You undoubtedly know the importance of hydraulic fluid when it comes to heavy machinery. As your machine’s hydraulic fluid is depleted, it becomes more difficult to properly lubricate the moving parts. In fact, the dirt and debris that your hydraulic fluid picks up can damage your hydraulic system in Houston, TX. Keeping your engines’ fluid levels topped up is the key to keeping your equipment in great shape.

Here’s how to check some of the most common heavy equipment hydraulic fluid levels. As always, make sure that your fluid level does not exceed the maximum—that can have an equally problematic effect:

  • Backhoes: Most backhoe models have a sight glass, but some use a dipstick for checking fluid levels. Park your backhoe on a level surface; check your manufacturer’s recommendations to see if you need to extend the bucket to the ground. Then ensure the fluid is above the minimum level using either the sight glass or the dipstick.
  • Boom trucks: Park and let the engine idle. Shift the transmission to neutral and lower the boom. Remove the engine dipstick and check to see if the oil is in the “hot” zone. If not, top the hydraulic fluid off and replace the dipstick to check again. Once the fluid is at the correct level, you’re ready to go.
  • Dump trucks: Always make sure you’re using the proper type of hydraulic fluid, which is usually printed on the reservoir. Check your hydraulic levels by using either the sight glass or dipstick. If you need to add fluid, be sure to cycle the hoist several times. This gets rid of air within the hydraulic system, and reduces the possibility of injury or death.
  • Excavators: Check your manufacturer’s recommendations before you begin, and park your excavator on a level surface. You may need to extend the bucket cylinder before you can get a clear reading, depending on your excavator type. Then locate the hydraulic oil tank and check to make sure the fluid is between the minimum and maximum level markings.
  • Forklifts: Park on a level surface and lower the fork to the ground. Use the right dipstick (whether pneumatic or cushion) for your forklift, and check to make sure the fluid levels are in the appropriate range. If it needs to be topped off, use the manufacturer’s recommended fluid type.
  • Garbage trucks: Like the other heavy equipment mentioned here, you’ll need to park your garbage truck on a flat, level surface and locate the hydraulic cylinders. Depending on the make and model, you may have a sight glass or dipstick options. Ensure that the fluid is at the appropriate level, and top off if needed.

All heavy equipment needs its hydraulic fluid drained and flushed at least twice per year, if not more. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations to learn more about the process and recommended fluid.

When you need hydraulic fluid and or equipment repair in Houston, TX, get in touch with the team at Sapphire Hydraulics today. We look forward to assisting you!