A Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic machine has numerous moving parts that require maintenance. Maintaining a hydraulic system effectively is quite complex. Adding to the challenge is the need to keep the machine’s schematic diagrams accurate. While hydraulic (and electrical) schematic diagrams don’t physically wear out, they often become inaccurate over time.

Even without a major overhaul or redesign, minor changes are commonly made to the Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic circuit throughout the machine’s lifespan. These changes can include modifications such as changing the make or model of components, adjusting filtration by adding or removing elements (e.g., a suction strainer), re-routing conductors like drain lines, adding cooling capacity, or installing pressure test points, oil sample points, and other maintenance accessories.

Ideally, drawings should be updated whenever changes are made. However, this is often difficult, especially if the drawings are not in electronic format or if the necessary software for modifications is unavailable. Nonetheless, there’s no excuse for not keeping a change log. At its simplest, a change log is a written record detailing what was changed, by whom, and when. This ensures that even if the drawing itself is not up-to-date, there is an accompanying list indicating which parts of the drawing are no longer accurate. This log is valuable for Car Lift Repair Orlando technicians using the drawing for troubleshooting and can be used by a drawing office to update the diagram accurately later on.

Last Saturday afternoon, I spent time sweating in the hydraulic shop, which I must admit, had been neglected over the winter and was in need of some serious TLC. Here in the southern hemisphere, spring has fully arrived and summer is just around the corner. On the flip side, for our members in the northern hemisphere, it’s now fall with winter quickly approaching.

Seasonal changes often prompt us to reflect in various ways. Years ago, while working in the hydraulic repair business, we anticipated summer as our busiest season. The long, hot Australian summer stresses hydraulic equipment similarly to how a sudden heat wave can affect the young and elderly. Just like people, equipment that performed well in cooler months can start experiencing issues or fail completely in the heat.

It seems that many hydraulic equipment owners and operators are not fully aware of, or attuned to, the impact seasonal changes can have on their machines’ performance and reliability. Consequently, they don’t make the necessary adjustments. In an ideal world, every piece of hydraulic equipment would work flawlessly year-round, but that’s not the reality.

If you’re in the southern hemisphere, now is an excellent time to clean out the heat exchanger’s core and check your equipment. Dig out your heat gun, replace the batteries, and take a few temperature readings to assess the situation.

For those closer to the north pole than the equator, it’s a good time to consider low-temperature oil viscosity, potentially switching to a lighter weight or all-season multigrade oil. Ensure the oil is dry (ice in the hydraulic tank is problematic) and check that the tank heater is functioning properly.

As I often remind hydraulics users here and elsewhere, heat, or energy contamination, is the number one enemy of every hydraulic system. It poses a greater threat to system longevity and reliability today than particle and water contamination, thanks to the widespread adoption of modern filtration technologies.

Proper lubrication of Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic components and efficient power transmission depend on maintaining appropriate oil viscosity. If the system’s operating temperature exceeds the level required to maintain viscosity at around 20 centistokes, the risk of boundary lubrication conditions—and the resulting friction and wear—increases significantly.

The critical temperature at which viscosity becomes problematic depends on the oil’s viscosity grade (weight) and its viscosity index, which indicates how the oil’s viscosity changes with temperature. Therefore, the danger temperature can vary depending on the specific oil used in the system.

However, when it comes to oil, seal, and hose life, the upper limit of safe operating temperatures is less flexible. According to Arrhenius’s Law, for every 10°C increase in temperature, the rate of chemical reactions doubles. The key reactions concerning hydraulic oil are oxidation (due to air) and hydrolysis (due to water presence). Thus, higher temperatures accelerate these reactions exponentially.

While elastomers used in Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic seals and hoses are continuously improving, oil temperatures above 82°C (180°F) accelerate the degradation of most polymers. According to seal manufacturer Parker Pradifa, operating temperatures 10°C above recommended limits can reduce seal life by 80% or more. Similarly, hose manufacturer Gates states that exposing a hydraulic hose to operating temperatures 10°C above its maximum recommended level cuts its expected service life by 50%. A single significant over-temperature event can damage all hoses and seals, degrade the oil, and cause wear on lubricated surfaces.

So, what is the danger temperature for hydraulic systems? To avoid compromising oil, hose, and seal life, I recommend a maximum of 85°C (185°F). However, to prevent issues with viscosity, lubrication, and efficiency, a much lower temperature may need to be maintained—anywhere from 85°C (185°F) down to around 50°C (122°F) or lower, depending on the oil type and grade and the machine’s operating conditions. If you are responsible for hydraulic equipment, knowing this lower temperature threshold is crucial to avoid costly mistakes.

A new Car Lift Repair Orlando client, a hydraulic repair technician, consulted me regarding the failure of one of their piston pump rebuilds. Although they didn’t install the pump, when the failed unit was returned for inspection, it was clear that the drive coupling had been forcefully hammered onto the pump’s drive shaft.

(For those unfamiliar with this, it’s a really poor practice. If you encounter a coupling that’s tight on its shaft, do NOT use a hammer—use emery paper to adjust it. This advice applies to any piece of rotating equipment, not just hydraulic pumps or motors).

Naturally, my client wanted to know how the damaged drive shaft might have contributed to the pump’s failure. That’s a lengthy topic for another time.

I mention this because another client recently asked me for a commissioning procedure or checklist to provide to their customers with every rebuilt hydraulic component.

All Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic repairers should provide such checklists to prevent unnecessary ‘infant mortalities’ and the resulting warranty claims. This is a practice I implemented at the hydraulic repair shop I managed 15 years ago, and I advocate for all hydraulic equipment users in my book, *Insider Secrets to Hydraulics*.