If you want to overcome enormous problems (or eat giant cakes); you have to do it one small bite at a time. Fault finding in your hydraulic system is no different.

If you break large and seemingly complex systems into smaller, manageable tasks, you can solve the most difficult of problems.

In the most common hydraulic systems we come across; you’ll usually find the system breaks down into the following components:

  • An engine or electric motor (known as the prime mover)
  • Control gear
  • The hydraulic pump
  • Pressure flow
  • Relief valve
  • Other motor or cylinder

When assessed as a whole; maintaining your machinery seems like an impossible task best left to experts.

The same could be said of any task or activity where you compare the skills of a novice with the proficiency of an expert but neverthless, the novice can contribute enormously to the smooth running of hydraulic machines with some best practices.

The main point to note however, is that whilst a novice may be able to find faults and resolve them eventually, the expert will ensure downtime is minimal and repairs or maintenance are sound.

As with all things; there is no substitute for experience – except perhaps dogged determination!


Here are some of our best tips for the novice looking to perform fault-finding on his own machinery:

Test Motors:
Motors should be tested for performance and leakage regularly. A defective motor is one where the flow is correct but the speed is slow.

Test Pumps:
Blocked suction filters are a common problem with pumps and you’ll usually find a pump loses about 30% of its flow when this happens.

Test Valves:
If flow decreases it usually means there is a leak somewhere. Leaks can cause significant reduction in performance. Such leaks could be down to a broken or worn spool, cracked seating or other problems including leaking seals on a cylinder. You may also find whilst testing valves the relief valve pressure and control valve leakage will become apparent, which generally indicates some components need replacing within the system.

Test Cylinders:
If the cylinder appears slow in operation or ‘creeps’ under load as if it were under great strain, then this usually means there is a problem with the cylinder seals or control valve function.

This is not an exhaustive list of faults, just some of the more common problems we come across in our routine servicing visits.


It may seem like a lot can go wrong and honestly, it can, but if your system is maintained regularly then most of these common problems can be avoided.

It is always best to prevent, rather than cure after the fact!

To book a call with one of our on-site engineers, visit https://hyserve.co.uk/service or call us on 0191 4876691.