Hydraulic fluid isn’t only used as a lubricant but it is also used to transfer power through any of the hydraulic systems found in your vehicle. Given the dual purposes which hydraulic fluid fulfils, it is a very unique fluid and is found to be used in many different cases.
The hydraulic fluid Supercheap Auto has on range is primarily for use in industrial machinery.
What Does Hydraulic Fluid Do?
Hydraulic fluid plays many different parts in order to ensure that machinery functions smoothly. Some of these roles are:
- Transferring heat away from and between components
- Transferring power between components
- Lubricating components
There are different chemical compositions of hydraulic fluid and whichever roles the fluid can play depends on its makeup. This can range from basic water-based fluids (which are typically found in machinery where there’s a fire risk) to full synthetic fluids (which are typically used to control both pressure and temperature).
What Hydraulic Fluids Do I Need?
Which hydraulic fluid you use depends on what it will be used for. It’s not easy to provide a specific hydraulic fluid given how different machines have different needs, but below we have provided a breakdown on some of the things to consider when purchasing a hydraulic fluid.
- The starting viscosity of the hydraulic fluid when it is at minimum ambient temperature.
- The maximum operating temperature of the hydraulic fluid. The maximum ambient temperature will have an influence on this.
- Detergents. Detergents can be both good and bad. Detergents have the ability to emulsify water. This means that if water gets into the system then it won’t be separated from the fluid. Unfortunately, this means that the fluid will age at a much faster rate which can contribute to the corrosion in the system.
- Anti-wear. Although this might seem like something to look for straight away, the presence of an anti-wear additive can sometimes be a bad thing. Some anti-wear additives attack certain metals which can reduce the effectiveness of the hydraulic fluid.
For many industrial machinery uses, anti-wear properties plus the appropriate ISO viscosity are the key requirements for finding a suitable hydraulic fluid. Typical ISO viscosities are 32, 46 & 68. ISO stands for International Standardisation Organisation and is the system chosen by industry for measuring the viscosity of hydraulic fluids. Most hydraulic fluids will have similar performance characteristics with the higher the ISO number, the thicker the fluid being.
For the best advice regarding which hydraulic fluid you should use, always check your user manual.
Why Do I Need To Change My Hydraulic Fluid?
As happens with the other lubricants, hydraulic fluid slowly breaks down the more that it is used. Typically, this is due to the heat given off by the engine, water contamination, the additives degrading, and any other contaminants which are gathered along the way.
As with engine oil, hydraulic fluid plays an important part of any system. This fluid is the lifeblood of your machine / system, you need to make sure that this is being replaced at its recommended service interval to ensure that your machine runs at its optimal performance.
How Are Hydraulic Fluids Different To Normal Fluids?
Without overcomplicating this description, hydraulic fluids have a very low compressibility and are able to maintain both viscosity and friction while it is under pressure. This is because the fluid is used for two main purposes: power transferring and lubricating components.
Even though engine oils are developed so that they have a high resistance to heat, these hydraulic fluids tend to have better lubrication and resistance towards burning during combustion.
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