Common Issues With Hydraulic Drives

When you work with big machines like Bobcats, forklifts, excavators, and more, you know the importance of every part of the machine working properly. There are a ton of reasons it’s important to regularly service your machines, and one of the most important factors in heavy equipment performance is the health and functionality of its hydraulic drive. Check out this guide to learn the most common issues with hydraulic drives to look out for.

Fluid levels depleting

When you have to frequently refill the fluid levels of your machine, there is a good chance you have a leak in your hydraulic drive system. A hydraulic system needs to function properly for the machine to run smoothly and safely. Be sure to check your fluid levels often and get your hydraulic drive system serviced by professionals if you notice fluid depletion at a rate that may indicate a leak.


Your hydraulic drive can actually become contaminated which can seriously inhibit the drive’s ability to function properly and can even lead to early drive failure. There are many different types of hydraulic drive motor contamination which you should look out for, including built-in contamination. No drive motor is safe from contamination—not even a brand-new one—so be sure to thoroughly check every drive motor your machines use to ensure the safety and longevity of both your hydraulic drive and your machine.

Heat degradation

When your fluid levels are fine, but your system still seems to fail and overheat, the problem is most likely heat degradation. This is when your hydraulic drive motor system cannot dissipate heat and, instead of utilizing the reservoir and a heat exchanger, the heat will cause the fluid to thin. Thin fluid cannot properly lubricate your drive motor and will quickly lead to malfunctions and failures due to overheating.

There are many ways to ensure your hydraulic drive motor system stays healthy and functions properly. Always service your machines on a regular schedule and take them to an authorized mechanic at the first signs of trouble.

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