Causes of Hydraulic Motor Failure

Causes of Hydraulic Motor Failure
  • Opening Intro -

    Unusual noises. Cylinders working erratically. Internal and external leaks.

    When these things occur in your hydraulic motor, it is a sign that the motor may be failing.


When hydraulic motors fail, it can be costly for your operation—both for the repair work needing to be done and for the loss of productivity. Knowing the causes of hydraulic motor failure can help prevent or lessen machine downtime for a more productive operation.

Motor Contamination

One of the more common causes of hydraulic motor failure is motor contamination. Motor contamination occurs when contaminants enter a hydraulic system.

Contaminants may include mixed hydraulic fluids or outside material such as sand, dirt, silica, or even air and water. These may enter the system after the motor has not been in use for some time or before the motor was even purchased.

Although some contamination is inevitable, knowing the different types of motor contamination can help you reduce contamination levels.

For instance, being aware that contamination may come built into a system at the time of purchase may lead you to flush a system before you begin operations.

The best ways to prevent motor contamination are installing filters, leaving ports closed while work is being done, and maintaining proper maintenance.

Extreme Temperature

Because hydraulic systems run on fluid, they are greatly impacted by temperature. High temperatures can cause the fluids to lose their viscosity or to undergo oxidation which impacts the stability of the fluid.

On the other side of the spectrum, extreme cold can cause both fluids and lubricants to freeze, rendering them unable to flow through the system or prevent abrasion. Cold also has the potential to damage the rubber that makes up the seals, leading to leaks.

In instances of extreme heat, it may be necessary to reduce the load on a system, purchase a larger heat exchanger, or install a fan to help circulate air within the unit. Painting the machine may also help reduce heat build-up.

In extreme cold, allowing the machine to warm up is key to avoid fluid freeze.  Operators should also regularly monitor seals on the machine to catch any potential damage.

other valuable tips:


In any mechanical system, parts are constantly rubbing against each other, and this wears them down over time. Proper lubrication within the motor is essential for reducing friction to slow down wear on the motor. Reducing friction also helps reduce heat, preventing the damages previously mentioned from extreme temperatures.

But metal parts are not the only ones impacted by abrasion. Hoses are made of material far less able to withstand abrasion than metal. Even hoses made with anti-wear coverings can still be worn down if installed incorrectly.

When installing or reinstalling hoses, it is crucial that you place these hoses in a position where they do not rub against other parts of the engine such as other metal parts and even other hoses.

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