What do you do with Hydraulic failure in specialist vehicles?

machinery with hydraulic hoses

Reliability in construction and mining vehicles is fundamental. The inability to prevent unexpected breakdowns and repairs is costly. The costs involved include prolonged downtime and project extensions, so the question is how to prevent these losses.

Heavy engineering equipment is comprised of complex systems. Within these systems are yet more systems and components, all relying on each other to keep the equipment working. Issues with hydraulics systems don’t just affect one area of operations. If one area is down, how does that affect another area? Particulates can shut down operations for both construction and mining sites. Whether it’s a forklift hydraulic failure, hydraulic hose damage, or problems with hydraulic line fittings, you need to have preventative measures in place.

Preventative maintenance

Ensuring that your hydraulics system runs smoothly involves regular checks. By “regular,” we mean every day. This involves paying attention to the hydraulic system when operating a construction or mining vehicle. Pay attention to the site, such as temperature. If your vehicle operates 24 hours around the clock, then frequent preventative maintenance is a must, preferably after work.

Create a timetable so that this becomes part of scheduling. Anyone carrying out maintenance should be fully trained so that they have the knowledge to recognise problems and just as importantly, potential problems, and carry out any repairs needed.

What your maintenance program should include:

  • Change the hydraulic filter
  • Filter the hydraulic fluid
  • Clean the hydraulic reservoir’s interior and exterior
  • Check and record hydraulic pressures and pump flow
  • Examine your hydraulic hoses, tubing and fittings for any damage, no matter how slight
  • Record voltage readings
  • Record amperage and vacuums
  • Record machine cycle time

Why do parts of a hose fail?

Here are the most common hose-damage types, and how you can help protect your heavy engineering applications.

Threat: hydraulic hose failure modes

Solution: hydraulic hose components

Aging due to thermal exposure

Extreme heat and exposure to sunlight, oxygen, ozone and moisture can degrade the properties of the hose material. The result is a hose that becomes hard and brittle before cracking.

Fire protection sleeves

Protects and bundles hoses, tubes and cables in hostile environments.


This is typically caused by hoses rubbing against each other or another surface, which is sometimes caused by vibration or when hoses are pressurised. The continuous contact leads to the hose exterior wearing away until it results in leaks.

Hose protection sleeves – mining safety approved

Hydraulic-hose protection sleeves that meet MSHA requirements.

Hose protectors

Protects against point of contact wear with abrasive surfaces.

Damage on site

Chunks and pieces of concrete, earth, rocks and other materials can damage hoses left unprotected.

Spiralguard® hose protectors

Spiral wrap with excellent recovery memory to maximise hose coverage and exceptional anti-crushing performance. Hydraulic-hose protection wrap also available in mining safety approved version.


Contaminants in hydraulic fluids can cause sluggish system operations, leading to degradation failure. It can also restrict moving parts and clog passages.

Quick release caps

Attaches to the hose, providing excellent protection against dirt, moisture and corrosion.

Failure to meet minimum bend radius

Bending hose beyond its rated bend radius restricts flow. This not only reduces the life of the hose, but causes kinking and ultimately, failure.


Hose bend restrictors

Reduces bending stress near the hose coupling junction, where hose failures typically occur.

Wear and tear

With use comes wear and tear. It’s natural and can’t really be prevented. You can, however, reduce the likelihood of failure happening at the wrong time by using components that prolong the life of your hose.

T-bolt hose clamps

Hydraulic-hose clamps designed to provide a dependable seal on larger diameter hoses where high vibration occurs.

Hose and tubing cinch straps

Hook-and-loop closure holds hoses securely while allowing the hoses to expand or contract during start-up

or shutdown.


What if a problem happens on the spot?

If you’ve carried out regular maintenance and used the recommended components, you should be safe from unexpected problems. But in the off chance it still happens, you might need to carry out an emergency repair. First, you need to ensure safety for yourself and colleagues. Use the infographic below as a guide.


Now you’re ready to proceed with your repair.

How to fix a hydraulic hose leak

  • Locate the leak: Never use your hand to do this. Pressurised fluid can cause serious injury even if wearing protective gloves. Use a piece of cardboard and check carefully. Where fluid is dripping might not be where the leak is.
  • Depressurise the system: Turning off the vehicle or equipment is not enough. Make sure the pressure is released to avoid a hazardous situation.
  • Hose identification: Your vehicle might use different types of hydraulic hoses with varying minimal pressure ratings. Your first step is to identify the specifications that the hose you’re repairing must meet. This should be easy, as all hydraulic hoses state the minimum operating and maximum burst pressures. Note: even as a quick fix, it’s dangerous to use an incorrect hose.
  • Cut off the damaged area: Cut the hose off from where the leak occurs. Clean the area thoroughly, including any fittings. Remember, one speck of dust can cause system failure.
  • Splice in a shorter hose assembly: The hose you splice in makes up for the hose that you cut away.
  • Use a hydraulic hose connector: Use the correct type for your hose. (This is why it’s smart to always keep different connectors at hand.) Install the connectors into the relevant ports. Make sure not to over- or under-torque.
  • Create a seal: Make sure there are no gaps and the seal is secure. Do not twist the hose during installation. Use a wrench to tighten the fitting.
  • Check for leaks: Circulate fluid at low pressure to look for leaks. This will also discharge any remaining air.

Changing hydraulic hoses

Never try to repair a hydraulic hose burst. It’s exceeded its service life, so replace it. The steps are similar to the ones we’ve just given.

After depressurising the system:

  1. Remove the hose: Now loosen the hydraulic system fittings that attach the hose to the vehicle or equipment. Only the fitting should turn as you loosen. Have a bucket handy to capture leaking fluid.
  2. Plug the fittings: To prevent fluid leaks and dirt and debris from infiltrating your system, plug the fittings. Ideally, you already have plugs specific to the fittings. If not, get the plugs you need before carrying out the work.
  3. Match the hose specifications: You want to replace like for like, so note the specifications listed on the hose and match it with a new hose.
  4. Install the new hose: Make sure you use plugs on the hose to prevent dust and dirt ingress. Replace the fittings, along with any clamps.
  5. Check for leaks. At low pressure, begin circulating fluid. Use cardboard to check for leaks.

Download free CADs and try before you buy

Free CADs are available for most solutions, which you can download. You can also request free samples to make sure you’ve chosen exactly what you need. If you’re not quite sure which solution will work best for your application, our experts are always happy to advise you.

Whatever your requirements, you can depend on fast despatch. Request your free samples or download free CADs now.


Email us at sales@essentracomponents.com or speak to one of our experts for further information on the ideal solution for your application 800-847-0486.