Diagnosing Forklift Hydraulic Cylinder Failures

Diagnosing Forklift Hydraulic Cylinder Failures


Hydraulic cylinders are a crucial component of forklifts, providing the necessary power for lifting and moving heavy loads. However, these cylinders can fail for a variety of reasons, leading to reduced performance and even safety hazards. In this article, we will explore the common causes of forklift hydraulic cylinder failures and how to diagnose them.


One of the most common causes of hydraulic cylinder failure is overheating. This can be caused by a number of factors, including excessive use, low fluid levels, or a damaged cylinder seal. When the cylinder overheats, the fluid can break down, leading to reduced lubrication and increased wear and tear on the internal components. To diagnose an overheating cylinder, check the fluid levels and look for signs of leakage or damage to the seals.


Contaminants such as dirt, dust, and water can also cause hydraulic cylinder failures. This can lead to corrosion and damage to the cylinder walls, as well as reduced performance and efficiency. To diagnose contamination, inspect the cylinder for signs of rust or pitting, and check the fluid for any foreign particles or discoloration.

Worn Seals and Gaskets

Over time, the seals and gaskets in a hydraulic cylinder can wear down, leading to leaks and reduced performance. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including high temperatures, excessive pressure, and poor maintenance. To diagnose worn seals and gaskets, inspect the cylinder for signs of leakage and check the fluid levels and quality.

Scored Rods

Scored rods can also lead to hydraulic cylinder failure, as they can cause damage to the seals and other internal components. This can be caused by contaminants in the fluid, as well as improper handling or use. To diagnose scored rods, inspect the cylinder for signs of wear and damage to the rod and seals.


By understanding the common causes of forklift hydraulic cylinder failures, you can take steps to diagnose and prevent these issues. Regular maintenance and inspections, as well as proper use and handling, can help extend the life of your hydraulic cylinders and keep your forklifts running smoothly and safely.

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Q: How often should hydraulic cylinders be inspected?

A: Hydraulic cylinders should be inspected at least once a year, or more frequently if they are subjected to heavy use or harsh conditions.

Q: Can hydraulic cylinder failures be prevented?

A: Yes, many hydraulic cylinder failures can be prevented through proper maintenance and use. Regular inspections, fluid changes, and timely repairs can help extend the life of your cylinders and prevent costly failures.

Q: What should be done if a hydraulic cylinder fails?

A: If a hydraulic cylinder fails, it should be immediately taken out of service and inspected by a qualified technician. Repairs should be made promptly to prevent further damage or safety hazards.

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