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In current situation of fast growing industries, we are very much dependent on hydraulic power and for utilizing hydraulic power, we use hydraulic system. 

Hydraulic units are assumed as the prime consumer of hydraulic oil and in other way we may also say that in order to run hydraulic system; we must have to concentrate on costing of oil make-up in system.  

Have you ever try to think, what would be actual cost of one or more than one minor leaks in your hydraulic system

I am sure, very less maintenance people consider the costing of a minor hydraulic oil leak. So let me come to the point without wasting your precious time. In order to understand the real cost of hydraulic oil leaks, we must have to understand the cost of each factor.
  1. Make-up oil
  2. Clean-up
  3. Disposal 
  4. Safety
  5. Contaminant ingress

Make-up fluid

Make-up fluid means to maintain the optimum level of hydraulic oil in hydraulic unit. When we consider the costing of hydraulic oil leakage, in my point of view, we must have to consider this factor very seriously because we have to maintain the oil level in hydraulic unit for smooth working of system and hydraulic oil leakage will surely increase the cost of maintaining the oil level in system.

Now you will have one question, why is it so important to consider the cost of make-up oil????
Let us understand the answer with one example. 

Suppose, we have one equipment which is driven by hydraulic unit and there is one leakage from a hose pipe fitting and I am sure it will require thorough inspection to secure the source of leak. Let us think that source of hydraulic leak is creating 6 drops in one minute. Let us assume that one drop consist 1 milliliter hydraulic oil. 

So, how much hydraulic oil would be lost due to this one single leak in one month (30 days)?
Answer will be, 259.20 Liters of hydraulic oil. Hence if we consider for one year i.e. 365 days, hydraulic oil leak will yield 3153.6 L. If we consider, the cost of hydraulic oil is $2 / Ltr. 

The cost of hydraulic oil leak for complete one year would be $ 6307.2

Clean-up cost

Now we will think again, what cost is this and why we have to consider? So let us try to understand what costs are associated with this factor 

As we have discussed earlier, we have one equipment driven by hydraulic unit and having one hydraulic leak. Leaks might be more than one also if we are not maintaining the hydraulic unit properly.  

So if we have hydraulic unit with one or more than one hydraulic leak, we must have to consider the cost associated with this factor and these are as mentioned below. 

  1. Cleaning or housekeeping manpower cost. 
  2. Cost in maintaining and operating the equipment those are used as cleaning resources. 
  3. Consumables for example cotton waste, detergent and water. If we sum each and everything related to clean-up factor, cost would be approximate $500 to $550 for complete one year. 

Transportation and disposal

Disposal of waste hydraulic oil is not so much easy, each country is very strict to teach each citizen to follow the policy for protecting the environment and we cannot dispose the hydraulic oil by going beyond the policy of environment protection. 

We must have to follow the rules of ISO 14001 for disposing the waste oil. There are some organizations such as “Safetykleen” and these organizations are in business of collecting the waste oil and they will re-process the collected oil for using as base oil. 

Let us think that transportation cost and disposing cost of one litter of hydraulic oil is approximate $1/2. We have discussed above in an example of hydraulic leak in the section of make-up fluid that total 3153.6L hydraulic oil are generated as waste oil in one complete year then what would be the transportation and disposal cost for above example ? 

Our answer will be $1576.8
It is understood that we are giving $1576.8 for the transportation and disposal of waste oil by considering above example.


If we consider above example of hydraulic leak, it could be dangerous for our life also or we may say that it will create safety hazard. Now we will ask same question, how hydraulic leak might be the safety hazard? 

Let us think above example where we have discussed the hydraulic oil leaks. If we are not avoiding the hydraulic leak, we will not be able to carry out the maintenance activities comfortably.

I have remembered one case and I want to share with you. I have seen one organisation, dealing for steel scraps, using tower crane for feeding the scraps in a shredding machine. Maintenance crew was doing some maintenance activities and there were multiple leakage of hydraulic oil in tower crane machine house. 

They were cutting one plate by gas cutting process and unfortunately the cutting slag and hot metal touched the accumulated leak oil and by same time one hydraulic hose got fire and situations was going uncontrolled within 5 minutes. 

Maintenance crew was very lucky that they secured the fire fighting hose and they control the situation without any injury but there consumed about $5069, without considering the downtime time and manpower cost ,for restoring the crane health. 

If we consider deeply, I am sure there will be much more safety threat due to hydraulic leaks. Hence, it is very important to consider this factor when we study the real cost of hydraulic leaks in hydraulic unit.

Contaminant ingress

Where ever hydraulic oil leak occur and care would not be taken, it might be the prime reason for damaging the hydraulic component as when hydraulic leak occur , oil will be accumulated around the hydraulic component such as valve bank , pressure gauge , mini-max hoses and other hose pipe. 

Foreign particle might be inserted with waste leak hydraulic oil and can damage the components. 

We may also face problem in routine inspection and in case of any malfunction we will not be able to search the root cause until unless we are not consuming significant time in cleaning oil and hydraulic components and it may increase the downtime and if we convert downtime in dollar, you will be surprised that how much dollars we have consumed due to accumulated hydraulic leak waste oil.


So what, we have secured after reading this blog? 

As we have discussed above example, Cost of Make-up fluid, Clean-up and disposing oil only will be approximate $8384

If we have several equipment's driven by hydraulic units and there will be several hydraulic leaks in each equipment, we will be surprised after securing the cumulative cost of hydraulic leaks in all equipment, because it will be considerable for one year time. 

Hence, we can understand the importance of this post only if we can reduce or avoid hydraulic leaks in our system.

I hope you enjoyed during reading this post, I request to all my readers to follow my all blogs and suggest if you have any such information 

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