Hose Maintenance: Don’t Let Productivity Spring A Leak

This is part of a continuing series of “how to” articles to help you maximize performance and productivity with Toro® products. Watch future issues of Grounds for Success for more tips and information.

Hoses play a critical role in hydraulic equipment, yet they’re often overlooked until they fail. A big key to maintaining equipment uptime is regular inspection and replacement of hydraulic hoses.

A leaking hydraulic hose can create a safety hazard, cause equipment to operate less efficiently, damage grounds and the environment, make equipment fail prematurely, and more. Fortunately, Toro’s Technical Service Team is here to help you maximize hose performance.

Be a Detective
Catching issues early saves time and money later, so make regular hose inspections part of your weekly routine. Safety is essential as hydraulic fluid can be harmful. At a minimum, wear gloves and safety glasses, and be sure to follow all safety procedures outlined in your equipment manual.

Leaks and damage aren’t always easy to locate, so make sure your inspection includes looking for signs of swelling, blistering, cuts, chaffing, kinks, flat spots, cracks and more. Examine the printed line “lay line” on the hydraulic hose to make sure it isn’t twisted or distorted beyond the allowable bend radius. You don’t want any tight bends or kinks.

Visible hydraulic leaks may be coming from a different location than where you see them, so examine for leaks everywhere that a hose attaches to a fitting. There could be a loose, damaged or corroded connection, and the leak could be coming from a point above or “upstream” from where you’re actually seeing the drip.

Regular Replacement
Because hoses are exposed to extreme heat, various weather conditions, dirt, scrapes and more, they can become weak even if they appear to still be in good condition. To reduce the risk of catastrophic hose failure while in operation and on turf surfaces, Toro recommends replacing hydraulic hoses that are subject to constant moving every two years. Refer to the Recommended Maintenance schedule in your equipment manual for the specific recommendation for your machine.

Proper Fluid Extends Hose Life
The hydraulic fluid passing through the hose can affect its performance and durability. The fluid must be able to operate well under an extreme variety of conditions. Most newer Toro Commercial Products utilize Toro PX Extended Life Hydraulic Fluid. Because of its high performance and quality, PX Extended Life Hydraulic Fluid lets you go longer between hydraulic fluid and filter changes, helping to reduce the overall cost of ownership. 

Other available Toro hydraulic fluids include Toro Premium All Season, Biodegradable, Premium Transmission-Hydraulic Fluid, and Premium ATF Automatic Transmission Fluid. If you use non-Toro fluids, make sure you review and understand the specifications in your operator’s manual. You can also count on Toro for a great selection of equipment-specific hydraulic hoses designed and tested especially for your product.

To learn more, contact your local Toro distributor.