Hydraulic Oil: Biodegradable VS Mineral

In the last fifteen years, there has been a significant increase in the use of biodegradable/vegetable, hydraulic oils in the turf equipment industry. In our experience, these oils reduce the toxicity to vulnerable turf areas. Regardless, most hydraulic oil systems operate at approximately 160 degrees fahrenheit. Fluid leaks at this temperature will, cause burning/scalding of plant matter, leaving behind the obvious signs of a hydraulic component failure. The recovery rate of the damaged turf area is much quicker with bio-oils, especially when it is addressed quickly.

There are downfalls to biodegrable oils. These oils coagulate very rapidly, and need to be replaced much sooner than mineral oils (Refer to your equipment owners manual for specific service intervals). Failure to replace these oils and their corresponding filters, can lead to premature seal leaks caused from back pressure on the return side of the hydraulic system. Some of the OEMs are supplying their equipment directly from the factory with these bio-oils, and it is imperative to note the hours between servicing. They are not meant to be left in the unit for the life of the machine! It is necessary to understand the differences between mineral oils and biodegradable oils for maximum hydraulic component performance.

Ultimately, mineral oils will give you extended service life, but are far more harmful to the environment. Biodegradable oils are far less harmful to the environment, but increase the frequency of fluid changes.

For more information on this topic, please contact our service department.

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