Hydraulic seals make for critical components facilitating the separation or blocking of liquids in reciprocating motion applications. However, with the passage of time, due to various reasons, these seals are rendered weak and eventually useless. Learning about the causes of failures may help design engineers step up their efforts towards reducing the damaging impact. Do read on to unravel the common causes that may lead to the failure of hydraulic cylinder seals.

The effect of various contaminants

There are not one but various reasons why the cylinder seals might as well be rendered contaminated. Right when the machine comes in contact with outside agents like flotsam and jetsam, they start attracting dirt, powder and other elements. The seal of course becomes dirty and in the course of time, the continuous dirt attack renders it useless when it comes to preventing dirt from entering the piston area. Proper installation of the seal, continuous monitoring of the piston area so as to protect it from dirt and installation of rod pipers are just a few ways to prevent this problem.

Hardening leads to failure as well

Blame it on high temperatures generated by high fluid operation, the elastic seals when they harden actually start cracking thereby showing signs of imminent failure.


And, how exactly does scarring happen? You can blame it both on improper installation of the seals and the presence of external agents in the fluid. Since by now, you know that there are several problems caused by improper installation of seals, expect Hydraulic Cylinder Repair professionals to focus on future installations in proper fashion.

Hydraulic Cylinder Repair


Hydraulic seals often become brittle or may even melt owing to heat erosion. You have already been informed about the high temperatures engendered by fluid operations. The heat can damage the seal in more ways than what you can imagine. It can reduce the life expectancy of the seals in a major way. So before installation, engineers should prudently ensure that the seals are checked for heat degradation.

Slow wearing down

Gradual wear remains one of the major reasons hydraulic seals are rendered inefficient. And how does it happen?

  • Lateral Overload
  • Improper Lubrication
  • Gradual wearing down of the dynamic face of the seal lip

Fracturing of the seal

Fracturing of seals causes the same to burn and break. Other bad effects include substantial cracks on the V portion and the eventual break down of the entire dynamic side of the seal. Do know for a fact that some of the reasons behind fracturing of seals are:

  • High pressure spikes
  • Overload of back pressure
  • Employment of low grade materials in the manufacturing process of the seal itself

Hydraulic Cylinder Seals

Effect of chemicals

The life expectancy of the hydraulic seals is largely governed by the type of lubrication and the chemicals that are a part of the hydraulic equipment. The effects of chemical erosion can be reduced by making sure the types of chemicals involved in the application and the seal material are matched.

Improper Installation

We have already intimated readers about the ill-effects of improper installation in the aforementioned paragraphs. Right from rendering the seals as dirt magnets to exposing them to scars—improper installation can actually do more harm than you can imagine.

Not checking the stroke speed of the piston rod

The velocity with which the piston rod works does impact the life expectancy of the hydraulic cylinder seal.

Author's Bio: 

Author Ron Spencer has been associated with quality Hydraulic Cylinder Repair for quite a number of years now. Today, he is writing blogs that highlight various aspects of Hydraulic Cylinder Seals.