Tips for Maintaining Your Hydraulic Piston Pump

All hydraulic equipment features some kind of pump, and while working with different types of equipment, you may run into a piston pump. To maintain this particular type of pump, there are a range of steps you should take. Check out these tips.

Prime the Pump

This tip applies to most pumps—they cannot run efficiently if they are dry. Never run your pump unless it has adequate amounts of hydraulic fluid. When first running the pump for the day or after a long time in storage, make sure to bleed out the air. Most piston pumps have an air valve. Then, add more hydraulic fluid as needed.

Flush Occasionally With Anti-Freeze

Approximately once a year or after long periods of disuse, you may want to flush out your piston pump with anti-freeze. You can use water, but anti-freeze creates a coating over the pistons that help them to move more efficiently. If you are planning to put your pump in storage, you may also want to flush out your pump. This helps to remove excess moisture from the pump, which safeguards it from freezing.


Occasionally, you should lubricate your piston hydraulic pump. Don't use an air powered oil gun. That creates unnecessary pressure, which may ruin the seals on your hydraulic pump. Instead, take apart the pump and apply the lubricant by hand. Make sure to remove excess grease so it doesn't build up, attract debris, and create clogs. As a general rule of thumb, you want the grease to coat but not pool.

Inspect Parts

If you take apart your piston hydraulic pump to lubricate it, you should take some time to examine all the parts as you put it back together. In particular, look for issues with the o-rings. Those are the rubber seals that hold everything together. If they are ripped or frayed, your pump won't be able to get all the pressure it needs. Also, look for excessive wear and tear on the cylinder heads. If you see excess scratches or if the shape seems to have changed, those parts may need to be replaced. Make sure that you can move the cam bearing or any other moving parts. Finally, check the cylinder sleeves. Small damage such as pitting is okay, but if you see long grooves, that part also needs to be replaced.

To ensure your piston pump keeps working as it should, you may want to take it in to get repaired on a regular basis. A hydraulic equipment expert can do routine maintenance and repairs for you.