How Often to Change Hydraulic Fluid in Log Splitter?

Wonder how often you should be changing the hydraulic fluid in your log splitter? This will depend on how often you are using the machine and the size of the logs you are cutting. If you are using it regularly, you’ll need to change it every 50 hours. If not, the fluid might be able to last for up to 150 hours.

The hydraulic fluid is often overlooked. But it’s a vital component of your log splitter. Without it, the system would stop working properly. But how long will hydraulic fluid last?

The hydraulic fluid that you are using in your splitter will have a big impact on how the device performs. Keep reading to find the perfect time to change the fluid.

Close up of hydraulic log splitter half way through split cycle on medium sized log

Related Reading: What Size of Hydraulic Cylinder Should I Get for Log Splitter?

How Long Does Hydraulic Fluid Last

How often you’ll need to replace the fluid will depend on a few factors, including:

  • How often do you use the machine
  • The quality of the fluid that you are using
  • The type of log you are splitting. The more difficult it is to split, the more frequently you should be changing the fluid.

If you don’t use the machine too frequently and have a high-quality fluid, you might be able to get away with changing it every 150 hours. However, this is the maximum time frame. In most cases, you will need to change it every 50 hours.

It might help to keep a record of when you are changing the fluid. It can be very expensive. So you don’t want to change it too frequently, as this will quickly increase the costs associated with using the device.

Signs it’s Time to Replace the Hydraulic Fluid

If you aren’t sure when to change the hydraulic fluid, there are some signs that you can look for. This fluid is responsible for helping to manage the heat that the system is producing. If the fluid levels get too low, there is a risk that the machine will overheat. This is a major problem and can lead to expensive repairs.

Another sign that there is something wrong is the machine starting to make a loud noise, which it wasn’t producing before. You should also be alert to any changes in the performance of the splitter. If it starts to get slower, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem with the hydraulic system.

While these might be a sign that you might be running low on fluid, it isn’t the only explanation. There might also be a loose hose or a blockage in one of the hydraulic hoses. It might also mean that there is dirt in the fluid, which is contaminating the system.

How to Replace the Hydraulic Fluid

Replacing the hydraulic fluid is something that log splitter owners will need to do fairly regularly. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be a difficult job. You just need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Make sure that the engine has cooled completely. You don’t want it to spit hot fluid at you when you unscrew the cap.
  2. Remove the suction hose. This is the one that is connected to the bottom of the reservoir tank. You should be able to find how to do this by looking at the owner’s manual.
  3. Unthread the inlet filter.
  4. Tip the log splitter and allow the fluid to drain into a container. Some splitters come with a support leg to make this process easier. 
  5. While you are draining the splitter, you can clean the inlet filter. You’ll need to use penetrating oil to do this.
  6. Once the fluid is drained, replace the inlet filter and re-attach the hoses.
  7. Add the new hydraulic fluid. Make sure not to overfill the tank. Use the dipstick to gauge the right depth.
  8. Prime and start the engine. Use the control handle to extend and retract the wedge. This will get rid of any air that is trapped in the lines.

You will need to take the old fluid to a specialized recycling center to dispose of it safely. If you try to do it incorrectly, there is a risk that you will damage the environment.

Adding Fuel to the Log Splitter

You should make sure that you are frequently checking the amount of fuel in the log splitter. You will need to follow this method to do this:

  1. Fill the tank to three-quarter full
  2. Extend the piston to its full length
  3. Quickly remove the oil plug. This will remove any excess air from the system as the piston comes back into the cylinder.

Checking for Hydraulic Fluid Leaks

One of the most common problems that you will face is a hydraulic leak. If you don’t catch it early, you could lose a lot of fluid. Considering how expensive the fluid is, this is a costly issue. Plus, it can trigger problems with the log splitter.

The good news is that it’s fairly easy to detect if the hoses are leaking. You can pass a piece of paper or cardboard under any areas that you think might be leaking. If the fluid drips on the surface, you’ll know there is a problem. Remember to wear gloves when doing this, so you don’t accidentally burn yourself.

Choosing the Right Type of Hydraulic Fluid

It’s important to make sure that you are getting the right type of hydraulic fluid. When you are doing this, there are a few things you need to consider. The most important is viscosity. Too high and it won’t be able to lubricate the equipment. Too low and it won’t be able to handle the heat associated with running the machine.

Usually, you will need to use AW22. However, you should double-check this with your owner’s manual. Sometimes, if the temperature is low enough, you will be able to use automatic transmission fluid. This will only be effective when it is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s hotter, the viscosity won’t be suitable.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your log splitter doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to make sure that you are changing the hydraulic fluid. You’ll need to do this every 50 to 150 days, depending on how often you use the machine.