Hydraulic repair using aftermarket hydraulic parts

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Repairing a hydraulic component involves reworking or replacing all of the parts necessary to return the component to 'as new' condition, in terms of performance and expected service life. In many cases, repairing a hydraulic pump, motor, or cylinder can result in significant savings when compared with the cost of purchasing a new one.

The economics of proceeding with any hydraulic repair is ultimately dependent on the cost of the repair, relative to the cost of a new component. As a rule, the more expensive the new component is in absolute dollar terms, the more likely it is that a repair will be cost effective.

The cost of a hydraulic repair is determined by a number of factors including:

  • extent of wear or damage to the component;
  • facilities and expertise of the hydraulic repair shop; and
  • the repair techniques employed.

When a hydraulic component is repaired, there are usually some parts that can be successfully re-used after they have been reworked using processes such as machining, honing, lapping, grinding and hard-chrome plating. The skilled application of these techniques can reduce the number of new parts required, reducing the overall cost of the repair.

Aftermarket hydraulic parts

It is sometimes possible to reduce hydraulic repair costs further, by using non-genuine or aftermarket hydraulic parts. Some aftermarket spare parts for hydraulic components originate from the same factories that supply the genuine article and are therefore of the same quality. In many cases however, aftermarket hydraulic parts originate from niche manufacturers and their quality can vary from poor to excellent.

With this in mind, it is important to distinguish between a repair using aftermarket parts of known quality that will save you money, and a repair using parts of unknown quality that is likely cost you twice as much in the long-run. You can do this by asking the repair shop two questions:

  • Has the quality of the parts been proven in terms of performance and achieved service life?
  • Is the repair covered by warranty?

If the aftermarket parts are of known quality and the hydraulic repair shop is prepared to back them, the decision carries minimal risk. If the repair shop hasn't used the aftermarket parts before and their quality is unknown, you need to base your decision on how much money you will save if the parts live up to expectations; what it will cost you if they don't; and whether the repair shop is willing to carry some of the risk involved in finding out.

If the quality of the parts is unproven, or the repair shop is not willing to back the repair with a warranty, it's wise to think twice before proceeding. You need to make an informed decision based on the amount of money the parts will save you if they live up to expectations, versus what it will cost you if they don't. The hydraulic repair shop may be willing to share some of the risk involved in finding out, because if the parts prove to be successful, they can offer the same solution to other customers.

Related articles:

How to source aftermarket hydraulic parts
The importance of hydraulic equipment maintenance
How to test hydraulic cylinders

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