When Is It Worth Repairing a Hydraulic Cylinder Rather Than Replacing It: Can Hydraulic Cylinders Be Repaired?
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When Is It Worth Repairing a Hydraulic Cylinder Rather Than Replacing It: Can Hydraulic Cylinders Be Repaired?


6 min read

By Todd Lewis

Hydraulic cylinders are an essential part of many industries, from construction to food and beverage manufacturing. Over time, parts of the cylinder will become damaged, either causing the whole cylinder to fail or lose functionality and performance quality.

At that point, your first instinct might be to just replace the cylinder, but often, the cost to replace a cylinder can set you back a significant amount. Instead of replacing the cylinder, consider repair instead. There are many advantages to hydro-cylinder repair.

A Review of Hydraulic Cylinder Failure

A hydraulic cylinder is made up of many parts, small and large. The most common components that fail are the barrel which contains many of the other parts, the cylinder cap, the cylinder head, the piston rod, the piston that transfers motion to the piston rod, and the many seals and bearings of the cylinder. If any one part is damaged, it can reduce the efficiency and performance of the cylinder as a whole, or at worst, render it completely useless. There are plenty of hydraulic cylinder failure symptoms, so make sure to inspect the hydraulic cylinder for the telltale signs of hydraulic cylinder malfunction.

Hydraulic cylinder failure can occur for many reasons and come in many different forms. Contaminated hydraulic fluid or hydraulic oil is a common issue that can accelerate wear and damage critical seals. Often the failure will appear to be sudden when in reality it has been building for some time. Piston rods bend, barrels and rods can be dented, all resulting in catastrophic issues, and corrosive chemicals and natural elements can damage seals and metal. Eye bearing and piston rod bearings are known to wear out and lead to hydraulic cylinder failure.

Cost of Repair and Replacement of Hydraulic Cylinders

Repair and Replacement of Hydraulic Cylinders

It is possible that a hydraulic cylinder can become so damaged that there is no choice but to completely replace it. Most of the time, however, that is not the case. A cylinder can be repaired by skilled experts to resemble or closely resemble its original condition. The upfront price to repair the hydraulic cylinder is less than the average cost of getting a new cylinder, but there are other costs to consider, as well.

Time That Repair Will Take

When a cylinder fails, it takes time to get it repaired or replaced. From shipment to manufacturing to installation, that downtime will be at the expense of your business. Try to calculate how much it will cost to repair and replace taking into account the number of non-operational days that will accumulate.

Energy-Efficiency Costs

There might also be efficiency costs to keep in mind when making this decision. Natural wear or accelerated wear from failing components will lower the overall efficiency of the hydraulic system. In order to compensate for the energy losses, the worn-out hydraulic system will use more power, thus raising the number on your bill.

Regularity of Repair

The frequency of replacement should also be considered. If you find yourself replacing your cylinders often, it could be that there is a problem with your use of the cylinders. It might be more prudent to have them repaired instead as it will be more cost-efficient and the professional you hire will have insight into what is wrong with your cylinder.

Number of Damaged Parts of Hydraulic Cylinder

The number and type of components damaged within the cylinder will also affect how cost-efficient the overall cost of repairs and replacement will be. Often, when one component is malfunctioning, others will pay the price for its poor performance. Determining the number of components that are damaged can help you determine whether it would be more cost-effective to repair or simply replace.

Other Considerations for Deciding Whether to Repair or Replace Cylinders

The decision to repair or replace a hydraulic cylinder has many considerations besides cost that should be taken into account. If one were to make a pro and con list, the cost would only be one of the many factors that are listed in order to make an educated and thoughtful decision.

  • The first thing to consider is the cylinder's life expectancy. No system can last forever, and wear cannot be avoided. If the hydraulic cylinder has passed its “expiration date”, it might make more sense to replace rather than repair it.
  • The next factor to consider is why the cylinder failed in the first place. The cause of failure is an essential part of determining the best approach. If you were to replace a failed cylinder without knowing why it failed, it will most likely happen again with the new one, as the same, unadjusted practices will be employed.
  • Another reason why the cause of failure is important is that it could be that cylinder replacement is unnecessary. If only one small part fails, resulting in the weakening of the entire hydraulic system, then it can be easily repaired, at a lower cost to you.
  • The last factor to consider is how easy or difficult it would be to find an appropriate replacement. Depending on the age or brand of the cylinder, it's possible that that type of cylinder is no longer being manufactured. It can also be difficult to find a replacement for a non-standard cylinder. COVID-19 has also made it difficult to find certain products, including cylinders. If it's not easy to find a replacement, repairs can be the better choice.

Benefits of Hydraulic Cylinder Repair

how to repair a hydraulic cylinder

The number of benefits to repairing a hydraulic cylinder over replacing it is substantial. Often, only one specific component is damaged or in need of repair, and not the entire cylinder.

Assuming the failure was noticed sooner rather than later and other parts are still in good condition, it will only be necessary to replace the failed part. This will make the overall hydraulic cylinder repair more cost-effective, saving your business money.


There is always high availability of companies with the equipment, experience, and facilities to effectively repair your cylinder, no matter its make or model.

Quality of Repair

You can do research and choose the most reputable repairer with optimal equipment and processes so you can ensure the highest quality repair.

More Choice

This affords you the ability to choose your preferred repairer based on pricing, quality, experience, or any other factor you choose to prioritize.

Get Your Hydraulic Cylinder Repair Quote Today!

At Cylinders Inc., we are experts in hydraulic cylinder repairs and we are committed to bringing you superior service using only the highest quality materials. You can depend on our team to be efficient, collaborative, and cost-effective, so you can get back to work as soon as possible. If you have any trouble with your cylinders, our hydraulic cylinder experts are at your service. Call today and schedule your repair, rebuild, or pressure testing today!

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