How Much Does a Hydraulic Leak Cost?

Most of us, when we see a hydraulic leak are quick to clean it up, but are we quick to fix the issue?

I would say in most cases no.  Instead we clean up the mess and put a piece of cardboard or oil absorbent rags under the leak.

Is it worth it to fix it right away or save it for later?

There are a few things that you need to consider when talking about the cost of a hydraulic leak.

Make up Hydraulic Fluid

The first thing to consider is the cost of make up fluid, which is the fluid you add to your system to compensate for the fluid that is leaking out.  An inexpensive tractor oil sold at your local auto parts store or Tractor Supply is going to run you around $8-9/gallon.  Let’s say that you have a fitting where the o-ring has gone bad, and it is leaking at a rate of 6 drops per minute.  One drop every 10 seconds, not bad.  If you were to ignore this after just 5 days this could be over 0.5 gallon lost, and in one month you would have lost almost 3.5 gallons or about $30.  If you were to let this leak go on for a full year you would have lost over 41.5 gallons or $350!

Make up fluid isn’t the only thing you need to consider.

Used Fluid disposal

It isn’t 2012 anymore, disposal companies are not paying you to come pick up your oil anymore.  If you have enough and can find the right company they will come pick it up at no charge, but that’s the exception and not the rule.  It could cost you $2-3/gallon to dispose of contaminated hydraulic oil.  Again, if we’re talking about 41.5 gallons, that’s an extra $100.

Cleaning up the oil

First, you have the cost of labor to clean up the mess, which in my shop is $65/hr.  If it takes someone 10 minutes each week to clean up the oil leak, that’s almost $11/week.  Once again, for a whole year that really adds up.  It would cost over $550/yr on the labor to clean up this one leak!

You also have to consider the consumables you use to clean up this leak, like absorbent pads and kitty litter.


Safety is a big factor in our industry, and having a hydraulic leak isn’t helping the issue.  If the drip becomes a bigger issue and a hose blows out you could have an injury.  Or if someone forgets to clean up the mess, you now have a slip hazard.

So, How Much Does a Hydraulic Leak Cost? More than it would to fix the problem.

If this is the only leak you have in your facility or on your location, this could cost you up to $1000/yr.  If you have multiple you could have a real issue.

Fixing hydraulic leaks is something you should never do with the machine or equipment running.  If you have any questions or need a leak fixed give us a call!