What is the Best Hydraulic Oil for my Aerial Lift?

Most aerial lift equipment need hydraulic oil to operate. What hydraulic oil is best for gas and diesel powered aerial lifts? The right hydraulic oil actually depends on the climate and specific operating conditions.

When an aerial lift is being operated, this creates heat at a low flow within the machine. Driving the machine runs the most hydraulic flow at the highest pressure and can heat hydraulic oil quickly.

An ISO rating refers to the viscosity of the hydraulic oil. The lower the number, the thinner the oil. Each ISO has an acceptable average temperature range for that oil viscosity. It is recommended to keep hydraulic fluid within 100° of the ambient temperature where the machine is being operated.

For the best performance, hydraulic oils should be changed to a lighter or heavier weight oil based on climate conditions. Typically, a lower ISO flows better in colder weather but may need to be heated before operating. Warmer climates may require a higher ISO rating or an additional coolant to keep oil from overheating.

Oil Viscosity Chart

While there is no single ISO rating that is best for all aerial lifts, all Snorkel lifts are delivered with ISO 32 hydraulic oil as standard for its ability to operate in a majority of climates in temperatures as low as 0° F (-17° C). For special applications, it is best to contact product support for guidance.

For tips on prepping your Snorkel lift for in winter weather, read related article: Aerial Equipment Winter Weather Prep – IC Machines.