damaged and dirty hydraulic cylinder before being rebuilt

How Much Does It Cost to Rebuild a Hydraulic Cylinder?

By Momentum |

If your hydraulic cylinder has failed, you’re likely asking yourself ‘how much does it cost to rebuild a hydraulic cylinder’? The answer depends on the type of cylinder and the type of failure it has suffered, but it will likely be less than the cost of a new cylinder. Read on to learn more about rebuilding a hydraulic cylinder.

Benefits of Rebuilding a Hydraulic Cylinder

One of the biggest benefits of rebuilding a hydraulic cylinder is that it is more affordable than replacing the cylinder. The cost of rebuilding a hydraulic cylinder ranges, and is based on the size of the cylinder, as well as the repairs that are needed to fix it. Despite this, rebuilding is still more cost-effective than full replacement.

A rebuilt hydraulic cylinder will be more powerful and efficient. It will consume less oil, which will help you save more money. The specialized oil used in hydraulic cylinders is very expensive, and a properly rebuilt cylinder will not leak as a damaged cylinder may. Finally, the more efficient operation of the rebuilt parts will reduce the wear and tear on other components, increasing their service life.

Knowing When to Rebuild or Replace

It can be difficult to know when your hydraulic cylinder needs to be rebuilt and when it needs to be replaced. This is where a qualified hydraulic cylinder shop comes in. Industry experts can inspect your hydraulic cylinder and tell you whether it needs to be rebuilt or simply replaced.

One of the determining factors when deciding whether a cylinder needs to be replaced or rebuilt is its age. If the cylinder is old and worn out, rebuilding it may not be worth it. The parts that are not rebuilt will fail soon, and this will likely damage the rebuilt parts. In this situation, rebuilding the cylinder is not a cost-effective option. Similarly, if multiple components of the cylinder are badly damaged, rebuilding it may not be possible.

Rebuilding a cylinder is a possibility if the cylinder is not old and if the damage is not too extensive. Thankfully, this is usually the case when a cylinder breaks down. In the end, you should trust your hydraulic cylinder shop when they recommend either a rebuild or a replacement

Why Is It Important to Repack a Hydraulic Cylinder?

Repacking hydraulic cylinders should be a standard part of your preventative maintenance schedule because it helps extend the service life of your cylinder.

With a regular maintenance and upkeep schedule, you avoid encountering a catastrophic failure at the worst possible time. Should the failure occur during production or while on-site at a customer’s facility, it can cause extended downtime and higher costs for repair and refurbishment while also putting your customer relationships at risk.

Signs That Your Cylinder Needs Repacking

Aside from regular maintenance, inspecting your cylinder daily is essential to prevent catastrophic failures.

One of the telltale signs that a hydraulic cylinder needs maintenance work, repairs, or even a complete replacement, is a large leak. If your cylinder merely has a small leak, it may need a new seal. However, if the leak is bad enough that your cylinder loses pressure, it may have failed. 

Thoroughly inspecting the leak, carefully disassembling the cylinder, and repacking are highly effective ways to control costs and keep your cylinder functioning properly. If you are unsure how to disassemble, repack, and reassemble the cylinder properly, contact a professional for assistance.

While leaks are one sign that something might be amiss, others include a drop in oil pressure, decreased performance, a cylinder struggling to complete a full cycle, and higher-than-normal power consumption. Depending on when you inspect the cylinder, minor leaks may not always be easily identified. When the leak isn’t apparent, it’s good practice to stop the equipment, wipe down the cylinder, and watch for leaks.

Lastly, if the hydraulic cylinder is very old and has seen a lot of mileage, it may fail. If this is the cause of the failure, it may be difficult or even impossible to rebuild the cylinder. In this instance, the cylinder should be replaced rather than repacked.


  • Leaks
  • Drop in Oil Pressure
  • Decreased Performance
  • The Cylinder Cannot Complete a Full Cycle
  • Excessive Power Consumption 

Testing Your Cylinder Before & After Repacking

Testing your hydraulic cylinder before and after repacking is critical. Testing beforehand will help you identify whether repacking is even necessary—if it isn’t, you’ve saved yourself some work. Testing after helps ensure that you’ve done the job correctly. 

To test the cylinder, fill the cylinder with fluid. You never want to drain the cylinder or lines of fluid before testing or repacking. Doing this could damage the cylinder and force an excessive amount of air into the system.

Next, cycle the cylinder several times to ensure any air bubbles, debris, or residue is expelled. After cycling, you’ll perform a cylinder bypass or end-of-stroke bypass test which involves raising the cylinder to its highest position and pressurizing it while looking for any leaks. Slowly lower the cylinder while inspecting it to see if any leaks occur. Repeat the process if needed.


  1. Fill the hydraulic cylinder with fluid.
  2. Cycle the cylinder multiple times to remove the air within the system.
  3. Perform a bypass test/end-of-stroke test:
    • Raise the cylinder to its highest position.
    • Pressurize the cylinder.
    • Look for any leaks in and around the seals.
    • Slowly lower the cylinder while constantly looking for leaks.
    • Repeat the process.

Purchasing Hydraulic Cylinder Seal Kits

Yates offers standard, loaded, fluorocarbon, cast-iron piston, and low-friction hydraulic cylinder seal kits. These kits are a must-have as they ensure you can always replace a given seal or gasket. Each kit accommodates different hydraulic cylinders based on OEM specifications, piston rod thicknesses/diameters, and the critical tolerances of individual subcomponents within the cylinder. 

Before purchasing a seal kit, you need to size your cylinder. Always base the measurements of seals and gaskets on the size of the groove. You can read this blog post to learn how to size/measure your cylinder. 

Finding the Right Hydraulic Cylinder Shop

Now that you know the answer to the question ‘how much does it cost to rebuild a hydraulic cylinder?’ you can focus on finding the right hydraulic cylinder shop. The most important thing to look for is a shop that has experience rebuilding your specific type of hydraulic cylinder. Any reputable shop should be happy to answer any questions you may have about their experience.

Get 24/7 Assistance From Yates Industries

Yates Industries is an industry-leading hydraulic cylinder manufacturer and supplier. We also provide 24/7 cylinder repair, replacement, and rebuilding services. You can read more about who we are here. If you’re wondering how much it costs to rebuild your hydraulic cylinder, call (678) 883-1804 or fill out our online form today to request a quote.