Written By: Corey Foy

Can you use the same lubricants in the summer as you do in the winter?  This question comes up frequently in our industry, and the answer is simple. It depends! What does it depend on?  Everything from application, to specific equipment, to operating conditions, to OEM requirements, and location of the equipment. If you use your equipment during extreme cold weather you may find that your hydraulics are sluggish or even non-responsive. This is an indication that you should be investing in a hydraulic oil with a larger temperature range.



The property that is most often discussed when moving between summer and winter is viscosity.  Typically a thinner or lighter grade of oil will flow better in colder weather. While a standard ISO 46 hydraulic oil may work great in the heat of the summer, this may not work in the extreme cold.  Using an ISO 32 or 22 hydraulic oil ensures that wear protection and power transfer remain consistent.


Conventional Anti-Wear Hydraulic Oils

Conventional Anti-Wear (AW) hydraulic oil is typically a cheaper price fighter product. It works when your equipment is working indoors, but a common mistake is assuming that the AW in the naming means “all weather”. It does not.


High Viscosity Index Hydraulic Oils

Multi-viscosity hydraulic oils work better over a wider range of temperatures. This is because they act like a thinner hydraulic oil on start up. But they still provide the protection of a thicker hydraulic oil under operating conditions. If you have need of a high quality winter hydraulic oil, ask us about our line of High Viscosity Index (HVI) Hydraulic Oils. They are available in various viscosity grades to cover all your needs.


Ultimately when making considerations for winter operating conditions, you should always consult with your OEM about lubricant requirements if you’re unsure on the viscosity boundaries in cold weather.

Call us at 1.800.463.0354 for more information on cold weather operations.