So you and your cousin Jimmy finally did it, you bought that cherry picker truck and started a tree trimming service. Good for you and Jimmy. Aside from needing transmission fluid, motor oil, gear oil, antifreeze and DEF, chainsaws and a giant insurance policy, you’re going to need hydraulic oil. If you and Jimmy plan on trimming trees in the cold winter months, high viscosity hydraulic oil is probably your best bet.

High viscosity hydraulic oils are designed to maintain a consistent viscosity over a wide range of temperatures. So if you’re working in the chilly spring, hot summer, warm fall or arctic winter, an HVI oil will maintain a very consistent viscosity in all four seasons. Why does it matter? Because a standard hydraulic oil that operates at an optimal viscosity in the summer months may be far too thick in the cold winter – which can lead to problems in the hydraulic system . If you don’t use an HVI in this application, you may need to change out your hydraulic oil seasonally to accommodate the changing temperatures.

So what kind of magic is involved in making a HVI hydraulic oil? Pixie dust and rainbows. If that doesn’t work, try changing the base oil by removing the paraffins (AKA wax, which gets thick when cold, causing the oil to thicken) or use additives called Viscosity Index improvers…which are kind of like magic. Keep in mind, both of these options come at increased cost.

Finally, machinery operating at extreme temperatures aren’t the only ones that benefit from using HVI hydraulic oils. Many industrial and manufacturing operations utilize HVI’s because of their higher oxidation and thermal stability. 

Good luck to you and cousin Jimmy.