1. Keep your oil clean.
This should go without saying, but I wouldn’t have to say it if the majority of hydraulic failures weren’t still from contaminated oil. Filter your danged oil. Dirt particles love to move back and forth inside a cylinder, so it’s especially important to ensure oil is clean the first time it makes its way into your cylinder.
Install high-efficiency filters in your hydraulic system, and ensure they’re changed when required. A differential pressure gauge or pop-up indicator can tell you when a filter is clogged, which will allow you to change it out before it goes into bypass, a condition when oil passes through the housing unfiltered.