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Preventive vs. Reactive Motor Maintenance: How Different?

Preventive vs. Reactive Motor Maintenance: How Different?

Maintenance of electric motors, such as electric motor rewinds or electric motor overhauling, is usually classified into various types or categories. The most common electric motor maintenance classifications are preventive and reactive maintenance.

By simply looking at their names, you probably would have already guessed that preventive maintenance prevents operating problems from occurring, whereas reactive maintenance repairs or replaces damaged components or machines. However, there is still more to know about these two common types of motor maintenance.

Read on to learn how preventive maintenance and reactive maintenance differ from each other and what their respective advantages are.

What is preventive motor maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is a type of electric motor maintenance that aims to avoid operational issues and guarantee that the motor operates most reliably. Preventative motor maintenance essentially schedules actions independent of the actual state of the equipment. Many companies and facilities employ a preventive maintenance system to schedule specific maintenance tasks that keep assets, machinery, and other equipment in good and functional condition.

An effective preventative maintenance program includes streamlined maintenance checklists. Usually, the tasks are scheduled according to how much equipment or time will be used and consumed. For example, one machine may need lubrication after 100 hours of operation, whereas another piece of equipment would require an annual inspection or tune-up.

Advantages of a preventive motor maintenance

With proper preventive maintenance, companies can generate savings by reducing the risk of motor downtime. Preventive maintenance programs can provide a business or facility several advantages if implemented correctly. The capacity to increase overall system and equipment reliability and maintain the uninterrupted operation of assets and production lines are some of the most significant benefits of this maintenance type. Savings can be considerable if downtime is reduced or emergency production line disruptions are eliminated.

Long-term preventative maintenance programs can increase the motor’s resale value and lifespan by maximising its overall efficiency. Moreover, preventive maintenance programs can also lower the number of unanticipated failures and calls for emergency maintenance. The cost of purchasing, shipping, and handling electric motor parts on an urgent or overnight basis, which can be expensive over time, can also be reduced.

What is reactive motor maintenance?

Reactive motor maintenance is the “run it until it breaks” type of motor maintenance. The main objective of this maintenance type is to repair or replace the electric motor when a failure occurs. Reactive maintenance, sometimes called “breakdown maintenance,” does not imply regular or periodic service or tests.

When you employ a reactive maintenance program for your electric motor, you allow your motor to run to failure when the equipment or any component is either repaired or replaced. Most of the time, reactive motor maintenance is only resorted to when the motor breaks down or ceases working. This is usually regardless of whether or not the motor has been damaged or has failed.

Advantages of a reactive motor maintenance

Due to its function and frequency, reactive motor maintenance usually requires lower costs since fewer lubrication systems, testing equipment, and so on are needed in a regular electric motor inspection. Particularly, the upfront costs of employing reactive maintenance are relatively lower because you are not required to spend on labour costs and preventive maintenance actions here.

Similarly, reactive maintenance requires less staff or labour power to operate or perform scheduled motor maintenance because it is not as extensive as a preventive maintenance measure. If you are mainly concerned about responding to motor breakdowns or accidents, you are likely to hire a smaller group of staff to manage and operate the equipment.


There are critical differences between preventive and reactive motor maintenance in terms of their nature, purpose, and advantages. Knowing these differences, you can determine more easily which type of electric motor maintenance is more appropriate for your equipment or facility’s needs. To ensure that you employ the most suitable motor maintenance program, it is best to seek the assistance of an electrical engineering company in Singapore.