Useful Tips for Maintaining Electric Motors


Industrial electric motors are the lifeline of manufacturing units. Given the importance of electric motors, plant managers need to perform periodic checks to maintain the health of this crucial device. It is essential to check the condition of every electric motor to prevent downtime. Typically, the lifespan of an electric motor is 20 years. But the industrial electric motors that are not properly maintained usually end up in the trash pile prematurely. And this has a massive impact on a business’s productivity and profit.

Just like any other electrical equipment, the electric motor also needs preventive maintenance. With some planning and periodic inspection, it’s possible to prolong the life and ensure quality performance of an electric motor. Checking the condition of motors should be a part of managing facility assets to prevent potential breakdowns. Numerous potential issues can be easily avoided if you have an observant workforce. If workers are attentive, they can identify problems with machinery that helps in taking timely action. Simple issues like overheated bearings or unusual sounds and vibrations indicate mechanical flaws.

To help you keep your electric motors in top condition, here are some useful tips to maintain their health.

Visual Inspection

You can avoid motor breakdown and potential downtime by simply taking a quick look at the motor. The physical condition of the motor can reveal a lot about its health. The motor may buildup corrosion and debris on its individual components that can limit the performance of the equipment. You should also look at the motor windings and observe any unusual smell. Make sure the electric motor is not exposed to dirt, moisture, toxic elements, and harsh conditions.


Lubrication is the essence of prolonging the life of bearings. Proper lubrication ensures superior performance of the electric motor. It is seen that more than 50% of motor failures are due to inadequate lubrication practices. Insufficient lubrication causes the bearings to wear out prematurely. However, this doesn’t mean to over lubricate the bearings. Over-lubrication causes the grease or oil to get into the windings and can slow down heat dissipation. Ideally, you should neither under-greased nor over-greased the bearings. Read the motor manual or the manufacturer’s website to know how and when to lubricate the bearings.

Rotor and Stator

The rotor and stator are one of the most essential components of an electric motor. These components ensure the optimal working of your motor, so make sure to maintain these parts. You need to keep a note of the gap between the stator and rotor for equal clearance all the way around. To check this, you can use a feeler gauge and record the gap sizes at the top, bottom, and both sides at each end. If the current readings are different than previous ones or manufacturer’s gap specifications then possibly you need to replace those bearings.

Record Everything

Proper maintenance routine includes recording everything. If you document every detail of the machine, it becomes easier to maintain the motor and minimizes downtime. You should note down the tests performed and their results. These findings will help in establishing trends and it will be easier to solve the problem the next time it occurs.