Preventive maintenance (PM) has the following meanings:
- The care and servicing by personnel for the purpose of maintaining equipment and facilities in satisfactory operating condition by providing for systematic inspection, detection, and correction of incipient failures either before they occur or before they develop into major defects.
- Maintenance, including tests, measurements, adjustments, and parts replacement, performed specifically to prevent faults from occurring.
While preventive maintenance is generally considered to be worthwhile, there are risks such as equipment failure or human error involved when performing PM, just as in any maintenance operation. PM as scheduled overhaul or scheduled replacement provides two of the three proactive failure management policies available to the maintenance engineer. Common methods of determining what PM (or other) failure management policies should be applied are; OEM recommendations, requirements of codes and legislation within a jurisdiction, what an “expert” thinks ought to be done, or the maintenance that’s already done to similar equipment. However Reliability Centered Maintenance, provides the most rigorous and method to determine applicable and effective failure management policies – which may include PM tasks – for an item.
To make it simple:
- Preventive maintenance is conducted to keep equipment working and/or extend the life of the equipment.
- Corrective maintenance, sometimes called “repair”, is conducted to get equipment working again.
The primary goal of maintenance is to avoid or mitigate the consequences of failure of equipment. This may be by preventing the failure before it actually occurs which PM and condition based maintenance help to achieve. It is designed to preserve and restore equipment reliability by replacing worn components before they actually fail. Preventive maintenance activities include partial or complete overhauls at specified periods, oil changes, lubrication and so on. In addition, workers can record equipment deterioration so they know to replace or repair worn parts before they cause system failure. The ideal preventive maintenance program would prevent all equipment failure before it occurs.
There is a controversy of sorts regarding the propriety of the usage “Preventative Maintenance.” The consensus of internet entries concerning the respective usages seems to indicate that “Preventive” is the preferred term. However, practitioners of preventive maintenance appear as or more likely to use “preventative” as the adjective.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the General Services Administration document “Federal Standard 1037C” (in support of MIL-STD-188).
- Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
 External links
- International Facility Management Association
- British Institute of Facilities Management
- The Building Owners and Managers Association
- http://www.bigringwriting.com/id58.htm http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_term_is_more_correct_preventive_or_preventative