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What Is the Purpose of Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance refers to planned maintenance designed to prevent equipment from breaking down. Taking active steps to keep equipment in good condition is usually more efficient than repairing or replacing equipment after it breaks or fails.


Preventive maintenance makes sense if the component becomes more likely to fail over time. In addition, it only makes sense if the cost of preventive maintenance is less than the cost of repair or replacement.


Preventive maintenance saves money by reducing or eliminating expensive repairs and replacements. In addition, it makes a system more reliable and reduces the downtime required for repair or replacement.


Most automobile owners perform preventive maintenance, such as regularly changing the oil. Many computer users also perform preventive maintenance, such as by scanning their computer for viruses, defragmenting hard drives and backing up data. Engineers also perform preventive maintenance on storm water drainage systems to prevent expensive and dangerous failures, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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About the Author

Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.

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