The Difference Between Predictive and Preventative Maintenance



Preventative-Predictive Maintenance


All machines fail.


I once had a 1987 Mustang GT that I thought was invulnerable. It withstood the hardest, most debilitating drives someone could put it through; for example, I frequently took it for long drives through the Appalachians all the way to the Great Plains of Wyoming. While I believed I was taking great care of my vehicle, despite my extended travels, I later found out that my idea of automobile maintenance was largely misguided. My beloved GT ended up breaking down after 80,000 miles—way too soon in terms of how I thought I was treating it.


From this hard lesson, I learned the difference between predictive and preventative maintenance. A car provides a great example for describing the difference between the two. In a general sense, predictive and preventative maintenance are both necessary to ensure the efficacy of any machine; it’s not necessarily a question of which type of maintenance should be used, but when to apply each type. Mostly though, one must determine which preventative and predictive measures are the most economical for the job at hand.


When is Preventative Maintenance Necessary?
A common example of preventative maintenance is getting an oil change for your vehicle every 3,000 miles. Preventative maintenance is designed to extend the life of your equipment. Preventative, or planned, maintenance is undertaken to avoid unplanned maintenance activity. Preventative maintenance, in a general sense, involves cleaning, lubricating, adjusting, and making minor replacements to extend the lifespan of the machine in question.


The idea behind preventative maintenance is that it minimizes the chance of failure among essential parts of a machine. Preventative maintenance involves periodic inspections of a machine, preplanned maintenance activities, and minor repairs. Using the vehicle example, getting your oil changed, tires rotated, and brakes checked involves inspections that are intended to prevent a larger problem in your vehicle.


What is predictive maintenance?
Predictive maintenance is a somewhat different approach to maintaining a vehicle or machine. Predictive maintenance relies on quantitative data to figure when a breakdown will likely happen. Using this data allows one to predict when a problem will occur. If your vehicle has brake pads that statistically wear down after 60,000 miles, predictive maintenance tells you that you should replace them at 50,000 to 55,000 miles even if you don’t experience a drop in quality.


Using predictive maintenance, a service appointment for your vehicle wouldn’t just include an oil change, but also checking your oil’s water content, pH level, and even looking for the presence of trace metals. Of course, this level of intensive inspection wouldn’t be cost-effective. Predictive maintenance becomes ideal as the cost of required maintenance actions goes up. Replacing a component of a machine, which has statistically shown to fail at a given point even if it doesn’t show any sign of failure, has proven to be economically viable due to the breadth of quantitative and qualitative data on a given subject.


Regardless of the apparatus, the folks at JHF provide you with the most extensive options for maintaining your machine. They are diligent in providing you with any tool needed to get the job done.