Preventive Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide [2020]

Created by ronniekongs Aug 24, 2020

Preventive maintenance is an important part of the management of any type of infrastructure, contributing to the increase of equipment lifetime, the decrease of unplanned downtime, and, ultimately, the reduction of long-term maintenance costs.
In this ultimate guide, we explore what preventive maintenance is and what it consists of, why it is so important, what its advantages and disadvantages are, how to create a preventive maintenance plan, and how to outline a schedule. We also provide examples and a preventive maintenance plan template in Excel, for free download!

What is preventive maintenance?
Preventive maintenance consists of interventions that prevent breakdowns and decrease the probability of an asset failing. That is, it is a type of planned maintenance that is performed even when a piece of equipment maintains its operational capacity.
It can be as simple as cleaning the filters on HVAC appliances or inspecting the bearings on centrifugal pumps, but it also includes more complex inspection plans, calibration and/or gauging plans, detection of gas leaks and other cyclic revisions.

Types of preventive maintenance
Generally, we can divide preventive maintenance into two main types:

  • time-based, i.e. periodic reviews performed at previously defined periods, regardless of asset utilization (e.g. periodic inspection of elevators every 2 years or elevators every 6 years).


  • usage-based, i.e. based on the actual use of the assets, such as the lubrication of a machine every x production cycles (every 500 uses, as an example) or the review of the fleet vehicles when they reach a certain mileage (10,000 km).

Some consider that there are two other types of preventive maintenance – predictive maintenance and prescriptive maintenance. Still, although they share the goal of preventing breakdowns and asset collapse, there are substantial differences between these three types of maintenance:

  • predictive maintenance focuses on predicting when a failure will occur to prevent it. Unlike preventive maintenance, which is scheduled and follows predefined time or usage milestones, it is based on the condition of the equipment. Check here for more differences between predictive and preventive maintenance.


  • prescriptive maintenance uses Artificial Intelligence to prescribe maintenance actions based on the data and indicators collected about each equipment. Therefore, it requires a high level of computerisation and is associated with Industry 4.0.