In several respects, breakdown maintenance is one of the cleanest types of maintenance: when something breaks, it gets repaired. However, despite its simplicity, it can lead to costly and risky combinations of downtime. As with any other item in your toolbox, you must know when, where, and how to utilize it. 

Know about Breakdown maintenance 

Breakdown maintenance is the maintenance performed by your team when anything malfunctions. It is also known as reactive maintenance, which makes sense given that it is the reverse of proactive maintenance. In reactive maintenance, rather than the maintenance department establishing and implementing a preventative maintenance program with inspections and activities to detect and correct little issues, you wait for the problems to come to you. 

You may use the proverbs “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” and “Don’t go hunting for problems” to explain and promote breakdown maintenance. 

In narrow, restricted circumstances, it is excellent counsel. But in some locations, the situation is severe. 

Breakdown maintenance Examples 

Planned breakdown maintenance is often performed on low-cost, non-essential equipment components. As long as failures do not endanger health and safety, companies are permitted to choose run-to-failure. 

The following instances are great candidates for breakdown maintenance: 

  • Short-Term Property (e.g. batteries, high-flow pumps) 
  • Non-Critical Equipment (e.g. hand tools) 
  • Unrepairable Equipment (i.e. not designed for repairs) 
  • Cheap and Disposable Items (e.g. light bulbs) 

What sorts of breakdown maintenance exist? 

Run-to-failure maintenance is another name for breakdown maintenance. As the name implies, it includes doing maintenance chores on a failing asset. It is often employed when avoiding failure is impractical or economically impracticable. Two forms of breakdown maintenance exist: 

  • Planned Breakdown Maintenance:  In this situation, a company predicts a certain sort of equipment failure in the near future. However, because the malfunction will not affect productivity or represent a hazard to safety, management decides to use the equipment until it fails. 
  • Unplanned Breakdown Maintenance: Unplanned downtime is known to every facility on the world. Sometimes, equipment fails at inconvenient, unexpected, and expensive moments. Since all machinery is unreliable, most facilities budget for unanticipated maintenance costs. 

It is important to note that breakdown maintenance and corrective maintenance are frequently conflated. Although the phrases look comparable, they are not identical. 

The Positive and Negative Aspects of Breakdown Maintenance 

Providing maintenance after equipment failure may be incredibly cost-effective, which is one of the greatest advantages. It eliminates preventative maintenance of unnecessary equipment. For example, without regular maintenance operations, lubrication, spare parts management, etc., the business will save a significant amount of money by just doing maintenance on broken equipment. 

Another typical benefit is that the business may concentrate more on the maintenance of essential equipment. Since preventative maintenance will not be performed on the equipment, the maintenance manager can reallocate maintenance specialists to critical assets, therefore optimizing resource utilization. 

Another benefit of performing maintenance following a breakdown is that it extends the useful life of asset components. As a result of the equipment receiving repair after failure, the components will be utilized for longer durations, resulting in fewer replacements and cheaper costs. However, this only applies if the practice does not interfere with the equipment or activities. 

While those were the advantages of equipment maintenance performed after a breakdown, there are several disadvantages to this strategy. 

First, the parts of equipment that undergo just emergency maintenance will need to be replaced sooner rather than later due to their increased wear and tear. 

Additionally, maintenance after failures might result in output disruptions. Imagine, for instance, that the lighting on a certain facility floor is defective and not functioning correctly. This will result in a disruption of production since it will be extremely risky to operate heavy machinery in dim or no light. 

Maintenance that is not adequately planned or conducted for a machine that requires preventative maintenance can be costly for the business. If the equipment is repaired after a breakdown, it will result in more unscheduled downtime, production interruptions, and greater expenditures (more component replacements, for example). 

Moreover, if it is a costly piece of machinery, it will endure greater wear and strain, leading to its untimely demise. Lastly, maintenance after failures reduces expenses only temporarily. Long-term, it leads to a large rise in expenditures, including more repairs, more replacements, more components, more energy usage, and more production interruptions. 

How Organizations Handle Maintenance Following Breakdowns 

Planned breakdown maintenance, also known as run-to-failure maintenance, allows organizations to let some assets operate until they fail. As previously indicated, these assets may be towards the end of their useful lives, do not have a high priority, or are low-maintenance assets such as lights. Organizations may utilize powerful CMMS systems to produce work orders once machines fail or to encourage machine workers to instantly report failures using the app. For instance, Uptimeai facilitates the reporting of emergency maintenance by authorized users. However, if this is the case, the organization must have the resources necessary to do emergency repair and maintenance following such breakdowns. 

What is Breakdown Maintenance vs. Preventive Maintenance 

The pillars of every professional maintenance program are preventive maintenance (PM) and breakdown maintenance. One might even argue that they are the most prevalent maintenance procedures around the globe. There is a widespread misperception that facilities only practice one choice (i.e., preventive maintenance vs. breakdown maintenance). To fulfill their objectives, most maintenance teams rely on corrective, scheduled, preventive, and predictive maintenance. 

  • Preventive maintenance refers to actions that are conducted on a recurring basis to avoid breakdowns. These responsibilities include doing routine inspections, reporting detected equipment concerns, and replacing components prior to breakdown. The primary objective of preventative maintenance is to identify and address minor concerns before they become major ones. 
  • Breakdown maintenance, often known as corrective maintenance, is a maintenance method where activities are performed only when an asset fails. Only when maintenance duties become urgent are they completed. For instance, fixing or replacing a malfunctioning water heater. 


With a CMMS software solution however, enterprises may simply streamline and manage maintenance following breakdowns. As previously noted, workers in the vicinity need to report faulty or damaged equipment for maintenance supervisors to be alerted and assign resources, facilitating maintenance management. 

UptimeAI eliminates surprises and helps eliminate unexpected downtime. UptimeAI’s “AI Expert” is highly adaptable, allowing businesses to tailor it to their needs and make it their own. 

Contact us today to achieve operational excellence.