4 Reasons Your Electric Motor Can Fail

2 December 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Electric motors are often used in commercial and industrial grade equipment because of their durability. However, just like most other mechanisms, they aren't invincible. There are several issues that can affect the way the motor operates and lead to a failure. Fortunately, most of these scenarios are avoidable with proper maintenance. Ensure you know what to look out for.  

Debris Buildup

Depending on the type of environment in which you operate the unit, dust and dirt debris can be a problem. The primary issue with this type of buildup is that it prevents the fan from operating correctly. When the fan isn't functioning properly, it won't cool the motor as it should, leading to overheating and eventually failure. If you operate in a high dust or dirt environment, it's wise to invest in a motor shield to keep debris out.

Excessive Vibrating

Excessive vibration is another issue that may cause your electric motor to fail. Vibration occurs when the motor is misaligned, which allows it to move around during operation. The most common reason for this issue is corrosion. When the motor fasteners corrode, they loosen, leaving space for movement. When addressed early, you can simply replace the fasteners without any damage to the motor. However, when left unaddressed for an extended period, this can damage the motor permanently.

Electrical Overloading

Electric motors are designed with a maximum capacity level at which they can operate. Under certain conditions, such as faulty wiring, the level of current that flows into the motor can exceed this rating, leading to an overload. Generally, if an overload is to blame, motor failure will be sudden and significant. To avoid this, before operating the device in a new location, always make sure the electrical circuit is properly wired and equipped to handle your power needs.


It is imperative that you keep moisture away from your electric motor. One of the more common problems is poor ventilation, which can lead to excess moisture in the air. In addition to corrosion, excess moisture can also lead to insulation damage. Failing insulation will affect the way the motor performs, causing it to work harder and wear faster. Ensure you are operating the unit in a well ventilated, moisture free environment.

The faster you can address a problem with your electric motor, the better. At the first sign of a problem, make sure you are having your unit serviced by a repair professional, like one at Hackworth Electric Motors, Inc.