How to Deal with Motor Failure Over the Holidays

March 13, 2023

Motor failure over the holidays? A disaster we’d all like to avoid! In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common causes of electric motor failure, some best practices to avoid failure, and some quick tips on reducing downtime when the inevitable happens.

Causes of Motor Failure

Bearing Failure

51% of all electric motor failures are directly related to the bearings. Too little or too much lubrication, contamination of the lubrication, and the incorrect grade of lubrication can lead to overheating, vibration, and eventually bearing failure.

The best way to avoid bearing failure and extend your electric motor's life is to develop a preventive maintenance schedule. Servicing and lubricating bearings as needed and following the manufacturer’s guidelines will help you avoid any excess vibrations that would lead to bearing failure.

Winding Failure

Winding failures are most often caused by overheating due to multiple factors such as improper voltage, overloading, and bearing damage. Operating your electric motor above its load rating will lead to overheating issues and eventually cause the windings to fail. Excess voltage, a lack thereof, and unbalanced voltage can also lead to overheating of the windings.

Check your electric motor nameplate for the manufacturer’s load and voltage ratings to ensure that your motor is up to the job. Additionally, double-check that you’re overload and voltage protection is rated properly and working.


It’s essential to make sure that you mount your motor correctly. Loose bolts can cause unwanted vibrations that will lead to bearing damage and issues with other components within the electric motor. Misalignment can lead to axial bearing load and shaft overload, causing a vibration that eventually leads to damaged components. Shaft overload will also lead to excessive belt wear and damage, causing more downtime and a loss of income as more parts will need to be replaced regularly.

Having properly trained staff install the motor correctly according to the manufacturer's specifications and regularly inspecting mounts as part of your preventive maintenance schedule will help you avoid these costly issues.

Contamination and Cooling Issues

Avoiding the overheating of your electric motor is incredibly important. As we’ve noted so far, overheating can lead to multiple different failures. Motors are manufactured with built-in cooling capabilities, but external contaminants can hinder the motor’s ability to dissipate the heat it’s producing. Damaged or missing cooling fans and a build-up of ice and other contaminants (such as dust and oil) will also reduce the motor's cooling ability.

Include the inspection of cooling fans and other cooling components in your preventive maintenance schedule to help you stay one step ahead of overheating issues. Making sure to purchase a motor with the correct casting material and keeping the motor clean from any build-up will reduce overheating and, in turn, reduce the chances of component failures.

Dealing with Motor Failure

The Right Motor for the Job

Purchasing the correct motor for the job helps you avoid overloading/overworking it and ensures that you have the correct motor for the environment it will be working in. Checking the motor nameplate for specifications before purchasing a replacement will help you find a motor that is up to the task. Utilizing the cross-reference matches on our website will help you find the brand, price, and delivery timeline that meets your requirements. And if you still feel unsure, our team of experts is on hand to help you every step of the way.

Preventive/Predictive Maintenance

Including preventive and predictive maintenance tasks in your processes and procedures will help you stay ahead of the game when it comes to repairs and replacements. Proper bearing lubrication and the regular inspection of wiring (including voltage tests) will help extend the life of individual components and reduce the chance of breakdowns. Completing additional inspections just before the holiday season will help you catch any small issues before they become big issues right when your local electric motor and accessories supplier is closed.

Spares on Hand

Through your predictive maintenance inspection, you may find components that are worn but not quite failing. Ordering the parts ahead of time and storing them in a clean environment can help reduce downtime when that replacement is required, as you won’t have to wait for your supplier to ship the part to you. Additionally, keeping a spare electric motor on hand would also result in cost savings due to less downtime. Make sure to keep your spare motor and parts in a clean, dry, and vibration-free environment to avoid any damages before use.

eMotors Direct on Speed Dial

Sometimes the unexpected happens! As much as you try to plan, breakdowns can still happen. Keeping your trusted electric motor and accessories supplier on speed dial can help you get back up and running as fast as possible.

Here at eMotors Direct, our agents are standing by for 24/7 online chat to help you find what you need to keep your business motoring on. Ordering on our website is quick and convenient, so you can reduce your downtime and save money. By signing up for our Loyalty Rewards Program, you get the advantage of seeing your previous orders so you can easily reorder the exact part you need. And with 30 manufacturer distribution centers across Canada, your motor or replacement part is never too far away.


Motor failures happen, but getting ahead of your preventive and predictive maintenance tasks can help you catch failures before they happen, reducing downtime and saving you money. Planning for the holiday season can ensure that your electric motors are running smoothly and that any parts you may need will already be on hand. And when all else fails, we’ll help you get the product you need, fast.

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