Corrective Maintenance

What is Corrective Maintenance?

Corrective maintenance, also termed breakdown or run-to-failure, addresses faults in systems or equipment. Assigned post-discovery during routine preventive maintenance, it aims to rectify issues before they escalate into major breakdowns, preventing production halts.

Why Is Corrective Maintenance Important?

Corrective maintenance is crucial for preventing minor issues from escalating and ensuring performance restoration. For instance, when repairing an AC unit’s fan belt, a technician might discover a refrigerant leak. This corrective task, scheduled after issue discovery, prevents the leak from worsening. Without such intervention, the leak could become a health hazard, leading to emergency maintenance and service interruptions.

Examples of Corrective Maintenance

Emergency Repairs:
Urgent fixes to prevent breakdowns, like repairing a subway door that disrupts service.
Service Outages:
Restoring downed services, such as fixing a broken telephone line promptly.
Addressing broken elements, like repairing a burst water pipe swiftly.
Performance Restoration:
Enhancing performance, such as optimizing slow-performing software.
Quality Assurance:
Correcting poor quality, like resolving excessive noise from an AC unit.

Techs performing corrective maintenance

Dispelling a Common Myth About Corrective Maintenance

Corrective maintenance, when part of a planned strategy, is a controlled and cost-effective approach, not a last resort. It complements preventive maintenance and is suitable for non-critical, easily repairable assets.

The Right Time to Use Corrective Maintenance

While preventive maintenance is an excellent way to extend asset life cycle and curtail unscheduled downtime, corrective maintenance may be a better solution in some cases.

Non Critical Equipment | Overall Equipment EffectivenessNon-Critical Equipment:

Ideal for inexpensive and easily repairable non-critical assets.

Computer Maintenance Management SystemComputer Maintenance Management System (CMMS):

Effective when systems have redundancies to operate correctly even with part failures.

Proper Maintenance Operations | Best EAM SoftwareProper Maintenance Operations:

Appropriate when asset failure doesn’t compromise equipment safety.

Advantages of Corrective Maintenance

Cost-Effective for Non-Critical Assets:
Ideal for low-cost, easily replaceable equipment, as the expenses are incurred only when issues arise.
Simple Implementation:
Straightforward to implement, especially for smaller organizations with limited resources.
Reduced Planning Complexity:
Minimal upfront planning required, making it suitable for assets with lower impact on operations.
Applicability to Redundant Systems:
Suitable for systems with redundancies, where the failure of one component does not halt overall functionality.

Disadvantages of Corrective Maintenance:

Unexpected Downtime:
Unplanned breakdowns can lead to unexpected downtime, affecting productivity and service delivery.
Increased Repair Costs:
Repairs conducted during breakdowns may incur higher costs compared to proactive maintenance.
Potential Safety Risks:
Failure to address issues promptly may lead to safety hazards, especially in critical systems.
Asset Lifespan Impact:
Frequent breakdowns and repairs can contribute to a shorter overall lifespan for the equipment.
Limited Predictability:
Lack of predictability can make it challenging to schedule resources and plan for maintenance activities.

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of corrective maintenance helps organizations make informed decisions about when and how to incorporate it into their overall maintenance strategy.

How a CMMS Can Help With Corrective Maintenance

How a CMMS Can Help

Streamline the reporting process

Implement a CMMS for efficient problem reporting. Create an online form allowing users to submit tickets, managed by the maintenance team. This ensures a systematic approach, preventing disruptions to technicians’ ongoing tasks and maintaining a digital trail for scheduling.
Customize the form to include photo submissions, task priority, building number (for large facilities), and equipment type. Standardizing work order requests minimizes ambiguities, aiding maintenance planners in triaging corrective tasks effectively.

Optimize the Workflow

Establish standard maintenance procedures for technicians, even for assets not currently under preventive maintenance. Leverage CMMS features for quick access to maintenance logs, a spare parts management system to control inventory, performance restoration and centralized asset information (OEM recommendations, fault patterns, and procedures). This proactive approach minimizes downtime and maintenance costs, contributing to overall operational efficiency.

Manage scheduling

Effectively managing corrective maintenance scheduling alongside preventive tasks is essential for equipment maintenance. Utilizing a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) provides real-time insights, allowing prioritization of tasks based on urgency. The system facilitates a quick view of active corrective tasks, pending schedules, performance restoration and technician assignments. When a work request comes in, the CMMS aids in identifying available technicians, minimizing disruptions to ongoing tasks. Emphasis is placed on performance restoration by addressing urgent issues promptly. Additionally, optimizing technician assignments, fostering communication, continuous improvement, and establishing emergency protocols contribute to an efficient and streamlined scheduling process, ensuring timely resolution of maintenance tasks while maintaining overall operational effectiveness.

Create communication channels

Establishing effective communication channels is crucial for streamlined corrective maintenance, involving not just the maintenance team but also employees working with assets awaiting repair. Lack of updates can lead to inefficiencies, such as a technician waiting unnecessarily. A mobile Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) proves invaluable here, offering a built-in chat function for seamless on-site communication between managers. Additionally, the system provides push notifications to promptly alert managers of crucial changes. This ensures a smoother workflow, preventing delays caused by miscommunications and fostering a more coordinated and efficient maintenance process.


While corrective maintenance may be suitable for specific assets and situations, it is not universally the most effective approach. Its potential drawbacks, including costly downtime, shortened asset lifespan, and safety concerns, highlight the need for a more comprehensive maintenance strategy. An optimal strategy should encompass preventive and predictive maintenance. Leveraging a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) proves to be instrumental in implementing these proactive maintenance approaches, ensuring a more sustainable and efficient management of assets while minimizing risks and enhancing overall operational effectiveness.

Related Resources

Types of corrective maintenance
The Corrective Maintenance Process

1. Detect the failure – This usually happens during a preventive maintenance task.

2. Diagnose the problem – What parts are faulty? If it’s a fast fix, the problem is rectified immediately. If not, the technician creates a work order.

3. Eliminate the defective part

4. Order a replacement part — If you have a reliable corrective maintenance strategy, you’ll already have this part in stock

5. Implement and test function

How to Integrate Corrective Maintenance Into Your Maintenance Plan

Corrective maintenance should be a conscious decision on the organization’s part, with a polished workflow that functions as part of the overall maintenance strategy.

Create a System for Reporting Problems

Machine operators and other employees need a quick and easy way to report problems, such as through a request box or a work request form on your website or employee portal that is integrated with your CMMS.

Either way, a paper or digital trail is crucial so that tasks don’t fall by the wayside. A member of the maintenance team should be appointed to check these requests regularly and assign tasks.

Provide your technicians with detailed work orders

Technicians need access to necessary information needed for corrective tasks, including problem description and asset history.

Schedule corrective maintenance tasks

Maintenance planners need an efficient way to schedule and monitor maintenance so that they can easily incorporate corrective maintenance tasks as they arise, and triage tasks accordingly.