Maintenance tasks in the business environment are increasingly relevant because it is no longer taken as an expense, but as a long-term investment that guarantees the proper functioning of equipment and machinery over time. However, it is very common that many people do not know what the difference between preventive maintenance and corrective maintenance, since these types of maintenance are the most used.

The main difference between these two types of maintenance, is that preventive maintenance is based on a work plan (called maintenance plan) and corrective maintenance is usually used when a machinery fails suddenly and must be repaired in the most timely manner.

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When we refer to good maintenance practices of a company, preventive maintenance is recommended, both to have good financial indicators and availability of different equipment and consequently a good efficiency in production issues.

Its operation is basically focused on the execution of a maintenance plan, this maintenance plan allows to generate work schedules for the different machines depending on their history of interventions, their working time and the spare parts, which the manufacturers recommend to intervene.

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Tasks such as cleaning, lubrication and routine measurement or visual inspections are generally part of preventive maintenance, therefore they must be performed with a frequency established through the maintenance plan.

Corrective maintenance is applied just when machines suddenly fail, its general objective is to enable the machine in the shortest time possible, so that production is not lost. This type of maintenance is based on urgent jobs, therefore, it has a higher cost from the economic point of view.


This is perhaps one of the most important factors to which there are notable differences between preventive and corrective maintenance. This is because the cost of corrective maintenance is much higher and regularly not within a budget..

The costs associated with corrective maintenance are as follows:

  • Cost of the necessary parts to repair the machine, which in many cases are not in a warehouse inventory, because they are parts that we have within a maintenance plan.
  • Value of the loss of production and everything associated with it (loss of raw material, loss of time of the operators).
  • Cost of unplanned overtime for technicians, supervisors and maintenance engineers.
  • Collateral damage within the production line, only in cases where the machines depend on each other in their normal operation.

On the other hand, preventive maintenance, because it is done through a maintenance plan, can be budgeted for. The following is a list of costs associated with preventive maintenance:

  • Value of spare parts for replacement, which should be within an inventory in the warehouse (oils, greases, belts, bearings, gears, etc.)
  • Cost associated to the salary of the technicians in charge of the preventive maintenance (regularly lower, since no overtime is estimated).


As we said at the beginning, preventive maintenance is different from corrective maintenance because we know when it is going to be executed, it is always done in established periods of time. Unlike corrective maintenance, which only happens at the time of a failure within the machine.


Like the occurrence, the duration of preventive maintenance is established within the routines that are within a maintenance plan, which allows for production planning taking into account the maintenance needs of each of the machines.

On the contrary, corrective maintenance, besides not knowing when it will happen, does not know how long the repair of a machine can last. Everything will depend on the severity of the failure and the achievement of the spare part that must be changed.


There are several ways to manage in an organized way the preventive and corrective maintenance, which will depend on the type of company that requires it.

In the case of companies where there is a specialized area for maintenance, where there are technicians, supervisors and engineers in charge, it is best to have a computerized system in which you can have records of equipment, spare parts, technicians, work orders and maintenance plans.

In the event that the company does not have enough resources to acquire such computerized systems, the solution is to manage through templates or Excel macros. Which will allow you to save information and make decisions based on data. In addition to having the possibility of migrating to a cloud system or local software in the future.

However, there should be a work culture, both from the maintenance managers and the executors, to report all the information generated in work orders carried out. Otherwise it will not be possible to advance in a good maintenance management.


To conclude, although corrective and preventive maintenance happen in different ways, they have an inverse relationship, because in a company where preventive maintenance is deficient, the percentage of corrective maintenance will increase. On the contrary, a maintenance management based on preventive maintenance plans will reduce considerably urgent corrective works.

Therefore, maintenance managers should always try to make preventive maintenance the way to keep their equipment; because they have greater economic, organizational and efficiency advantages.

This way we arrive at the end of this post, hoping that it is clear what the differences between preventive and corrective maintenance are.