Electric motors have arguably been the sole reason for increased efficiency and productivity in industries like manufacturing, automotive, construction, and so many more. By automating many processes, companies can allow the machinery to handle repetitive work and put the actual workers to better use elsewhere. While electric motors have undoubtedly made many jobs easier and streamlined a multitude of processes, these motors also require maintenance. Even if you regularly maintain your electric motor, there’s a possibility that you’ll experience a motor failure at some point. Luckily, failure doesn’t mean you need to replace your motor. In fact, there are some common reasons for electric motor failures. If you’d like to learn the typical causes of electric motor failure, we’ve got you covered. Continue reading to learn more.

Over- or under-lubrication

With all their moving components, every motor requires lubrication. The challenging part is finding the right amount of lubricant. If you use too much or too little, your motor could overheat and possibly result in internal damage to the motor. To ensure proper lubrication, we’d encourage you to look at your motor’s manual or contact a dependable motor repair service like Moley Magnetics.

Power supply issues

Sometimes your motor could overheat because you’re overloading the circuit. Before installing a new electric motor, you must ensure you have adequate power in the area, otherwise your motor will fail and potentially cause outages. If you’re unsure whether you have adequate power or not, we’d encourage you to hire a professional industrial electrician. Alternatively, if you’re sure that you have adequate power and your motor still failed, a common reason for failure is power surges. A surge can happen from overloading circuits, but they’re especially commonly from storms.

A dirty motor

You may be on top of your lubrication schedule with your motor, but you may have forgotten a basic maintenance requirement––keeping the motor clean. Every electric motor has vents and requires clean and sufficient airflow to ensure peak performance. Though, many facilities fail to keep up with regular maintenance such as cleaning their equipment. One of the common reasons an electric motor fails is overheating. The most common cause for overheating is a dirty motor, specifically a dusty motor. Many facilities and job sites that use motors have lots of dust and debris. So naturally, a motor’s airflow pulls that dust and debris towards the motor’s vents, and eventually inside the motor. Depending on how dusty your workplace is, it may be best to clean your motor after each day. On the other hand, many facilities will only need to check their machines every couple of weeks.


As we mentioned previously, overheating is certainly one of the main reasons for motor failure, and the culprit is usually dust and debris. However, overheating can occur for a few different reasons. While it may seem obvious, the environment surrounding your electric motor can have a significant impact. For instance, if you’re working outside at a construction site, you’re not only going to have an issue with debris but with the temperature itself. By having the motor outside in the sun, it’s only a matter of time before your motor overheats, especially if it’s not clean. We’d encourage you to keep the motor under a tent or another source of shade on the job site to reduce the chances of overheating. Now, we understand that shade and tents aren’t always available on job sites, and that’s okay, since it’s unlikely that the sun will permanently damage your motor. However, we would suggest that you use the motor sparingly and allow it enough time to cool down, otherwise you could overheat the motor, and consistent overheating can lead to long-term damage.

Moisture and humidity

Both indoor and outdoor workplaces could be hot and humid, which is a recipe for motor failures. Moisture and humidity are a lot like dust and debris, because as the moisture builds up, your chance of overheating increases. Not to mention, moisture and electrical items are never a good combination. Ideally, your workplace would be climate-controlled, but we know that’s far from a reality for many. Instead, you should keep an eye on the motor and wipe down any excess moisture as it builds up. If you see moisture inside the motor, always unplug or kill the power source before putting your hands inside the motor.

Excessive vibration

Of course, every motor is going to vibrate to some extent, but there’s a fine line between quivering and vibration. If you notice that your motor is vibrating excessively, that should be a red flag that something is wrong and that you may need a repair. Typically, the vibration is a result of the motor being uneven or incorrectly positioned. Alternatively, the vibration could be a sign of worn out bearings. or corrosion. Though the vibration may not seem like a big issue, you should never let a motor vibrate for an extended amount of time, as it can cause permanent damage. If you’re certain your motor is properly aligned and it’s still vibrating, you should reach out to Moley Magnetics sooner rather than later for servicing.

In some lesser-common cases, a motor failure can be the result of a motor that’s been permanently damaged. However, with all the typical causes of electric motor failure discussed above, many failures are easily reversible and preventable. Although you should always take care of an electric motor and perform basic maintenance, you should never take your motor apart in an attempt to “find the problem.” Instead, bring or ship your motor to a professional and reliable repair service.

As a family-owned business that started as a motor repair shop, Moley Magnetics has you covered. While we’ve expanded our business into industrial magnets, alligator shears, pumps, and more, we haven’t lost touch with our roots. As a leading supplier and servicer in the industry, Moley Magnetics is a respected and well-recognized company that values high-quality products and services. Our family has extensive industry experience to the point where we can take your motor apart and get it back up and running in no time. If you’re ever in need of a motor repair, a new motor, shears, magnets, and more, contact us today. Our family will be happy to serve you.

Electric Motor Failure Infographic