Preventive vs Predictive Maintenance: An Essential Guide

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preventive vs predictive maintenance

Many fleet managers today may be concerned about maintenance costs and reducing vehicle downtime. A predictive or preventive maintenance plan can keep the vehicles in your fleet running while reducing vehicle downtime and the need for pricey repairs. In order to properly manage your fleet, you should understand the difference between preventive vs. predictive maintenance and consider the pros and cons as you create your maintenance plan.

Preventive Maintenance vs. Reactive Maintenance

Maintenance strategies for fleets usually fall into three categories: reactive, preventive, and predictive maintenance. Reactive maintenance is considered the least effective maintenance strategy because it relies on only repairing components or equipment after they have broken down.

Reactive maintenance may seem like the easiest option in the moment.  Some argue that each part gets its maximum use and maximum production output of the component. However, this maintenance strategy is only beneficial up until the part fails, and the cost of repairing the run-down part could be more than the production value you gained from using the part to its limit.

Preventive maintenance, on the other hand, is more effective. But what exactly is preventive maintenance?

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive (also known as preventative) maintenance is scheduled maintenance that occurs whether or not the upkeep or part replacement is actually necessary. While it is designed to keep parts in working condition, this maintenance style does not account for the state of a part.

Preventive maintenance is all about regularly scheduling steps to prevent issues before they actually happen. In this process, a mechanic has a checklist of equipment that needs to be replaced and parts that should be inspected, and then calibrates, repairs, replaces, or cleans according to that list. Preventive maintenance is typically scheduled on a regular cadence (ie. every 6 months) and requires some vehicle downtime, which could negatively impact productivity without proper preparation and planning.

Since preventative maintenance involves a list of predetermined steps tied to a schedule you may miss crucial issues that would be caught with predictive maintenance. But what exactly is predictive maintenance?

What is Predictive Maintenance?

Predictive maintenance happens as needed. The fleet manager will collect and analyze machine operation data in real time to determine any problems before they interrupt production. In this process, fleet managers look at the condition of the component, engine, or vehicle and then repair or swap out an old part for a new one when necessary. Predictive maintenance involves regular inspections and ensures repairs and replacements happen before problems arise. If a vehicle must be pulled for repair, the downtime is shorter and more targeted, because it is based on real-time data. Predictive maintenance is advantageous because it creates a system where parts get their full life and repairs are performed before problems develop.

Predictive vs. Preventive Maintenance

Wondering whether to use preventive maintenance or predictive maintenance? There are advantages and disadvantages to preventive maintenance vs. predictive maintenance. Preventive maintenance is proactive, limits any unplanned downtime, increases the lifespan of the vehicle, and results in the fairly efficient use of equipment. This system works well with expert personnel. That being said, preventive maintenance might be addressing issues that don’t actually exist, since maintenance occurs regardless of whether problems were identified. It also increases planned downtime and requires more extensive inventory management for replacement parts.

Predictive maintenance is also proactive, involves shorter downtime, and identifies existing issues early on so that they can be immediately addressed. It also improves inventory efficiency, since parts are not replaced while they are still usable. While it may sound like a no-brainer, predictive maintenance comes with a few challenges. For example, predictive maintenance might require additional personnel and training because it is more complex and requires an experienced mechanic who can diagnose problems. Additionally, companies may need new equipment and technology infrastructure to collect and share data.

The Future of Fleet Maintenance

Wondering where fleet maintenance is headed in the future? What will happen with preventive vs. predictive maintenance? Predictive maintenance is the way of the future since it helps fleet managers prevent vehicle breakdowns. And, by using real-time performance data and analysis to predict when components will fail, fleet managers can reduce their maintenance and upkeep expenses. While the data-driven approach to maintenance is still in its early stages, a growing amount of information is captured by onboard sensors and systems, which allows fleet managers to be more proactive when it comes to equipment repairs.

How Lytx Can Help

Lytx is dedicated to providing fleet managers with insights that can help you make informed decisions to help improve safety, enhance productivity, reduce costs, and maintain compliance. Fleets that leverage Lytx's GPS fleet tracking solution (especially those with an Engine Control Module connection) get data that can help inform them when maintenance needs to be done, including engine hours, fuel consumed, miles driven, braking, acceleration, odometer, idle time, RPM, throttle, and more.

Lytx now offers a preventative maintenance feature in its fleet tracking service. In addition to receiving data from the ECM, users can now schedule reminders for preventative maintenance in the Lytx interface.

For further information about fleet tracking and preventative maintenance, contact us or book a custom demo to learn more about our fleet management services.

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