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5 Common Things To Go Wrong With an Electric Motor

5 Common Things To Go Wrong With an Electric Motor

So many things can go wrong with an electric motor. These complex machines require specialized maintenance, making it easy for malfunctions to occur. Even well-maintained motors experience failure that could halt your operations at a moment’s notice.

Operators should be able to recognize signs that their equipment is failing. Noticing these issues will help extend the life of your essential machines. Look out for these common electric motor malfunctions to keep your equipment in top condition.


While industrial motors look like heavy-duty machines, they are actually quite sensitive to their surroundings. Small bits of contamination, such as dust, can wreak havoc on their internal components.

Some particles are corrosive, and others create buildup over cooling fans and other crucial mechanisms. Contamination often leads to problems like overheating, wear and tear, and current interference.

Low Resistance

Another common electric motor malfunction is low resistance. This happens when winding insulation wears down due to excessive heat and abrasive contamination.

Low resistance is detrimental to the health of your motor. Uninsulated equipment will short circuit and eventually fail completely. Make sure you’re inspecting your electric motor’s insulation and replacing materials as they degrade.

Power Surge

Anything that runs on electricity can fall victim to a power surge. Too much electricity can overwhelm industrial motors and cause them to shut down entirely.

The solution to this common electric motor problem is installing a VFD (variable frequency drive). These devices vary frequency and voltage so that your equipment can handle all of that power.

Bearing Damage

Bearings are among the most important components in an electric motor. They can lose lubrication when they sustain damage, producing too much heat and corrosive movements.

It’s not unheard of for bearings to experience misalignment. If you notice excessive noise and vibrations coming from your industrial motor, check the bearings and make sure they are operating correctly.

Moisture Exposure

Of course, it’s no secret that water and electrical devices don’t mix. It’s common for things to go wrong with an electric motor if it interacts with moisture in any way.

Controlling humidity levels will decrease the amount of moisture your motor comes into contact with. With a combination of humidity-monitoring technology and proper storage, you can protect your electrical equipment from water and prevent catastrophic disruptions.

If you notice any of these common electric motor problems in your own machines, contact a Midwestern electric motor rebuild service like Illinois Electric Works. We have the resources and knowledge to get your equipment up and running, no matter the issue.


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