5 Signs That Your Facility Needs a New Electric Motor

5 Signs That Your Facility Needs a New Electric Motor

Your electric motor is a critical part of your facility’s operations. When it works correctly, it ensures the highest efficiency, safety and productivity for you, your workforce and your clientele. 

Like any other moving component, electric motors will eventually break down. Equipment breakdowns can cause extended downtime, lost profits and potential dangers for people nearby. All too often, the warning signs for an industrial electric motor breakdown go unnoticed. 

To avoid the consequences of a breakdown, you need to ensure your facility has a correctly working electric motor. Learn about the telltale signs that you need a new electric motor.

How to Know if You Need a New Electric Motor

Make sure you’re aware of these five warning signs for electric motors when they start to go bad. Keeping your eyes and ears open for these signs will help you get a jump on your electric motor issues and avoid potential downtime throughout your facility. 

1. Catastrophic Failure

Catastrophic failure is when your electric motor suddenly stops working — and it’s a clear sign that your motor needs to be repaired or replaced. This sign is the fastest way to know that you need a new electric motor. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive. When this happens, all of your operations will grind to a halt, and nothing will work until you pay to replace the motor. 

Catastrophic failure can result from:

  • Rising temperatures
  • Melted parts
  • Mechanical issues affecting the frame or shaft

Unfortunately, significant damage often occurs when an electric motor suddenly stops. Because of the possible widespread damage resulting from catastrophic failure, repairs may be insufficient. You’ll have to get a new electric motor. 

2. Bad News After an Inspection

You’d be wise to have a professional regularly inspect your electric motor. Industrial electric motors can last for many years with preventive maintenance, saving you time and money. Identifying potential issues can help extend your electric motor’s life, keeping it running for years. 

Unfortunately, an inspection can reveal some severe issues with your electric motor. Remember, it’s better to get this bad news before your electric motor experiences catastrophic failure. That way, you can minimize downtime and get a replacement when it’s convenient for your facility. 

3. Overheating Components

One of the contributing factors to catastrophic failure is overheated components. An electric motor overloading is often a result of an external source. If you notice a motor running hotter than usual, we recommend investigating promptly. If the electric motor operates under these conditions for any extended time, you might consider replacing the motor once the origin of excessive load is resolved.

5 Signs That Your Facility Needs a New Electric Motor

The design of an electric motor is specific to generating a certain amount of HP/torque while dissipating heat. Once you exceed these design criteria, the electric motor rapidly begins to fail. The winding insulation becomes brittle and loses its insulating properties, and the bearing grease liquifies, losing its ability to lubricate. 

This reaction can result in a locked rotor and potentially a winding overload failure. These types of failures often render the electric motor impractical to repair. Overheating components can also cause extensive damage to the driven load and power source switchgear, making replacement a better option than repair.

4. Vibrations

Rotating equipment is designed to operate with a specific range of vibration tolerances. Once an apparatus is operating outside these tolerances, the electric motor and its attached load are destined for failure. Excessive vibration left unattended can result in catastrophic failure, rendering the electric motor unrepairable and downtime unavoidable. 

Excessive vibration is as damaging to an electric motor as excessive heat. Both are capable of rendering a motor unrepairable if left unattended, resulting in the need to replace the motor and likely its linked components. 

Identifying the source of these failures is critical. Simply replacing failed components may lead to another failure if you don’t remedy the root cause of the problem. Thankfully, routine inspections can help you identify signs of excess vibration or overheating.

5. Poor Performance

You can tell when an electric motor is working as it should be. You’ll experience minimal vibrations, and component temperatures will stay at a safe level. When they’re running properly, industrial electric motors can operate at peak load times without any issues. 

It’s quite the opposite when your electric motor is nearing the end of its useful life. You’ll encounter plenty of the issues we mentioned earlier. You may find your electric motor can’t keep up with your facility’s demands. If that’s the case, you should consult with your electric motor provider for replacement and/or service options.

Is Your Electric Motor Worth Repairing?

There are many aspects to consider when choosing whether to repair or replace your electric motor. Here are some primary considerations to help you make the best decision for your facility:

  • Cost of downtime
  • Product availability
  • Viability of repair
  • Critical nature of the application
  • Root cause of failure
5 Signs That Your Facility Needs a New Electric Motor

If you face challenges in making this decision, you are not alone. There is no easy answer and every application requires an evaluation. Typically, choosing the lowest cost of downtime with the lowest cost of ownership leads to the best possible outcome. Here are some questions you can ask to make the right decision:

  • Can you determine the root cause without disassembling the motor?
  • Is the savings of repair worth the cost of downtime?
  • Is the motor repairable?
  • Will the new electric motor cost less to operate?
  • What’s the return on your investment?
  • How much are you willing to invest in the failed motor before deciding to replace it?

Need Help? Our Field Representatives are well-versed in everything from your power distribution to your rotating equipment. Combined with our extensive background in application and product knowledge, we can help you make an informed decision that is best for your company. 

How a New Industrial Electric Motor Can Save You Money

If your electric motor is a decade or more old, it could be operating on borrowed time. Eventually, electrical and mechanical wear will result in an equipment failure, and you’ll be facing unproductive downtime.

Choosing to buy a new electric motor is a long-term investment that can be very valuable for your facility. Here are some benefits that come with a new industrial electric motor:

  • Factory warranty: New motor warranties often extend beyond the typical 1-year repair warranty. 
  • Less downtime: Unplanned downtime always translates into lost profits and unhappy clients. A new electric motor offers immediate resolution to downtime. This also creates an opportunity to repair the failed motor as a spare for future downtime mitigation.
  • More energy efficiency: Older equipment is usually less energy-efficient. If you’re riding out an old electric motor’s operating life to save money, its inefficiency could be forcing you to spend more on your energy costs. A new industrial electric motor will save you money on your facility’s energy bill every month. 

Feel free to run your current electric motor’s performance metrics in our Motor Efficiency Calculator to find out how much you could save by investing in a new electric motor.

5 Signs That Your Facility Needs a New Electric Motor

Contact Industrial Electrical Company for Electric Motor Services

IEC is a full-service electrical company with expertise dating back to 1935. We’ve served thousands of satisfied customers in California’s Central Valley and western Nevada. Our services include:

When you experience the warning signs of an equipment breakdown and need turnkey solutions for your electrical motor, we’re the ones to call. Reach out to us today at 209-528-5102 or fill out our online contact form


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Our motor shop is located right in the Central Valley and can complete any job from total welding services to custom modifications. To learn more about our services, classes and products, contact us online today.

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