Four Early Warning Signs Your Electric Motor Is Failing

9 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog


By the time your electric motor refuses to start, it is often too late to make repairs, leaving you with the cost of replacing the motor or appliance entirely. Although there are a wide variety of electric engines designed to meet a number of different needs in use today, the most frequent troubles usually stem from the same, common problems inherent to the structure of these motors. Instead of waiting for your engine to fail at the most inconvenient opportunity, keep an eye out for these indicators that it will need repairing soon. 

Burnt or Darkened Paint

Many electric motors are coated in paint to provide extra protection and prevent corrosion. These paints are designed to withstand temperatures in the engine's typical operating range, which is why you should take any burnt or blackened spots seriously. Overheating engines quickly wear away the insulation that shields the motor's winding, or the spirals of fine wires that conduct most of its electricity. Blockages in ventilation and cooling systems are a frequent culprit in overheating electric motors, but it can also be caused by pushing the engine beyond its performance capacity or working in a hot environment. 

Noisy Bearings

The bearings in an engine support its moving parts, ensuring that they move smoothly and efficiently. It may not be surprising, then, to learn that bearing issues are responsible for an estimated half of all motor failures. A single flaw developing after prolonged use can throw important components slightly out of alignment, exerting more stress on the system and forcing it to work harder to compensate. Over time, the flaws compound themselves until the whole engine fails. If your electric motor begins to rattle alarmingly every time you fire it up, it may be time to your replace worn-out bearings. 

Dirt or Moisture in the System

An engine that is consistently coated with dust or moisture is going to experience problems at some point. Dust and dirt clog vents and lead to overheating, while moisture can short out electrical wiring and circuitry and also cause the corrosion of metal components. This is an especially common problem in appliances like vacuum cleaners, yard cleaning tools and washing machines. Make sure that your equipment is protected from moisture at all times, and clean it off before using it. In cases of water damage, any exposure may require immediate repairs to operate the motor safely. 

Excessive Vibration

Corrosion, faulty bearings, improper installation techniques and an unbalanced seating can all cause vibration in motors. Some vibration is to be expected with nearly any motor, but a machine that is suddenly much louder or more difficult to handle is likely experiencing an internal issue that could prove catastrophic if left to get worse. Typically, the longer you wait to address the situation, the less likely it is that the engine can be saved. For this reason, as soon as you realize that something is amiss, take your tool or appliance to an electric motor repair specialist such as Hackworth Electric Motors Inc to determine the specific malfunction and halt it before the damage can spread.