Mastering Preventive Maintenance Checklists: A Comprehensive Guide

A preventive maintenance checklist is one of the best ways to optimize your routine maintenance activities. Preventive maintenance is necessary to avoid breakdowns, failures, and downtime, but your best chance of reaping these benefits is by doing it right.

Reaping these benefits requires going beyond depending on staff memory and breaking your maintenance process down in ways that are detailed, organized, and easy to understand.

Why Does Preventive Maintenance Matter?

Preventive Maintenance is the process of, as the name implies, preventing equipment failures. It involves all maintenance activities that workers or maintenance technicians carry out on assets and equipment on a planned or routine basis.

These activities could be regular maintenance activities like cleaning and lubrication, which don’t depend on the asset’s state. They could also be targeted preventive actions based on the assets’ current state: for example, if workers notice signs of wear on an asset part, they step in to replace it instead of waiting for the machine to break down. This example would be a form of condition-based maintenance.

Another form of preventive maintenance is predictive maintenance, which uses IoT devices and sensor technology to predict when breakdowns are likely to occur. You can then schedule maintenance activities to coincide with impending failures instead of doing all activities according to a preventive maintenance schedule.

Corrective or reactive maintenance takes place after a breakdown. It is often more costly and time-consuming to fix assets once they fail. This is why getting preventive maintenance is vital.

The Benefits of Preventive Maintenance

Decreases Downtime: You can’t prevent all breakdowns, but a robust preventive maintenance program will help you prevent failures and significantly reduce your asset downtime.

Improves Cost-effectiveness: Small problems often require simpler and easier fixes. A good preventive maintenance plan helps you identify problems when they are small and avoids the costly fixes they would require if they develop into more significant problems. Forbes reports that Unplanned Downtime costs the manufacturing industry as much as $50 billion annually.

Increases Staff Productivity: Instead of fixing problems, staff can direct their focus and energies to the actual production work.

Improves Safety: Keeping a piece of equipment in good condition reduces the likelihood of accidents that can compromise the well-being of staff.

Increases Asset Life: Preventive maintenance tasks help prevent asset degradation, meaning assets can last longer. You’ll also spend less on replacing assets.

“Any preventive maintenance program should be clearly defined, with well-documented maintenance activities for each piece of equipment. It should also be regularly reviewed and adjusted as necessary.”

Why Use Preventive Maintenance Checklists?

Here are a few ways checklists can help simplify your preventive maintenance processes.

Help Your Staff Be Thorough

The best way to ensure your maintenance team doesn’t forget any steps in the process is to have it all written down. Digital technology like CMMS (computerized maintenance management software) apps and maintenance software makes this even better as you can set tasks to show in checklist form. This approach also helps avoid human error in maintenance, as they have clear instructions to follow.

Streamline Your Workflows

Checklists can help simplify work orders. Instead of lengthier work instructions, you can break these down into checklists that staff can easily understand.

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Standardize Your Processes

Another thing a preventive maintenance checklist can help with is ensuring that your staff members follow standardized processes. Standardizing your operations is essential because consistency helps maintain the quality of your preventive activities.

Two people might have different approaches to the same problem, but having a standard routine ensures your staff members take the route you’ve determined to be the best.

Simplify Your Audits and Troubleshooting

A pm checklist is an excellent way to identify the problem if anything goes wrong. You can easily see what maintenance tasks your team has completed and which they haven’t.

Onboard New Staff Easily

With checklists, you can onboard new team members and get them used to your maintenance processes much quicker. You can bypass lengthy explanation periods and provide them with direct and clear step-by-step instructions.

Creating a Preventive Maintenance Checklist: The Basics

A good checklist should fit your facility’s specific needs and manufacturing processes. As such, all checklists should look different. However, there are some basic steps to take when putting together a preventive maintenance checklist.

  • Organize your checklists according to categories: For example, create safety checklists, asset management checklists, building checklists, HVAC checklists, and so forth.
  • Make sure your checklists are easy to understand: Break them down into the simplest forms for your staff to follow.
  • Make checklists accessible: This is another area where CMMS can help. Many CMMS apps come with checklist templates. You can use these templates to create and store checklists in the app, giving your staff easy access.

Examples of PM Checklists

As stated, your checklists will be unique to your specific facility. But here are a few basic examples of what routine or preventive maintenance checklists can look like.

Safety Checklist

  • Ensure safety instructions, signs, and symbols are visible and in good condition.
  • Ensure fire extinguishers are present where required.
  • Ensure fire escapes and stairs are accessible and free of obstructions.
  • Ensure proper storage for chemical products. They should be sealed and clearly labeled.
  • Dispose of chemicals according to the instructions.
  • Ensure first-aid kits are present, well-stocked, and accessible.
  • Ensure chemical products are sealed, clearly labeled, and stored.
  • Check and clean respirators.
  • Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functional.
  • Check and/or test fire alarm system.
  • Ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) is always available.

HVAC Systems Checklist

  • Drain boilers to remove any accumulated sediment.
  • Check pumps; lubricate bearings at least once a year.
  • Check thermostat calibration.
  • Clean air intake when necessary and change air filters monthly or bi-annually.
  • Clean air-conditioner.
  • Check for excessive noise or vibration when blower motors are running.
  • Test condensate drain pans.
  • Clean water heater and minimize mineral buildup.
  • Inspect all electrical connections.
  • Test air conditioning.
  • Check fluid levels.

Plumbing Checklist

  • Lubricate circulation pump and domestic water booster systems at least once a year.
  • Lubricate drinking water chillers’ condenser fan motor bearings. Be sure to drain and replace oil in compressor oil reservoir.
  • Lubricate any exposed pumps at least once annually.
  • Ensure hot and cold water runs in all sinks and tubs.
  • Fire-test water heaters and boilers periodically.

Create Digital Checklists with MaintainX

Looking to take your preventive maintenance to the next level? MaintainX is a Computerized Maintenance Management System that empowers you to automate your processes. For example, with MaintainX, you can create and store checklists and assign work orders while maintaining a complete audit trail.

With real-time updates, you can see which work orders are in progress, which have been completed, and who worked on what. MaintainX also houses a global procedure library containing procedures to improve maintenance, safety, and operations.


How long does it take to implement MaintainX?

For the average customer, it takes three weeks to implement one site. For customers on our Premium & Enterprise plans, our team ensures a smooth transition to MaintainX within your organization. Partner with a dedicated implementation specialist through our structured three-week onboarding process. Learn more about our Implementation services here.

Is MaintainX secure?

MaintainX is compliant with security standards, including SOC 2, ISO 27001 & GDPR. It also supports Single Sign-On (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA) and custom permissions and roles. For more information, visit our Trust Center page.

Does MaintainX support multiple sites?

Yes, MaintainX Enterprise allows you to manage multiple plants or facilities within the same platform. You can also create customized reporting dashboards to track KPIs across multiple sites on the same screen.

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Lekan Olanrewaju

Lekan Olanrewaju is a content writer at MaintainX with years of experience in media and content creation. He has held positions at various media organizations, working with and leading teams at print magazines, digital publications, and television productions.

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