Image: Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times, 1936

The title of this post is a little misleading, but is there to make a point. Whilst considering how users can maintain there possessions in peak condition and extended the useful life of a product it is important to delineate between maintenance and repair.

In simple terms, looking to the definition of the words, each is defined as follows:


verb (used with object)

  • 1. to restore to a good or sound condition after decay or damage
verb (used with object)
  • 1. to keep in existence or continuance; preserve; retain
  • 2. to keep in an appropriate condition, operation, or force; keep unimpaired

In general use, it can be considered that for something to be repaid, it must first be damaged or broken. This can be as a consequence of mechanical or material failure or as a consequence of wear through use or age. Maintenance aims to slow or prevent wear, extend the period between the failure of parts and, in doing so, extend the life of a product. There is a blurred boundary between the two when we consider the replacement of components due to wear and tear. This can be seen as both repair and maintenance, it seems that repair is a form of maintenance on the understanding that the repair is undertaken before the object in question fails.

There are instances where parts of products are replaced before they fail so as to prevent failure and this replacement is a form of maintenance.



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