How to Create a Preventive Maintenance Checklist?

Learn about what a preventive maintenance checklist is and how to create one. Also learn about the benefits of using PM checklists.


Maintaining the manufacturing process is essential to any company's ability to satisfy its clients and earn higher profits. Unplanned equipment downtime affects your bottom line, causes fierce pressure, and is unavoidable.

Preventing or minimizing downtime is crucial to accomplish your production objectives and ensuring customer engagement and satisfaction. Fortunately, the challenges are efficiently addressed with the steps outlined in your preventive maintenance checklist.  

This article discusses the importance of a preventive maintenance checklist and a comprehensive step-by-step process to create a preventive maintenance checklist.

What Is a Preventive Maintenance (PM) Checklist?

A preventative maintenance checklist outlines the actions that your technicians must carry out during a maintenance inspection. It comprises both time-based and condition-based activities, ensuring that critical issues are avoided and remedied. A preventative maintenance program identifies and eliminates costly and perhaps hazardous future challenges.

The company's maintenance actions will provide more significant results if the company creates and implement a robust approach that includes a rigorous preventive maintenance checklist.

Preventive Maintenance and Success of Your Business 

A preventive maintenance strategy is a vital asset to any company. Experts can discover possible problems before they create downtime by evaluating the equipment's wear and tear. Preventive maintenance helps to extend equipment life by identifying and addressing errors before they become major challenges.

Consider an essential component of the machinery that costs Rs 2,74,000 to replace, not adding the revenue lost due to disruption in production. It might survive five years if not maintained, and the machinery may last up to ten years with preventative maintenance that costs Rs 3,000 each year. The longer the equipment lasts without being replaced, the greater the return on investment. Over ten years, the overall savings would be close to Rs 234,000 without contemplating the benefits of continuous production and reduced downtime.

Preventive maintenance contributes to the bottom line by lowering the requirement for emergency repairs and increasing efficiency. A well-executed preventative maintenance plan can be a valuable asset for the organization.

Key Benefits of Using PM Checklists

The following are the key benefits of using PM checklists:

  • Increased Job Productivity and Uniformity of Workflow

The skilled technician has to undertake to maintain and service operating equipment. Outlined process guide decreases the time necessary to do the work accurately. Checklists increase production, guide technicians on how to complete the tasks appropriately, and improve the overall quality of the final output.

  • Significant Cost-effectiveness and ROI

As a result of improved asset quality and lower operating costs, the organization can benefit from PM checklists as they boost ROI. Preventive maintenance is also cost-effective as experts will be rightly placed considering their accessibility, downtime, and equipment placement.

  • Improved Safety 

The comprehensive PM checklists outline the essential asset maintenance actions that reduce human mistakes. Furthermore, including safety guidelines decrease the chance of a work-related mishap.

  • Effective Maintenance Planning 

Every repeating activity has a predetermined technique and amount of time to complete using well-designed PM checklists, making the maintenance planning process simpler. Furthermore, using checklists to standardize these processes makes it simple to identify which equipment and supplies are required for each activity.

As a result of spending less time scheduling specific assignments, maintenance administrators can focus more on streamlining processes and boosting dependability.

  • Simplified Troubleshooting

As preventive maintenance checklists ensure consistency, they are a foundation for tracking maintenance activities. This baseline enables you to record information more precisely and assess if a certain operation improved results or not. When all jobs are completed in the same manner, over and over, the number of feasible problems is reduced, and lowering the number of potential faults simplifies troubleshooting.

  • Improved Equipment Dependability

All of these advantages stem from increased equipment reliability. Maintenance professionals are less likely to overlook issues during inspections, each operation is meticulously planned with all required supplies on hand, and the equipment has fewer defects and inconveniences.

A Brief Guide to Creating a Preventive Maintenance Checklist

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all maintenance checklist, and The ideal one depends on the kind of equipment or service you are utilizing in the first place. Preventive maintenance checklists are classified into the following types:

  • Equipment and Machines
  • Vehicles and Fleets
  • Buildings and Facilities

Creating a preventive maintenance checklist involves data, best practices, and personalization according to your business requirements. Here we have some key points to keep in mind while creating your PM checklist: 

  • Emphasize Safety Measures: Preventive maintenance checklists should begin and conclude with safety instructions, such as necessary PPE, lock-out tag-out guidelines, and ways to fix the space.
  • Check Operation Sequence: Preventive maintenance checklists should contain activities in the sequence and describe which operations should be executed and when.
  • Implement the Preventive Maintenance Framework: When applicable, a PM checklist should adopt the sequence of tasks.

Here is an example of a preventive maintenance checklist for machines:

  1. Safety – Before each shift, ensure that the machinery is clear of debris.
  2. Clean – Every day, clean the machine surfaces of grease, dust, and other loose particles.
  3. Adjust – Inspect for any loose components and tighten them as needed. Regularly calibrate machinery.
  4. Inspect – Inspect tools regularly for sharpness and good performance. Examine the area for leaks, damages, and mechanical failure, and secure electrical connections.
  5. Replenish –  Monitor all machinery fluid levels and air filters in the HVAC system regularly and change them as required.
  6. Replace – Look for any worn-out or broken components or tools and replace them.
  7. Rebuild – Reconstruct any worn out or defective custom-built components.

Include Enough Information: PM checklists must contain a lot of information so that fresh technicians can complete the assignment by reviewing the checklist. Unnecessary detail can be deceptive and challenging to comprehend.

Provide Visuals and Diagrams: PM checklists should include visual representations of the directions to simplify the process and clarify misunderstandings.

Be As Precise As You Can: Each task on a PM checklist needs to have clear action and aim in order to ensure maximum efficiency.

Specify the Time Required for Each Task- Allow enough time for operations so that technicians feel free.

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Steps to Create a Preventive Maintenance Checklist

Step 1: Set Goals for Your Preventive Maintenance Strategies

The first step is to identify the primary goals of your preventive maintenance plan. Then, check through the past maintenance data to set targets. If your company has a five- or ten-year plan, it is a useful resource. Are you planning to expand your production and distribution or build new facilities? Set the time to define and integrate your preventive maintenance program's goals with your overall company goals. The table below shows some instances of how this may look:

Based on your goals, some management activities will rise to the top of your priority list.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Equipment

Once you have determined what objectives you have to accomplish, thoroughly record your activities and the present condition of your equipment. Many maintenance technicians lose sight of exactly what's in their facilities when equipment fails and components are changed, so a rigorous audit of each item will assist in streamlining this process.

You'll need to detail the replacement components it utilizes, its expected/past downtime, average response times for maintenance, and the expenses associated with maintaining it, in addition to keeping inventory of each item, its model, and its serial number.

Step 3: Keep a Record of Applicable Standards and Regulations

Most facilities must adhere to stringent health and safety regulations, which may necessitate the management of certain equipment parts. Federal and state regulations have some rules in place that need specific maintenance duties and processes, and you have to integrate those into your preventive maintenance checklist.

Step 4: Select Critical Assets

You can prepare a preventative maintenance checklist for each asset. However, this is not feasible for businesses with hundreds or even thousands of assets. Choosing only a few assets to start with is less daunting and helps you find out what works and what could be modified in your preventive maintenance checklists. 

You can select assets to set up preventive maintenance tasks by categorizing assets depending on their criticality. A critical asset would be detrimental if it were to crash and thus should be prioritized when devising a preventive maintenance approach.

After this, identify the operations for those critical assets. These operations can include cleaning, lubrication, ventilation, oil or air filter changes, chain or belt adjustments, or the inspection, repair, or replacement of different parts. Once you've determined which activities should be included in your checklist, you can focus on writing guidelines.

Step 5: Get the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Manuals

OEM manuals include instructions for the kind and regularity of equipment servicing, directions for repairing or replacing a component, safety rules, and serial numbers.

Incorporating these guidelines into your PM plan aids in keeping equipment working as intended by the manufacturer.

Furthermore, these insights assist professional technicians in understanding asset requirements for effective maintenance.

Step 6: Create a List of PM Tasks for Each Asset

Outline the kind of preventive maintenance operations you will need to undertake for each item on your list. Some of the most popular tasks are:

  • Inspection items (with parts to check)
  • Lubrication
  • Metering and condition monitoring
  • Tuning and adjustments
  • Changeover tasks
  • Replacement of recurring parts

Along with these operations, keep track of their frequency, importance, and required equipment. Using past checklists as a reference can assist in this process.

When specifying each activity's priority, some failure mode and impact analysis can be useful to determine what could go wrong, how it could affect your facilities, and what you could do to avoid it.

Step 7: Provide Specific Instructions for Checklist Items

Once you have determined the activities you want to accomplish for each item, it's time to compile your list. Each item on your checklist should be comprehensive enough to allow professionals to know what they're expected to perform, including an estimate of how long it will take, and organized logically and sequentially.

Alongside the list of items, leave space for the technician to indicate whether or not the task is done. Consider having a note-taking column where they may jot down anything out of the norm or give a recommendation for whoever performs the checklist next.

Make a separate list for each item or system that needs to be inspected. In some scenarios, your list might encompass a complete building or process, whilst in others, it might be machine-specific.

Step 8: Train Your Employees

Once you have written your checklists, you must ensure that your maintenance staff follows them correctly. There is often some resistance to using checklists, but if you take the initiative to explain why they are necessary and show best practices, it can assist in simplifying their use. It may take some time, but the ultimate result is worthwhile.

Step 9: Make Everything Available on Mobile Phones

Field techs should have mobile access to take work orders and PM checklists to accomplish their tasks.

CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) software has mobile capabilities but requires good internet connections and has prolonged procedures to request, amend, or modify work orders. This is inconvenient, time-consuming, and not user-friendly for technicians and suppliers on the field and hinders engagement.

Choose a CMMS that automates complicated operations, executes work orders, and includes a simple mobile app for seamless collaboration.

Step 10: Monitor the Results and Make Changes

Monitor the results of your PM checklists when they are put into use. With time, you may detect the mistakes or things you can integrate into the list, revise the time needed to finish, or guide your technicians if they find difficulty in performing the operations.

It can be advantageous to think of the initial deployment as a test run. You'll be able to make changes in the long-term operation as you acquire data from one or two assets. The objective is to be adaptable and to strive for constant progress.


Preventive maintenance checklists are an essential component of any effective PM plan. Checklists help to eliminate misunderstandings and reduce the possibility of human missteps. PM checklists simplify the work and enable maintenance personnel to focus on projects that best utilize their knowledge and time.

You can also use the mobile app template for preventive maintenance tasks. It takes a few simple steps to get a unified operations and maintenance mobile application powered by a no-code, drag-and-drop app builder, Zorp.  

Zorp’s use case templates can assist you in keeping track of the critical aspects of a thorough preventive maintenance plan, such as needed inspection visits, maintenance processes, planned maintenance, and more. The handy application can assist you in avoiding emergency repairs, breakage issues, and equipment downtime.

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