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What is a Maintenance Checklist?

By Felicia Dye
Updated Feb 08, 2024
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A maintenance checklist is usually a document that contains the items that need to be or that have been reviewed. These items will vary depending upon what type of object is being analyzed. The items on a maintenance checklist can also be affected by the category of maintenance.

There are different types of maintenance. There is predictive maintenance, which involves observing a functioning item to determine when a fuller degree of services will be necessary. There is also preventive maintenance, which usually involves taking an item out of service to maintain it so large problems are not encountered in the future. A preventive and predictive maintenance checklist should vary greatly.

An automotive maintenance checklist is usually preventive maintenance. People often have their vehicles serviced to prevent major damage. The client is generally made aware of the items that will be involved in the service.

Once the service is done, the client may be presented with a completed maintenance checklist. This will usually show what actions were taken in regard to each item on the list. For example, if brake fluid needed refilling, this will be noted.

Building inspectors usually have a maintenance checklist that is developed by a higher authority. Their checklist usually includes items that need to be checked to ensure a building is safe for habitation. This can include the condition of the ceilings and foundation. It also includes safety items, such as access to fire escapes and the location of fire extinguishers.

It is well known that buildings deteriorate without proper upkeep. Building inspectors, however, do not normally need to evacuate a building to perform a maintenance inspection. Therefore, this type of maintenance can be considered predictive.

Once the inspector has completed his inspection, he normally presents a copy to the person in charge of the building. That person can ensure that any substandard conditions are addressed. When he then presents his list to a service provider, it becomes a different type of maintenance checklist.

A driver’s checklist is another that is generally composed by a higher authority. This type of maintenance checklist dictates all the things a driver should check before entering her vehicle. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy before she takes it onto the road. These checklists are commonly used during driving tests to determine whether a person should be issued a driver’s license. If a person does not inspect all of the things on the list, she may fail the test.

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Discussion Comments
By SkyWhisperer — On Aug 31, 2011

@hamje32 - I worked as a janitor for some time while going to college, and we had a building maintenance checklist.

It was a lot of work. We had to mop, clean carpets, change the trash, clean the bathrooms – a lot of physical labor.

It certainly wasn’t a glamorous profession by any stretch of the imagination, but at the end of the evening, just looking over the finished, gleaming work was very satisfying. I even took my work home; I made my apartment cleaner.

By everetra — On Aug 31, 2011

@hamje32 - I believe in having a maintenance checklist; like you, I don’t want to leave anything to chance.

The only gripe I have is when I go to get an oil change at some of these big franchise places, and they are always trying to up sell me on some new maintenance item that they claim that I need.

This happens on just about every occasion that I go in there, even when my regular maintenance checklist says my car should be okay for now. I suppose since the mechanics get down in the engine, they can tell if something needs fixing; I suppose this would fall under the category of predictive maintenance that the article talks about.

However, in situations like this, my ignorance of cars works against me; I don’t know enough to say no, so I say yes to the up sell, and my “oil change” now costs more than I expected it to.

By hamje32 — On Aug 30, 2011

I live by the car maintenance checklist that comes with my automobile – I stick to it religiously.

Honestly, the reason I do that is that I know almost nothing about cars, and worry that if I miss a scheduled maintenance then something will go wrong. I don’t know if that concern is justified, but so far I’ve avoided major mishaps with my automobile.

I’ve had oil changes, timing belt replacements, brake pad replacements, tire rotations and coolant flushes; beyond that nothing major has happened, although my car is not yet that old. I realize that they don’t last forever.

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