The 5 Most Typical Causes of Servo Motor Failure

As industrial automation technologies have become more prevalent, the use of servo motors has increased dramatically. A servo motor is an electric motor that controls mechanical components like rotary actuators and linear motion slides.

Though durable and reliable, servo motors are not immune to failure. This blog post will discuss the five most typical causes of servo motor failure.


One of the most common causes of servo motor failure is overheating. When a servo motor overheats, it can cause the internal winding insulation to break down, leading to a complete loss of motor torque. Additionally, overheating can cause the lubricant in the motor to degrade, resulting in increased friction and wear on the bearings.

To prevent overheating, ensure the servo motor has proper ventilation and the ambient temperature is within the specified operating range. Additionally, regularly inspect the cooling fins and clean them if necessary.

Mechanical Shock or Vibration

Another common cause of servo motor failure is mechanical shock or vibration. Exposure to shock or vibration can damage the winding insulation, bearings, and other internal parts of the servo motor.

To protect your servo motor from shock or vibration, mount it on a shock-absorbing foundation and use flexible couplings between it and any external equipment. Additionally, make sure that all the fasteners are tight and secure.

Electrical Shock

Electrical shock is another leading cause of servo motor failure. When a servo motor might be around an electrical shock, it can damage the winding insulation and other internal parts. Following proper wiring and grounding procedures is important if you want to protect your servo motor from electrical shock.

Poor Lubrication

Another common cause of servo motor failure is poor lubrication. When a servo motor’s bearings and other moving parts don’t receive proper lubrication, they will experience increased friction and wear, leading to premature failure.

Making sure your servo motor is properly lubricated is one of the best ways to prevent premature failure. If you are unsure how to properly lubricate your servo motor, consult the manual or the manufacturer for more information.


Contamination is another leading cause of servo motor failure. When dirt, dust, or other contaminants build up on the internal components of a servo motor, they can cause increased friction and wear. This friction can eventually lead to premature failure of the servo motor.

You’ll see contamination often in machines that work in tough environments, such as food processing or outdoor applications. To protect your servo motor from contamination, regularly clean the internal components and keep the surrounding area clean.

These are the five most common causes of servo motor failure. Understanding these causes can help reduce lead time when equipment goes down and avoid costly repairs. Not only could this help your bottom line, but it could also keep your operators safe.

Whether you have one machine for a specific application or an entire production line, downtime is costly. By understanding the most common causes of servo motor failure, you can take steps to prevent it from happening.

By Dianne Pajo

Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.