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November 13th, 2019

What Happens When Things Are Not Maintained?

Maintenance procedures are vitally important for the success of any business. The act of maintenance involves preparing, fixing, replenishing, and modifying anything that is used on a regular and consistent basis. Maintenance can be the simple act of maintaining a residential lawn to the complicated procedure of lubricating a hydraulic machine.

Indeed, maintenance is essential to any business, and especially businesses that depend on assets that are susceptible to wear and tear. Almost every business relies on some type of procedure that involves regular maintenance. Without the dedicated and hard-working people who work on maintenance crews, paint will peel, mold will grow, grass will die, and hinges will squeak.

Maintenance Categories

When you hear the word maintenance, you might automatically think about industries. But in fact, the need for maintenance spans small businesses, cars, pets, homes and appliances. Maintenance can be categorized in many different types, and whether it's preventive, predictive, or routine, the neglect or mishandling of maintenance procedures can lead to adverse consequences.


Yes, observation is an important aspect of maintenance. Observation can include visual checks and inspections of a wide array of assets, such as equipment, tools, real estate, structures, inventory and biological agents. Even databases need maintenance.

Maintenance Costs

Maintenance costs are always a concern, as many variables can negatively affect the ability of an establishment to perform proper maintenance on their equipment, property and staff. Recessions, rising cost of living, increasing energy costs, and changing consumer habits can put a strain on the revenue of a business, resulting in cutbacks in their maintenance budget. Unforeseen events are also a concern, as weather events and health issues can blindside companies and their efforts to conduct regular activities in their maintenance schedule.

In today's world, more business owners, as well as private home owners, are turning to smarter solutions in an attempt to conserve time, energy and resources. For example, heat waves and water shortages have affected U.S. cities in past years, resulting in more property owners favoring fake grass over real grass.

Maintenance Cutbacks

Weather or not to implement maintenance cutbacks depends on the industry. The airline industry can't afford to cutback on their routine procedures that keep their planes flying safely through the air. Consequently, the event of budget cutbacks for maintenance staff would directly result in either cutbacks in the number of scheduled flights or risk safety to passengers.


Managing shutdowns is the key to preventing cutbacks. Effective shutdowns will not consume the savings it is capable of generating, allowing a manufacturing plant to operate normally under it's historic conditions. Because of recent economic and health issues, effective shutdown management has become critical to the operation of most businesses, whether in manufacturing, milling or large workshops. Maintenance shutdowns are usually implemented to reduce costs, and an effective shutdown can reduce costs by 30-50 percent. By Using shutdown management techniques, savings and improvements can be made without sacrificing employee work and production.

Black Swans

A black swan is a major event that transcends what can be predicted. It's a rare situation that goes well beyond what is normally expected and has potentially severe consequences. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a university professor, first used the term "black swan" in the mid 2000's and argued that black swan events are impossible to predict due to their extreme rarity and have catastrophic consequences. It's a rare event that can happen at anytime, and whatever it may bring, try to plan for it in any way you can. More specifically, the only real way to plan for a black swan event is to have an open mind to what seems impossible and to diversify your methods of preparation.


Earthquakes are not black swans because earthquakes happen everyday. There will always be earthquakes, and they can happen anytime, anywhere. Making dire predictions is not an act of predicting a black swan because black swans cannot be predicted in the first place. However, it's safe to say that Covid-19 was not a black swan because it was inevitable that another virus was coming. In other words, it was not such an outlandish prediction that nobody would accept it. We can all take a note from Bill Gates who warned us about the possibility of a pandemic. In 2015, Bill Gates warned of the threat of an airborne virus that could catch us off guard and surprise us with great difficulty. "It's coming," he said. In a TED talk, the Microsoft co-founder highlighted Africa's 2014 Ebola virus scare, and said the U.S. and other countries were not prepared for future pandemics that are inevitable.

Before the spread of COVID-19, businesses in the U.S. were enjoying a strong economy and low unemployment. Aside from the next economic bubble, there didn't seem to be any major problems looming on the horizon. But when April of 2020 came around, the level of seriousness began to sink in as the shutdowns and restrictions took place. Since then, COVID has had a tremendous impact on businesses in the U.S., and around the world, especially in the area of maintenance.

Golf Courses

Golf course have been hit hard by the Corona pandemic, as many superintendents are operating with limited staff and facing resource constraints that could get worse over time. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of questions out there about what would happen to a golf course if maintenance was discontinued for various lengths of time. There are more than just a few basic procedures that keep a large plot of land looking presentable and playable. Aside from grass mowing and irrigation, there is also maintenance for sand bunkers, ponds, trees, barriers and security to consider.

The staff at the Green Section put their heads together to answer some of the common questions they we're hearing about..

Artificial Turf

Artificial turf is basically a low maintenance lawn but there are still some regular measures that will have to be taken in order to blow out dust and dirt, pick up trash, and basic cleaning. Without occasional cleaning, a beautiful artificial lawn will look shoddy and unkept.


When a vehicle sits too long without driving, moisture can build up in moving parts of the engine. This can cause "hydrolock," an abnormal condition that commonly affects a reciprocating internal combustion engine. Hydrolock occurs when enough water enters the cylinder between the cylinder wall and piston and prevents the engine from starting. Since water is not able to be compressed, the starter cannot initiate enough strength to turn the crank and get the pistons traveling through the cylinders. The pistons are compressed in place from the water, and the engine essentially "locks up." One simple maintenance trick will prevent this - drive the vehicle on a regular basis.

What is "Maintenance Free?"

The U.S. CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS allows for some manufacturers to include "maintenance free" on their labels and statements when it comes to vehicle batteries. Maintenance free doesn't necessarily mean "100% maintenance free." But if the procedures only require very minimal maintenance, then it could be accurately labeled as so. Lead-acid batteries typically consume some of the distilled water during a normal cycle of operating a vehicle. Adding distilled water periodically is necessary to keep the plates flooded and extend the service life of these types of batteries. Visual inspections should include watching for acid and corrosion build-up on the battery connections.

Alaska Airlines Flight 261

Alaska Airlines Flight 261 was an international passenger flight from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, to Seattle Washington that crashed into the Pacific Ocean a few miles north of Anacapa Island, California. The accident killed all 88 on board.

The NTSB concluded that the crash was a result of inadequate maintenance that led to excessive wear of primary components of the flight control system. This caused a loss of airplane pitch control resulting from the horizontal stabilizer trim system jackscrew assembly. The thread failure was caused by excessive wear resulting from insufficient lubrication of the jackscrew assembly.

The investigation then found that scheduled maintenance had failed to adequately lubricate the jackscrew assembly, a procedure that took about four hours. In interviews with the Alaska Airlines mechanic revealed that the SFO mechanic who was responsible for lubricating the jackscrew assembly in September 1999 did not adequately perform the task.

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