For some service technicians, motor repair really means motor replacement. After all, if you don’t know how to fix a broken motor, changing a malfunctioning unit may be your only option.

For others, repairing the small electric motors that power pool and spa pumps is a useful way to keep down the cost for the customer while earning a tidy profit.

When it comes to motor service, Elias Duran is an acknowledged expert. When he finishes his weekly service route, his attention often turns to motor repair — and he’s been teaching the basics of motor teardown and repair for more than a decade.

The owner of Duran’s Pool & Spa Service in North Hills, Calif., offers some pointers for technicians to keep in mind as they approach ailing motors:

Always use quality replacement parts, as recommended by the motor manufacturer. When tearing down a motor or replacing parts, never force anything — or you may end up replacing additional parts.

If you need help with a motor, take it to a reputable motor-repair shop.

Be safety-conscious when working with electricity. Always be sure the motor is grounded before connecting the power. Another must: The power source needs to be disconnected before you begin working on the motor. Also be sure you are using the correct electric voltage.

Remember that some slight differences may occur between different motor models. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s handbook for the specific model you’re repairing.In the accompanying pictorial, Duran offers instructions on how to tear down and reassemble a motor. He also provides detailed troubleshooting tips and instruction on how to replace ball bearings, perhaps the most common form of motor repair.

An invaluable skill for any service technician, motor tear down and reassembly are needed for most repairs. Follow the steps in this slideshow for tear-down, bearing replacement and reassembly.

The last step

You’ve finished the motor reassembly, but before reinstalling the unit, Elias Duran, owner of Duran’s Pool & Spa Service in North Hills, Calif., suggests taking one more step: If the motor’s cover is scratched, rusted or faded, give it a new coat of paint.

First clean the motor cover, then mask the nameplate and other important labels on the face of the motor with tape. (It’s crucial to protect the nameplate before painting because it bears information critical for future troubleshooting or motor replacement.)

Now apply a light coat of spray paint to give the motor a clean, rejuvenated appearance.

A final hint from Duran: Use the original paint color — or, if your customer prefers, use a color that matches the other equipment on the pad.