What is the difference between a defect and a failure?

3 Answers

Jaimie  JT Profile
Jaimie JT answered

I can only think of a Saturday night defect versus failure.. Saturday night defect : I'm getting ready to go out around 11pm and my mascara wand is broken so I can't do my make up properly and my eyelashes look bad and clumpy  :/ DEFECT  ! Or !! It's Saturday night around 11 pm and I'm trying to put on mascara but I've been drinking wine since 6pm and I just can't. FAILURE  ! Either way I get to put on yoga pants , order pizza and binge watch Netflix  so it's all good .

PJ Stein Profile
PJ Stein answered

A defect is something wrong in the design, material, or manufacturing of a product. The defect can be there and the product can still be used, but may have issues. A failure is when the product breaks down.

For example when I first got my car I had an issue with my parking brake, Sometimes I would pull up on the handle and it didn't quite catch and pull the cable tight. Since I was aware it didn't do so I would just reset the brake and it was fine. That is a defect. Had I not noticed and say I parked on a hill. Then the car rolled down the hill. That would be a failure, The brakes would have failed allowing the car to roll.

Tom  Jackson Profile
Tom Jackson answered


As Gator Blu said, " A defect is something wrong in the design, material, or manufacturing of a product."

A failure is "the omission of expected or required action."

A particular defect may or may not ever cause a product failure.

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