I am tasked with choosing a word that covers both the repairing of a mechanical device and mechanical manipulation; when something is not broken yet could use some tinkering.

"Wrenches are tools that provide ______ functionality."

We can repair cars with wrenches, but we can also use wrenches to manipulate things that are not broken (fire hydrants, ect).

I was briefly contemplating using the word "reparation" but that only includes repairs, and it seems to be considered archaic.

Question: So what word best captures the functionality of repairs + general mechanical manipulation?

  • 1
    "Maintenance" might work? (Not got the time to develop into a proper answer - if anyone else does, feel free to do so and then flag this comment for deletion.)
    – AndyT
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 13:18
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    Wrenches are tools that provide mechanical functionality. 'Mechanical' can cover both maintenance and repair.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 14:16
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    A wrench is a tool that provides the user with a mechanical advantage, specifically the ability to apply more torque with the same amount of force. It enables the user to turn nuts, bolts and other fixtures where friction is inherent to their functioning, or where resistance caused by corrosion has to be overcome. Repair is the higher-level action being carried out by the user. Manipulation of fixtures is a component of this action. You can’t group them at the same level. You’ll have the same problem finding a common word for tree and leaf.
    – user205876
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 15:52
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    Overhauling can mean both repair and close examination of (something).
    – Ubi.B
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 17:33
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    Perhaps adjustments? A wrench allows you to tighten or loosen fasteners (nuts, bolts, couplings, etc.).
    – jxh
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 22:16

2 Answers 2


What about "service" or "servicing"?

I might take my car in for a service just because it's been a year since it last had one, or I might take it in for one because whenever I brake the car tries turning to the left. Admittedly if I was in a car accident and it was all smashed up, that wouldn't be a "service" that would be a full re-build job, or more likely just a write-off.

So "service" probably works for both minor and major maintenance, but probably still doesn't work for a repair when something is full-on broken.

That said, dictionary.com gives a promising definition, which includes both maintenance and repair:

  1. the providing or a provider of accommodation and activities required by the public, as maintenance, repair, etc.:

    The manufacturer guarantees service and parts.


Could it be "ameliorate"?

Ameliorate = to make better. Origin: Mid 18th century: alteration of meliorate, influenced by French améliorer, from meilleur ‘better’.

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