Sophisticated molecular machines have evolved in nature, and the first synthetic molecular machines have been demonstrated. With our increasing understanding of individual operating cycles, the question of how operation can be sustained over many cycles comes to the forefront. In the design of macroscale machines, performance and lifetime are opposing goals. Similarly, the natural evolution of biological nanomachines, such as myosin motor proteins, is likely constrained by lifetime requirements. Rather than bond rupture at high forces, bond fatigue under repeated small stresses may limit the mechanical performance of molecular machines. Here, the effect of cyclic stresses using single and double bonds as simple examples are discussed. Additionally, it is demonstrated that an increase in lifetime requires a reduction in mechanical load and that molecular engineering design features, such as polyvalent bonds capable of rebinding, can extend the bond lifetime dramatically. A universal scaling law for the force output of motors is extrapolated to the molecular scale to estimate the design space for molecular machines.