last updated : 04/08/16
Routine treadmill maintenance will keep your machine in the best order and extend the lifetime of the equipment. You will save money on replacement parts as you will need fewer parts and you won’t have to call out technicians unless really serious problems develop. Check out our tips to keep your treadmill in good condition:
Ideally you need to clean the machine after use. In the real world this is unlikely to happen so try to clean the treadmill at least weekly. We are talking about wiping down the frame and giving the running belt a light wiping over with a damp cloth. Your looking to get rid of sweat and fine layers of dust which overtime might clog up your machine. Try to avoid cleaning solutions with chemicals as these may damage the belt, play it safe and stick to water.
If you have a vacuum, use it weekly. Vacuum around the treadmill and if you can fold the machine up, vacuum under the treadmill. This will cut down on the amount of dust and carpet fiber that could get into and clog rollers and motors.
On an annual basis unplug the machine, remove the motor cover and vacuum out any dust and fibers that have been sucked up by the machine. This will keep the motor moving freely and prevent the motor shorting out or wearing quickly.
Preventative Treadmill Maintenance
Seems obvious, but many owners just don’t pay enough attention. When you are cleaning your machine check all the fittings. Many fasteners can become loose if you fold the treadmill on a regular basis or just from user vibration. Take a few minutes and give the fasteners the once over each week. Keeping everything tight will reduce the stresses on the machine that instability from loose fasteners could cause.
Ideally you should check the alignment of the running belt on a weekly basis as you carry out your cleaning and vacuuming. The running belt should run down the centre of the deck. Sometimes if your running form is not perfect you may change the alignment of the belt with your running action. Adjusting the belt is usually simple and only requires tools supplied with the model. Often the adjustment is made at the back of the treadmill by making subtle increased or decrease to the adjuster bolts. If in doubt check your user manual.
Check the tension of the belt at 3 monthly intervals or sooner if you use the treadmill everyday. Don’t have an over tensioned belt as this will lead to premature wear of the belt and the underlying running deck. Most machines have different methods for altering the tension of the belt so check your user guide.
When to replace a treadmill belt? Wait until the belt is showing visible signs of damage. Your looking for frayed edges, turned up edges, anomalies or cracking in the center of the belt. If there are no signs of wear the belt is probably good. Check out this video for some tips on belt tightening and centering :
In a lot of cases your deck is going to need lubrication at 3 to 6 monthly intervals dependant on activity. Be careful, not all treadmill decks need lubrication, some have specially impregnated belts. Also be aware that there are several types of lubricant some of which may not be compatible with your machine. Check your user guide before lubricating!
How to do treadmill lubrication? The simple way is to buy a maintenance kit. These kits tend to cost $10-30. The kit will have a lubricating oil and a brush that is flat and about a foot long. You oil the brush and then slide the brush between the deck and belt and apply the oil to the deck. Aim to get the oil dragged across the centre of the deck, you want to use about 1/2 ounce of lubricant. Then set the treadmill running for a few minutes to spread the oil and remove excess.
Get A Mat
Most people assume a treadmill mat is to prevent the floor from getting damaged or to reduce noise. A floor mat can also keep your expensive machine healthy. A mat will prevent carpet fiber and dust rising into the motor unit as well as providing vibration dampening qualities that will help stop screws and fittings vibrating loose. A small investment of $40 can get you a good mat that will effectively last forever but will also protect your machine. A no brainer buy!
Your Maintenance Routine
Clean frame and belt, wiping with damp cloth.
Vacuum around and under the treadmill.
Check all fasteners are tight.
Check belt is centred.
Check belt tension
Lubricate if necessary
Check condition of belt
Remove power, uncover motor and vacuum out.
Treadmill care and maintenance is pretty straightforward when you give it some thought and undoubtedly can save money in the long term by extending the useful life of your machine. Maintenance costs are low, you just need a kit (which will usually last a year), a mat and some time so don’t cut corners and you will be rewarded with a squeak free, smooth running treadmill that will be problem free for years.