Tips For Routine Treadmill Care And Maintenance

last updated : 04/08/16
treadmill maintenanceRoutine 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:

Cleaning Maintenance

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

Check Fixings

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.

Belt Adjustment

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 :

Lubrication

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

After Use/Weekly

Clean frame and belt, wiping with damp cloth.

Weekly

Vacuum around and under the treadmill.

Check all fasteners are tight.

Check belt is centred.

3 monthly

Check belt tension

Lubricate if necessary

Check condition of belt

Annual

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.

Treadmill Noise Reduction Tips

Moving parts and bodies slamming down tend to be the two main reasons for treadmill noise problems. Noise coming from moving parts tends to annoy us users, we just don’t like listening to squeaks and rattles, and noise from footfall tends to aggravate other householders or neighbours. Here are a few noise reduction tips to keep the neighbours happy and to avoid irritation during your workout.

Carry Out Routine Maintenance

No one really likes doing mundane routine treadmill maintenance but it can save you a few dollars in the long run and reduce noise.

The basics you need to do are clean the belt once a week, check the alignment and tension of the belt and lubricate rollers monthly. Before you do your maintenance read your instruction manual, this will identify how to make alterations and lubricate and such instructions are often specific to your machine.

Most treadmill belts are aligned by bolts on either side of the model and at the rear of the machine, changing settings should center the belt. A loose belt will wear quickly so check belt tension and alter as required using instructions in your installation manual. For lubrication consult your manual. Not all treadmills need lubricating and some require specific types of lubricant. If yours does then the manual will highlight the appropriate lubrication points and oil types you can use.

Once you have carried out the basic maintenance have a good look around the treadmill and try to identify any loose fittings, tighten these up and you are good to go.

Use A Noise Reduction Mat

An extra layer between the floor and the machine can make a big difference to noise in an apartment or anywhere around the house. These days you can get all sorts of cheap treadmill floor mats that will reduce noise and vibration from your machine when in use.

We wouldn’t recommend using an off cut of carpet as a noise reduction mat as the carpet fibers could potentially damage the motor. Instead spend $40 on a decent vinyl mat. They generally come in two thicknesses depending how much sound and vibration you want to stop and will offer cushioning as well as sound damping qualities.

Place On A Hard Floor

If you can, place the treadmill on a hard floor. Hard floors will be much quieter than timber floors and you can get a lot of noise reduction if you choose the right spot. Timber will resonate sound around the floor and being organic will bend, flex and generate noise and vibration from the weight of a treadmill and active user. A hard floor will spread the load and impact across a larger area meaning noises are dulled out and will be free from vibration.

Centre of the Room Or Edge?

Consider where you put the treadmill in a room. If you put the machine to the side of a room you may find the walls reflect noise around the room. If you put the machine in the centre of the room and the floor has timber floor boards you will find the running action causes a lot of vibration and bounce through the floor.

Dependant on whether you are trying to keep noise down for you or a neighbour, try different locations for your machine. As a rule of thumb on a hard floor aim to locate in the middle of the room and on a timber floor go for the edge.

If All Else Fails

If you have an older treadmill with a loud noise problem you may need replacement parts to get rid of any operating noises. Most models have long warranties these days, so if strange noises occur call a technician through the warranty. It may be that a motor is on its last legs or the frame has split or loosened at a joint and needs a permanent fix alternatively parts like the belt or deck may have worn and need replacement.

If you are happy with noise levels during workout but live in an apartment and have neighbours who are identifying problems or are affected, try to communicate with them and identify when they are not in residence and fit your workout into their schedule to keep neighbours happy.