Treadmills are expensive investments that we, naturally, want to last for a long time. This goal requires proper treadmill maintenance and some elbow grease on our end, though.
Let’s make this task a cinch with these easy-to-follow steps and tips.
Importance of Treadmill Maintenance
I know. Cleaning and taking care of gym machines are not exactly exciting.
But these are key to prolonging the life of complex and expensive gym equipment.
Wiping, vacuuming and lubricating tasks are not that difficult if you think about it.
And, honestly, I would do these any day than pay for costly repair or, worse, replacement.
More importantly, constant treadmill use will eventually take a toll on your machine.
Routine maintenance should ensure that your next workout won’t lead to accidents or injury.
The bulk of your treadmill maintenance checklist would include simple tasks like wiping and vacuuming. Here’s how to do it.
Wipe down the machine after every use.
Sweat left on the treadmill belt, console, or handlebar is not only icky. But it also contributes to fungal and bacterial growth.
Quick rusting of the frame and belt is also a likely problem from moisture build-up.
So, after your treadmill workout, grab a damp cloth or sanitising wipe and clean up all traces of sweat.
Don’t use any soap or detergent, though. But you can purchase a home treadmill cleaning kit if you like.
Vacuum the exterior and treadmill floor once a week.
Dust, shoe dirt and debris can settle on the machine surface and the surrounding area.
And build-up will only affect treadmill performance plus hasten wear and tear.
To avoid the need for repairs, make sure to vacuum the outside weekly, including the floor underneath your equipment.
As for the interior and treadmill motor, you can clean these areas monthly or once every few months.
Before you do this, make sure to check your manual and find out how to remove the motor cover.
Some models also require a dry cloth for cleaning instead of a vacuum cleaner.
Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines so as not to void the warranty.
Also, regardless of the cleaning method, unplug the machine first.
And do not use any liquid or chemical for cleaning the motor compartment.
Treadmills need underside belt lubrication to keep them running smooth and frictionless.
The frequency of this treadmill maintenance task depends on your manual, machine use and type of lubricant.
But in general, you need to lubricate the machine every 3 to 6 months, or every 240km (150 miles).
Some treadmill models have a self-lubricating drive belt, though.
So, if that’s your case, you can skip this belt lubrication procedure. Otherwise, here are the general steps.
- Loosen. Use a wrench or Allen key to loosen the bolts and lift the belt at the sides. Then grasp one side of the belt and pull it up.
- Lubricate. Insert the nozzle of your treadmill lubricant spray under the belt to lubricate. Do this on both sides of your treadmill belt, making sure not to spray the walking surface. Most models require 100% silicone spray lubricants for this, but best to check your manual first.
- Retighten. Use the Allen key again to tighten up the loosened belt. Next, turn the machine on slow speed to evenly distribute the lubricant.
Treadmill Belt Tension Adjustment
Even the best treadmills will, over time, need belt realignment.
That’s because constant walking or running on the tread belt will stretch it out, making it slide off the centre.
There’s no set schedule for this treadmill maintenance task.
But when you notice that you slip around the belt too much or feel awkward while walking on it, then it’s time to check.
Unfamiliar noise while exercising on the treadmill is also a sign of a loose running belt.
To fix this, check the two bolts at the rear of your machine.
Use the Allen key to tighten either adjustment bolt and realign. Read your user manual, too, for further instructions.
Doing this step will ensure not only safety but also belt longevity.
Treadmill Belt Replacement
Another issue you’ll likely encounter is an erratic treadmill speed. You’ll feel this when you notice speed changes on the machine even without adjusting its settings.
Switch to slow speed, then check the belt for hitching when this happens. Any treadmill belt will wear out over time, no matter how much you maintain it.
And hitching is a clear sign that you need to replace the treadmill walking belt with a new one.
When you do, make sure to purchase one that matches your treadmill model.
Now, if you still experience speed issues despite the belt being in tip-top shape, the motor may be the culprit.
In this case, it’s best to contact a professional technician to assess the problem.
Treadmill Troubleshooting and Protection
Treadmill maintenance is beyond cleaning. You can go the extra mile and apply the following tips, too.
- Position the treadmill on a levelled floor. A flat surface should keep your machine running smoothly and its belt aligned along the deck. Treadmills with levelling feet are best if you plan to work out on a slightly uneven attic or garage floor.
- Use a power surge protector. This step should protect your machine from sudden power surges or irregularities. Of course, without one, the best alternative is to unplug your treadmill after use to protect its electronic components.
- Place a treadmill mat underneath. This accessory helps reduce noise and vibrations, protect your flooring and keep dust at bay. And besides, any treadmill looks better with a matching mat!
Spotting equipment issues too late will only lead to costly treadmill repairs or injuries.
So, make it a habit to look after your machine and check its parts.
Create a personal treadmill maintenance checklist using the points highlighted in this post, too.
That way, you get to protect your investment and fitness goals!