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How To Maintain A Treadmill So It Goes The Distance (pun intended!)

Published by Kirsten Carter
Last Updated on March 20, 2021

Our Best Guide To Maintaining Your Treadmill

Treadmills can be expensive pieces of equipment but are worth the investment if you are looking for a home exercise machine to keep you fit and healthy.

To help your treadmill last for a long time, it's important you do the correct maintenance on it, this will ensure your machine runs smoothly and makes your investment worthwhile.

Some of the top maintenance tasks you need to be doing regularly on your treadmill consist of lubricating the deck, vacuuming and wiping down the deck after use. If you don't perform these important tasks you could risk damaging the belt of your machine and more.

So as we can break it down for you, we have put together our best treadmill maintenance guide below, which will explain all the essential maintenance you need to be doing on your treadmill, as well as additional tips and how to perform some of these tasks.

Let's get maintaining!

Why You Should Maintain Your Treadmill

Before we get on to all the important checks you should be doing on your treadmill, let's cover why maintenance on your treadmill is essential.

When we do regular maintenance on a treadmill, we reduce the chances of the machine breaking down unexpectedly, it also makes the treadmill safer and stops you from having any accidental injuries.

Making sure your running deck is lubricated will also give you more accurate readings from your treadmill, such as speed and distance.

How Often Should I Perform Maintenance On My Treadmill

So as your treadmill can stay in tip-top condition, you should not only look after it, but you should make sure you are doing checks regularly, this should be at least once a month if you exercise it on it daily.

For jobs such as lubricating the deck, this may need to be done less, but you will have to check with your specific brands manual to be sure, you may also need to replace the belt on your treadmill if it gets damaged at some point.

Wiping down the machine should be done daily however to stop dust building up and remove any excess sweat on the machine. More intensive jobs like cleaning the motor should be done around three times a year to ensure its working correctly.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of a Treadmill?

The average lifespan of a treadmill is around 12 years, but there is no reason why your machine can't last longer with the correct care, you will also find cheaper models will last a shorter amount of time, so getting a high-quality model, to begin with, could be worth the money in the long run.

Our Essential Maintenance Steps For Your Treadmill

To keep your treadmill running smoothly you should be performing essential checks and cleaning at certain periods, we have put together a list of these most essential checks below and how to do them.

Cleaning After Use

Every time you use your treadmill you should be cleaning it, leaving sweat on your treadmill can lead to the corrosion of metal parts which could eventually cause rust and the break down of your machine. You can easily clean the treadmill with a damp cloth, no soap needed.

Concentrate on the areas where dust and sweat are likely to be, this could be around the arm rails and the display of the treadmill.

Vacuuming

It is important to vacuum all the dust and debris from your treadmill, especially round the belt, failure to do so could cause even bigger problems in the future like a damaged deck.

Make sure to always wear clean shoes on the treadmill too so as you cannot contribute to the dust build-up.

To vacuum your treadmill correctly, use an attachment for the small areas around the machine, raise the incline of your treadmill and fold it up so as you can get to the underside also.

One place you also need to consider vacuuming is the motor as this can become clogged with all sorts of debris such as pet hair, human hair and dust, leading to the failure of your motor. We recommend taking the hood off your motor when doing this too so as you can get right into the inner parts.

To remove the hood of your motor and vacuum inside you simply need to ensure your treadmill is turned off, remove the screws for the hood and use a small attachment to get to the dust inside. Take a dry cloth for any parts you cannot reach too and use a blower for small electronic areas, never use anything wet inside the motor as there will be electricals.

You should aim to do this around once a month or every three months minimum, and follow your manufacturer's instructions to ensure you are doing the cleaning correctly.

Lubricate The Belt

Your treadmills belt is going through constant friction with the motor of your treadmill and your feet, so keeping it lubricated is very important to ensure it is running smoothly, you can buy some treadmill models which are self-lubricating too, but the cheaper models are likely not self-lubricated and will need this kind of routine care.

The type of lubricant you use to lubricate your belt should be 100% silicone, you can always check which lubricant is correct for your certain treadmill by reading its manual. Never use WD-40 on your treadmills running belt as this could cause serious damage long term.

We have listed out some steps to lubricating your treadmills belt below.

  • Step One - Power off your treadmill.
  • Step Two - Put your hand between the deck of the treadmill and the belt at the end nearest the motor, then place the lube in this gap you've created towards the centre of the belt.
  • Step Three - Slowly apply the lubricant from the centre to the edge and repeat on the other side of the belt.
  • Step Four - Power your machine on for 5 minutes and let the lube do its work!

How Often Should You Lubricate Your Treadmill Belt?

Now you know how to lubricate your treadmill belt and what kind of lubricant to use you may be wondering how often you should be doing this. Well, this depends on the brand and individual use of your treadmill, which differs for everyone.

Someone who uses there treadmill daily will need to lubricate the belt more often than someone who uses it once a week. On average, you should lubricate it every 150 miles, which could be every 3,6 or 12 months for some people. Heavier people may also need to keep the belt more lubricated.

Centre & Align The Belt

Over time, the usage of your treadmill will likely lead to the belt becoming out of position and will need aligning. It's important to make sure your treadmill belt is kept centred, if not you could risk wearing down the belt in a diagonal pattern rather than symmetrically.

You can align and centre the belt of your treadmill with the two bolts located on the machines, turning the right will cause your belt to move right and vice versa for the other bolt. Always check the manual of your treadmill for specific instructions on how to do this if you are unsure.

Centring your belt doesn't need to be done every maintenance unless you notice it has slipped out of position.

Tightening The Belt

As well as keeping your belt in the right position, you need to be tightening it too. If you feel like your belt might be slipping when you are running or that it is vibrating too much then you will need to tighten it with the two bolts you used to align the belt.

By rule, you should never be able to lift your belt more than 10cm up, if you can do this, or you feel any signs above, tighten!

Put a Treadmill Mat

Putting a mat underneath your treadmill has a large number of benefits with some of them being; easy cleaning, less noise due to fewer vibrations, a polished look and it will protect the flooring underneath where you have placed the treadmill.

Make sure you invest in a heavy-duty mat for this job which can soak up all the vibrations of the treadmill when in use.

Extra Maintenance Tips To Consider

Now we have covered the essentials to ensure your treadmill stays in the best condition, we have put together some additional tips and tricks which could be beneficial to your treadmill too.

Make Sure Your Treadmill Is Placed Level

Your treadmill must be kept and used on a flat surface, using your machine on an uneven surface could potentially cause the belt to wear down quicker and lead to it sliding towards either side of the machine.

You can always use levelling feet if the place you planned to put your treadmill is very uneven, this should still do the job to keep your belt running smoothly.

Tighten The Bolts

Due to the intense vibrations of a treadmill, nuts and bolts typically loosen over time, meaning that they will need to be tightened regularly to stop the machine from falling apart.

Replace Belt

When the time arrives, you may need to replace your treadmill belt, this could be after 5 years of use or even sooner depending on how much you use your treadmill. As soon as you see any damage on your belt you should always replace it right away.

One way to check if your belt is worn out is by seeing if the underside feels unusually rough, this would indicate you require a replacement.

Unplug When Not In Use

Many people use a surge protector on their treadmill, which is a great way to protect it from any electrical surges, however, does have its consequences such as halting the machine during use.

This happens as treadmills vary with the power they draw, drawing more than usual may cause the protector to think there's a surge and shut down the machine, which can become a potential safety hazard to the user.

Rather than use one of these surge protectors we recommend just unplugging the machine when not in use to help keep it safe from surges.

Frequently Asked Questions About Maintaining a Treadmill

How long should a treadmill last me? 

This depends on several variables such as how often you use it, however on average, your treadmill should last you up to 12 years or longer if ensure you are maintaining it well.

Why does my treadmill have an inconsistent speed?

A treadmill is likely to develop irregular speed if parts are loose or not connected properly on your machine, you should additionally ensure that your belt is lubricated properly.

What should I do if I smell burning from my treadmill?

If you smell burning coming from your treadmill then you should immediately unplug the machine and check for any unusual objects or accumulated dust.

Never keep using your treadmill if you smell burning as it could potentially become a fire hazard.

Final Words

To conclude, performing regular maintenance on your treadmill is needed to help it last longer and run smoothly. Ensure you are always looking out for when your belt needs tightening or aligning and also make sure that you are wiping it down well after use.

If you do all the steps above when needed, there is no reason why your treadmill can't last you a lifetime!

About the author
Published by Kirsten Carter
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