Buying a treadmill for your home is a big investment, which requires a certain amount of maintenance. Just like every other big piece of machinery, the treadmill consists of hundreds of small parts and requires some maintenance to be running in top condition for years to come.
Today, we are talking about treadmill maintenance – specifically, what do you need to maintain your treadmill and how often you should do it.
But before we do that, let’s first go through the anatomy of a treadmill, and the main elements found in every machine:
Now, let’s begin.
How Do You Maintain a Treadmill?
Maintaining a treadmill can be a tedious thing. However, it is the one thing that is required from you to keep it in great shape and getting the most out of it in the long run.
For easy home treadmill maintenance, you’ll need the following things:
The following tasks are key to its long-lasting life.
First in the list of maintenance tasks for your treadmill is lubrication. To lubricate it nicely, you first need to power off your treadmill and unplug the cord from the power outlet.
Once you do that, you should start lubricating towards the front end of the treadmill (where the motor is), and be thorough by going underneath the belt and creating separation between the deck and the belt.
If you are not familiar with this step, you should know that lubricating your treadmill is not a task that is complicated. Also, most of the manufacturers have clear instructions on how to do it, located in the instruction manual that came with your treadmill. The process generally involves applying the silicone or paraffin-based lubricant to the inside of the belt, especially in the “touch point” area which is where your feet contact the treadmill.
2. Vacuuming From the Inside
Be sure to turn off and unplug your treadmill before starting this process. Remove the motor cover then, and start vacuuming inside the motor compartment. When doing that, be very careful and try not to touch any electrical components and potentially damage them with the vacuum nozzle.
According to most manufacturers, this is a process that should be done once per year.
3. Wiping it Down
Wiping your treadmill should be done after every use. The truth is, working up a sweat means transferring the moisture to the machine, which promotes rusting.
To extend its lifetime but also make sure it’s running in top condition, get a wet cloth or a home treadmill cleaning kit to wipe down all the metal parts and keep the harbor bacterial and fungal growth away from it.
4. Making Sure the Belt is Aligned and Centered
Centering the belt ensures that your treadmill is working efficiently. If you notice any slow movements or your treadmill slowing down without you doing any adjustments on the speed, a misaligned belt is probably the root of the problem.
A belt like this can also become frayed and damaged very quickly, and may break down faster than it otherwise should.
5. Installing a Treadmill Mat Underneath it
A treadmill mat can help you protect the machine, but also your surroundings. A mat can balance things out and keep your flooring from becoming damaged or scratched.
As a side benefit, a treadmill mat will also soundproof your walking or running on the treadmill, making sure that your neighbors are comfortable with your jogging. Having a mat in place is a very smart way to protect your investment but also keep the pet hair and excess dust from accumulating inside your machine. Plus, it’s always easy to vacuum and/or wipe the surface underneath it.
6. Loosening the Belt (once per year)
Loosening the belt is not something everyone is familiar with. If you are not, then it’s maybe better to get a licensed service technician that can do it instead of you.
However, if you know what this is and can do it once per year (as recommended), turn the bolt counter-clockwise. When the walking belt is correctly tightened, you should be able to lift each side of it by 2” to 3” off the walking platform. Then, plug in the power cord and run the treadmill (without you on it) for a few minutes.
7. Inspecting and Tightening Nuts, Bolts, and Hardware
This is something that you should do every 3-6 months, depending on your use of the treadmill. If you are using it very often, you should definitely consider doing it before each new season (once in every three months).
We are talking about inspection of your treadmill’s nuts, bolts, and hardware. After all, treadmills are machines that are meant to take a serious pounding, which means that over time, they can start coming apart.
Signs of this include unscrewed bolts, partially loose nuts or other hardware not connected tightly to the base. Your job is to inspect if all fastening hardware is tight. If it isn’t, use the tools (mentioned above or supplied with your machine) to gently tighten each nut or bolt.
8. Storing Your Treadmill
Last but not the least is storage. Believe it or not, there are certain tips even when it comes to storing your treadmill.
For instance, you should never store it in a wet or damp location such as your underground basement. Be aware of the temperature windows – if the room temperature is less or greater than the suggested range (as seen in your instruction manual), do everything to adjust the temperature according to it.
Usually, your treadmill should be stored in rooms that are up to 105°F (40°C) or so, while the lower end is usually something above freezing temperatures.
How Do You Fix a Treadmill?
If you are having treadmill problems and want to do your best DIY tasks before getting a technician, you should first be able to locate the problem and the best approach in solving it – fixing the issue.
Most of the treadmill problems occur in the belt area, since it is the place where most of the wear and tear occurs. However, there are other issues coming from different parts of the machine.
The most common issues in a damaged treadmill come from the following:
When To Call a Professional Technician?
As written in most instruction manuals, common treadmill issues (along with troubleshooting solutions) can be done by every treadmill owner. However, if you suspect there is a problem with the motor and think that it needs to be uncovered, calling a technician is the best way to proceed.
After all, treadmills are complex pieces of equipment and as with any other specialty piece, a professional repair technician will be able to assess the problem and fix it. Treadmill repairs, diagnostics and replacement parts are expensive, so make sure you understand what the problem is and how to resolve it before it transforms to a bigger one.