Treadmill- n.- 1. a device with an endless belt on which a person walks or runs in place. 2. my baby, my therapy, my escape.
Having a treadmill in the home makes it very convenient to run at any time. Treadmills, like any other piece of equipment need to have preventative maintenance performed on a regular basis.
A general rule of thumb is to perform this maintenance around every 3 months or 150 miles, or as stated in the owner’s manual. Please do take the time to read your owner’s manual. No two treadmills are alike. The owner’s manual is a great source of information on how to properly use and maintain your treadmill, thus extending the life. I do recommend that if you are going to make the investment of buying a treadmill, do buy the extended warranty. Motors, decks, belts, and electronic components can get expensive quick without a warranty. You may be better off purchasing a new treadmill when all those begin wearing down. The cost will be about the same. I speak from experience.
Not just during preventative maintenance, but in general, keep your treadmill clean. Dust, dirt, and grime, not just use, are main culprits of wear and tear. Keep it dusted, floors and areas around (and under) it clean.
Have it plugged into a surge protector. Treadmills are full of electronic components sensitive to power surges. Some recommend that the treadmill is plugged into a dedicated circuit. This is mainly for commercial level treadmills, but also some sophisticated home models.
Here is a preventative maintenance checklist including some helpful tips: Note- perform maintenance with the treadmill unplugged.
- Clean floors around, beside, and under the treadmill prior to performing maintenance. Why? Some debris and dust will be scattered onto the treadmill while you are cleaning floors (especially if vacuuming).
- Wipe the body, display, and arms down. Pay attention to any recommendations by the manufacturer about what you can and cannot use to clean it with. I typically use a damp cloth or cleansing wipe.
- Check under the hood. With the treadmill off and/or unplugged, take off the motor panel. Remove dust, and pet hair. Be careful of all the components and wires. Use a gentle touch. I use a vacuum attachment to get in tight areas. You can also use compressed air (like one used to spray a computer keyboard) to dust the components.
- Check motor belts for fraying. Check for loose or rubbed wires.
- Lubricate the belt. You need it well lubricated between the belt and the deck. A worn belt will wear down the deck. Replace the belt based upon manufacturer guidelines, never wait too long. A worn belt will damage the deck. You will prolong the life of the deck if you maintain the belt properly. I use a kit that you put under the belt. It reaches from one side of the belt to the other. You slip it under the belt and turn the treadmill on, evenly lubricates. NOTE: Some treadmills DO NOT require lubrication, read your owner’s manual to see if yours requires lubrication or not.
- Clean the belt. Most lubrication kits come with a cleaning kit, or they are sold separately. Check manufacturer recommendations in your owner’s manual.
- As mentioned before, replace the belt in a timely manner. The deck also will need to be replaced from time to time. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations. I use my treadmill a lot. I was able to replace my belt with a commercial belt to prolong the life of the belt. Not all treadmills are capable of this, but it is something to consider if you plan on logging major miles.
Warning signs maintenance needed:
- Little pieces of what looks like cotton around the treadmill. The belt is breaking down and needs to be replaced.
- Loud humming or clicking from the motor (and no signs of rubbing belts). Motor may be going. My particular model’s motor will begin to change color as a warning sign when the motor is going, however the loud humming gave it away first.
- The belt is “off center” and/or begins to rub. It is out of alignment and or may need tension adjusted.
- Burning smell. Your treadmill is working hard. Check the belt and/or deck.
- Loud squeak or whine. The drive belt (like on a car) may be going, it will get louder with increased speed.
- Won’t turn, or intermittent. Can be a lot of reasons, but the brushes in the motor may be going. Typically the motor will wear out before the brushes.
- Again, read your owner’s manual. It will also give you signs to watch out for when maintenance is needed.
The manufacturer of my treadmill has videos and even a customer service line that will help walk you through step by step, repairs, replacements, and maintenance. Free of charge. Check with the manufacturer of your treadmill to see if any maintenance assistance or step by step tips are provided.
Anyone who knows me knows my treadmill is my baby, and I am accident prone. I don’t trust myself with major replacements so I have a very reliable treadmill technician who takes care of my major repairs and replacements. He also takes the time to give me tips and advice on how to better maintain my treadmill. He was the one who suggested getting a commercial belt due to the high mileage I put on mine. Treadmill repair specialists are a great resource and they love sharing knowledge. Get to know one.
I hope you find these tips helpful. I learned a lot by trial by error with my treadmills. I wish I had some advice on maintenance a long time ago. I successfully killed off my first treadmill due to improper maintenance. My other is still going strong and has well over 2000 miles on it.
Always feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun
Special mention- Chris of “The Treadmill Guy” in Henderson, NV. He is my go to for all treadmill repairs. He was my sounding board while I wrote this blog post. He has been patient and taught me how to take proper care of my treadmill. Thank you!