Treadmill Tips

Treadmill Tips

Treadmill Tips

Your treadmill could very well be the most expensive fitness equipment investment you’ve made. Now you can benefit a very long time with that treadmill, especially if you care for it properly. And it really isn’t a very difficult task to do so.
Start by creating a regular maintenance schedule. Upkeep for any treadmill is basically two things: Periodic dusting and belt lubrication. Following are some tips to help you maintain your treadmill and prolong the life of your investment.

Treadmill Tips
Treadmill Tips

Keep it Clean and Dust Free

The number one cause of premature belt failure is dirt. That has been the case since the the first treadmill was sold in the fitness market! The number one way to avoid dust from ruining your treadmill is to adopt a cleaning routine of sorts.

Dusting between the belt once a week will ensure longevity of the machine.  The deck should remain dry and debris-free at all times. In addition, make sure the area where you place your treadmill is relatively dust-free to minimize dust from collecting between the belt and/or deck.

Apply the following cleaning procedure once a week or as needed:

  • Wipe down the display with a mild solution of non-Phosphate cleaner on a soft, damp cloth. Cloth should be damp, but not wet.
  • Wipe down handrails and traction strips with soft cotton cloth and mild soap and water. Again, cloth should be damp, not wet.
  • Vacuum the belt area between traction and frame.

For once a month cleaning:

  • Unplug treadmill. Let sit for 10 minutes. Take off motor cover and vacuum inside the motor area, being very careful not to touch the static- sensitive electronics.
  • Slide a clean towel under the tread belt and wipe the deck and under the belt. Rotate belt 180 degrees and repeat.
  • Apply lubrication under tread belt.
  • Check drive belt tension and adjust if necessary.
  • Check tread belt tension and tracking and adjust as necessary.

Adjust the Tread Belt ProperlyOn treadmill

The best treadmills are those that provide you with easy access to belt tracking.  But even the best treadmills with the most easily accessible belt tracking are susceptible to stretch slightly under initial use. That is why it is important that you adjust the tread belt every so often to keep down stretching.

Most manufacturers include an Allen wrench when you purchase your treadmill.  Use that to tighten both belt adjustment screws clockwise. If your manufacturer did not supply you with a wrench, use another of the right size.

A 1/4 turn clockwise should tighten the treadmill belt if it has loosened. The screws for belt adjustment are usually located at the rear of the treadmill.  Some belts do require looser running than others so don’t be surprised if your tread belt is a little loose even when you haven’t used it yet. Check your user guide just to be sure before making adjustments.

Moreover, be sure to keep the belt running at low speed of around 3 MPH while adjusting the belt tracking.  This is the ideal speed when making any adjustments with the screws.

Ensure Proper Alignment of the Belt

The tracking adjustments may also be used to properly align the belt of your treadmill. So, when adjusting your belt tracking, be sure not to turn either side more than 1/4 turn at a time. Belt tracking adjustments are almost always minor, so you do not want to overdo them.

Roller knocking occurs with improper belt tracking. This should be avoided at all times. If you hear a knocking noise when running your treadmill, that most often means you have a defective roller. However, there are instances where the noise results from the belt placing too much  force on the roller from side to side.  You will recognize the difference between the cases in that the knocking noise in the latter will be at a much slower rhythm than roller rotation.

One way to reduce the load on the belt is proper tracking . Not only that, it will also help guide the belt to ensure that the front and rear rollers are parallel. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions on belt tracking to keep from becoming misaligned or over-stretching the belt. Word of caution: Be careful not to over-tighten the belt when adjusting alignment.

Treadmill Tips #1: Use Your Treadmill on a Level Floor

Is your treadmill making squeaking sounds? Before you decide to phone someone for help, check to see if your treadmill is placed on a non-level floor. Often the number one reason a treadmill “squeaks” is due to belt mis-tracking from being placed on a floor that isn’t level.

Most treadmills have level adjustments in rear supports. If your treadmill cannot be leveled with the floor, then level the treadmill with the floor instead!

Treadmill Tips #2: Power, Cord, Belt and Deck

It’s standard procedure with all electrical equipment to keep the power cord free and away from areas it could be stepped on. The same rules apply to treadmills. Also, always make sure the power cord is away from the incline mechanism on your treadmill.

For maintenance of the belt, you need to lubricate it every so often. When you do, try to avoid using silicone or oils, unless your manufacturer specifically recommends it. A clean, dry and dust free belt and bed is the ideal recipe for a long lasting treadmill.

Treadmill Tips #3: Ensure Low Friction Between Belt and Deck

You want low friction contact between the belt and deck. Damage to the motor is more likely if the friction between the two is high.  In addition, high friction belts will not coast when the power is off.  High friction belts can cause the motor to stall, which is a sure fire way to damage the motor. Also note, over-lubrication can lead to excessive amp draw with subsequent damage to the electronics, so be careful.

Treadmill Tips #4: Blown Fuses

If you discover a blown fuse on your treadmill, it is highly recommended you do not try to change it on your own. In this situation it is best to call a dealer for proper replacement.

Console Crash?

With all the new programming available on treadmills, console crashing is becoming more and more common.  If a display blanks out, locks up, or doesn’t show at all, the first thing to try is to unplug the treadmill from the outlet, wait a minute or two, then plug back in.  This process will reset the computer in the treadmill components, much like re-booting a regular computer does.

If crashes occur frequently, you may need to have it replaced. This would more likely be a sign of a failure of some sort. Contact a dealer or your manufacturer.

In Summary

You know that old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure“. Well, that applies to treadmill, too! Care really is quite simple, overall.  It is a good idea to read your instruction booklet and get familiar with your treadmill – this will make care of it even easier.  You can get many, many years out of a treadmill with proper care and maintenance!

See also: Treadmills for Exercise, Working Out on Treadmills

Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing

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