By Simon Gould
You pay a lot of money for a treadmill and they take a while to assemble. The cost means it’s a good thing to maintain it. Treadmills require regular maintenance, you need to take care of it after every use and there are things you need to do weekly and monthly. Fortunately I have listed everything you need to do as part of a regular home treadmill maintenance to make sure it lasts.
If you own a treadmill it’s quite unfortunate that you can’t just buy it and use it and leave it as it is. It’s an investment you can’t ignore, you can’t just have a technician look after it every year, like a car, it needs regular maintenance. Most of this you can do yourself with some basic tools. If you use a treadmill a lot, you need to be more strict about a maintenance schedule.
Before doing any of this, I recommend you look at the treadmill manual. They should provide you some maintenance recommendations and steps to take. There could be specific maintenance tips for your model or brand. There could be a special lubricant only you treadmill needs, or it may not need it at all. You would maintain a manual, motorized and curved treadmill slightly differently, so check the manual.
After each use/weekly
When you’ve used the treadmill you probably sweat a lot and you’ve certainly made dust circulate around the room. Therefore you need to wipe the machine down with a dry cloth to clean the dust and perspiration. Do this weekly even if you don’t use the machine that often just to prevent any dust getting into the electronics where the console is. Don’t spray any cleaning chemicals on the treadmill just use a cloth.
Check all the screws are tight and that the safety key works. When you vacuum around the home make sure you do it around the treadmill and especially under it. You may need help in moving the machine but it’s worth it. We really need to make sure dust doesn’t accumulate in the workings because that’s what makes the machine break down. A small bit of effort on a regular basis makes all the difference.
Unplug the treadmill. Remove the motor cover and vacuum around the motor itself. Try not to touch any of the wires or other components with the vacuum, this will really extend the life of the motor, which is the most important part of the treadmill. This is all while taking care of the machine by doing the weekly and bi-weekly tasks.
Tighten any nuts and bolts using the appropriate tools that come with the installation. Take care not to tighten the nuts at the back of the treadmill which control the tension of the belt. There should be some give in this. Otherwise check the frame is secure with the console. Make sure the belt is centered and aligned. If it isn’t sometimes the treadmill can move as you exercise on it.
Unplug the treadmill. This is quite a busy time for treadmill maintenance but as I said before, it’s all worth it. You should clean the belt and lubricate between the deck and belt. Remember not to use household lubrication like WD-40. Treadmill belts require silicone based lube that you should buy from the manufacturer or lube made especially for the job. It’s not expensive and available everywhere.
As well as doing all the tasks we’ve mentioned before, check the belt for wear and tear. Signs of this are the edges being frayed or curled up. It should be rigid with no rips especially on the seam. All these tasks may not need to be carried out so often if the treadmill is not used, but if it is you will get years from your machine from these maintenance tasks.
This isn’t something that’s recommended as such but I would consider getting an expert technician in treadmills to service your machine. An expert giving it an inspection could make all the difference to the longevity of your machine. They may spot something you haven’t noticed and may give you advice on some other maintenance tasks you may need to do.
If you can afford it, and if you use your treadmill a lot, then an annual look at by an expert is something I would recommend.
Other ways to extend the life of a treadmill
Get a proper fitness equipment mat to put the treadmill on. This will prevent a lot of dust getting in the inner workings. It prevents noise and vibration and it protects the floor. Don’t ignore any problems you may notice. Such as a burning smell or any noises coming from the treadmill when in use that you don’t normally hear. If you notice any of this, unplug it immediately and call out an expert.
Don’t continue using your treadmill if you think there’s a problem with it. You may make any damage worse. Remember a treadmill is an electrical appliance so don’t let it get wet. Try to avoid spillages as these can get into the motor control board or circuit boards in the console. These don’t take too kindly to moisture. Soak up any spillages immediately and safely.
Before you do call someone out, check to see if it’s still in its warranty period. Also I would recommend contacting the manufacturer and discussing the problem. They may be able to offer some advice that may make an expensive technician unnecessary. If you get an error message, you could always try a factory reset to see if that helps. Regular maintenance can sometimes prevent all of this occurring.
The schedule above represents some time and cost investment but you should pay a lot for your treadmill in the first place. If you’ve bought a good one, which you definitely should do if you’re seriously about your health, then regular maintenance is something that needs to be done. Of course if you join a gym with treadmills then you have nothing to worry about but that costs money as well!
If you follow the maintenance schedule above, your treadmill can last 10 years and more. As long as you haven’t gone for the cheapest model you could find. You get what you pay for and that goes with treadmills too. Always get one with a warranty of at least a year. Two years is best. Keep everything that came with the treadmill when it was installed, follow my tips above, and you’ll have a treadmill that lasts.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*