By Simon Gould
Electric motors use brushes because there needs to be electrical contact between moving parts. The motor needs to turn using the power fed to it to move the belt beneath you in a treadmill. The brushes are very individual to the treadmill and look very different. They are best purchased from the manufacturer or specialized treadmill parts stores.
How often the treadmill motor brushes need to be replaced
The recommendation is every 2 years or 1,000 hours of use. If the brushes wear out, it will cause sparks to occur in the motor. This could cause any wiring to burn or the circuit board to be affected. The first you may realize there’s a problem is with a burning smell coming from the motor compartment. The belt may also slow when you step on it.
Even checking the motor brushes will be beyond the technical expertise of most treadmill owners. They’re usually located within the motor and can’t be easily seen. I usually recommend an annual service or inspection of a treadmill by a professional and worn brushes are something that would be spotted during this. If you’ve paid a lot for your treadmill, then this is worth having.
Is it definitely the brushes causing the issue?
The problem where brushes may be needed is when the treadmill slows down when you step on the deck. There could be a few reasons for this to happen and I’ll go through these. Treadmill repair engineers are the best people to know when the motor brushes need to be replaced. They have the most experience in answering faults in used treadmills.
Treadmill Doctor, who are one of the leading treadmill repair people in the US, have made a page where they discuss what the problem could be when the treadmill loses power when you step on the deck. They have listed 4 possible reasons for the problem and, helpfully, how often each is likely to be the cause.
Treadmill Doctor find that the reason for the problem, 85% of the time, is that the deck and/or the belt are worn. This is in their repair staff’s experience. They say that the second cause (8% of the time) could be the walking belt and/or motor are too tight. This makes a lot of sense because if the belt or motor is tight and you put a heavy weight on it (your body) then it’s going to slow down.
They say only 5% of the time have they have diagnosed the problem and found that it’s the brushes that need changing. That’s very small. The last cause (2%) is the controller dropping output. If you’re confident it’s the brushes and plan to change them yourself then my advice would be for you to approach your manufacturer and buy them there.
If the manufacturer don’t sell them or you want to call someone out to diagnose and fix the problem then Treadmill Doctor can do both for you. They’ve been online since 1999 and have many good reviews on the internet. They’ve always answered any email question I’ve had with great detail and speed. They can help service or repair all kinds of exercise equipment and have good advice on their site.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*