How to Maintain a Treadmill at Home

Your treadmill is probably one of the most important pieces of fitness equipment in your home gym, and we can imagine that you would have spent hours researching the best treadmill for your requirements.

It is indeed, a big investment that can help you maintain a regular fitness routine with ease and convenience. It is only fair that you do the simple maintenance to keep it running well for years to come.

Here are the easiest and simplest ways to ensure that your treadmill lasts long. If you are in a rush, the infographic below gives you a quick overview of how to maintain your treadmill at home.

INFOGRAPHIC - How to maintain a treadmill at home

1. Lubricate Your Treadmill

Remember that user manual you got when you purchased the treadmill? Along with assembly instructions and warranties, this manual also contains information on whether the belt has to be manually lubricated or whether it is a self-lubricating machine. The treadmill belt has constant contact with your feet and requires routine care and maintenance.

If your treadmill needs manual lubrication, you’ll want to make sure that you use a 100% silicone lubricant for the belt unless stated otherwise in the user manual.

By lubricating the belt of the treadmill, you’re ensuring that you minimize friction of the belt, avoid premature degradation of the treadmill belt and/or delamination of the board. A well-lubricated belt also helps keep down your electricity consumption.

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There are generally two different methods of lubricating your treadmill belt. If you’re wondering what can you use to lubricate a treadmill, read on…

Lubricating a Treadmill at Home – Method 1

Use a treadmill lubricating stick that has a handle and a sponge pad at the end. You have to lift the belt up on one end and stick the wand underneath the belt with the padded side down so that the belt is well lubricated. You should repeat the same on the other side.

Lubricating a Treadmill at Home – Method 2

Apply silicon on to the belt directly from a spray bottle or use a sponge to spread the silicon around underneath the walking belt. This may not be as effective and reliable as the first method.

Now, if you’re still slightly confused about how to properly clean a treadmill belt, here’s a step-by-step video on how to apply lubricant on a treadmill belt:

How To Lubricate A Treadmill Belt

2. Clean Under Your Motor Cover

Dust, hair, and debris can clog your treadmill motor cover if the treadmill has an open back or an open floor. This means that without regular cleaning of your motor cover, your equipment might not last very long.

Taking out the motor cover for maintenance only involves taking out a few screws and vacuuming or dusting everything that was under the motor cover. Also, we’d like to warn you against using cleaning liquids so that you don’t cause a short circuit of your machine.

Do you have pets prone to shedding their hair? If yes, you should clean under your motor cover every few months and more. Do take necessary precautions and try to be gentle while cleaning so as to avoid any damage to the circuit boards and motor.

3. Vacuum Around the Treadmill Deck

Now, ideally, vacuum around your treadmill deck (the part that you run/walk on) as well as dusting the deck itself every four to five months or so.

Just keep in mind that you should turn off and unplug the treadmill before removing the motor cover to vacuum inside the motor compartment. Be careful not to touch the electrical components with your vacuum nozzle.

4. Tighten the Treadmill Belt

These days most treadmills come with belt tension already adjusted, but with repeated use, the belt will start to loosen, and consequently, the required tension on the deck will decrease. This results in an unsatisfactory workout session as you will feel like you are slipping around a lot while walking on the treadmill.

If you’re wondering how to manually tighten the belt of your treadmill, there are usually two bolts at the end of the treadmill deck you can tighten to adjust the tension of the belt. It is best to consult the user manual you received with your treadmill purchase for any clarifications.

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5. Use A Surge Protector

It is recommended that you plug the treadmill into a surge protector to protect it from any unexpected power surges.

There are people who vote for keeping your machine unplugged when not in use, but we wouldn’t insist on that as long as you’re using a quality surge protector, because it does not bring any significant difference to your electricity bill.

6. Wipe the Treadmill After Use

When you are working out on your treadmill you are going to sweat, and Team Fitness About is all for an intense, sweaty session of calorie burn. But, as moisture begins to build, rust will soon thrive all over your machine and it will harbor bacterial and fungal growth. Purchase a home cleaning kit, or wipe down the equipment with a wet cloth.

7. Center and Align the Walking Belt

Team Fitness About recommends that you keep the belt centered so that your treadmill continues to work efficiently. a misaligned belt If you feel slippery while walking on the treadmill, or that the treadmill is moving slowly, and prone to slow down on its own without adjusting the speed, you might be facing issues from a misaligned belt. A crooked belt can also quickly become frayed and damaged, resulting in the machine being unfit for use.

Word of Advice: Before you get started on lubricating the treadmill belt, make sure the treadmill is located on a surface that can be easily cleaned. After if you have finished the lubrication process, ensure that you wipe off any excess silicone on the treadmill belt and frame.

Team Fitness About recommends that you wipe the treadmill down after every use to keep the treadmill clean and dry.

8. Check The Treadmill’s Screws

Checking the screws of your treadmill is one of the most basic yet important maintenance steps you need to do before each use. With heavy use, all of the screws that were used to assemble your treadmill can gradually become loose over time.

If you find that some screws need to be replaced, make sure that you order them directly from the treadmill’s manufacturer. This is because using the wrong screws could damage your machine.

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Treadmill Maintenance Checklist

Team Fitness About has compiled a routine maintenance calendar for your treadmill that can give you information about how often certain maintenance procedures have to be done at a glance:

Treadmill Maintenance – Daily/Weekly

  • Check for loose screws
  • Clean console and grips with a mild cleaning liquid

Treadmill Maintenance – Monthly

  • Ensure that the belt tension and alignment is right
  • Check that the power cord is damage-free

Treadmill Maintenance – Quarterly

  • Vacuum or dust the deck
  • Check the belt for wear and tear

Treadmill Maintenance – Every Six to Twelve Months

  • Vacuum/clean around motor components
  • Replace treadmill belt
  • Lubricate parts, especially the treadmill belt
  • Clean the treadmill’s rollers

Keep in mind that the better you take care of your treadmill and other fitness equipment, the longer it will last.

Where Can I Get Treadmill Lubricant?

Well, you can get a treadmill lubricant online on Amazon, and many fitness equipment websites. You can also buy a treadmill lubricant at Walmart, Home Depot, or check with any other reputed hardware shop.

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Lubricating Your Treadmill – A Bit of Caution

1. Not All Treadmills Need To Be Lubricated

We did say that lubricating your treadmill regularly is an important step in the care and maintenance of your fitness equipment, but if you are wondering whether all treadmills need to be lubricated, the answer is no.

Many Icon Health and Fitness brands, which include NordicTrack, ProForm, and Weslo, are pre-coated with a high-performance lubricant at the factory.

There are other brands too which pre-lubricate the walking belt. In this case, you should clearly abstain from applying any silicone spray or other substances to the belt as it could deteriorate the material and cause excessive damage.

2. Avoid Over Lubricating Your Treadmill

Yes, it is possible to over lubricate your machine and over lubrication can cause a number of issues:

Firstly, imagine your carpets, walls, and surroundings being coated with blotches of silicone. That might just happen if you excessively use the lubricant on your machine. The silicone coating is extremely hard to scrub off and might cause damage to your surroundings.

Second, excess lube will also seep into your motor compartment. The lube that has seeped into the motor compartment can also leak into the drive motor or onto the motor control board. This results in the lube heating up in the dry motor and you get a decidedly pungent smell along with short-circuiting the motor requiring replacement.

In case the excessive lubricant splatters onto the motor controller, chances are that it can also short out, which means that you’ll be required to look into motor control board replacement.

Now, the final issue with excessive lubrication is that the lube can come into contact with the drive belt in between the front roller and drive motor. This causes the belt to be too slippery and chances are the rubber drive belt will become too sticky and filled with the excess lube, again, requiring that you look into belt replacement.

In a nutshell, just how not lubricating your treadmill can cause damage to both the machine and your wallet, the damage caused by overlubricating is just as extensive.

Maintaining a Treadmill at Home – Parting Words

Modern treadmills are hardy pieces of equipment that can last you a decade or more if properly maintained. Regular lubricating, cleaning and dusting can add years to your beloved treadmill’s life and give you an opportunity to workout at home if you do not want to step outdoors.

We hope that you found this article useful. If you’d like to know more about treadmills, you can read our articles on treadmills under 500 dollars and treadmills for overweight people.

About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, PGDCM is an engineer and MBA by training. A fitness aficionado, Gaurav follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to keep himself vigorously active. He loves playing sports and being outdoors. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents.