1. Pedometer is Tilted and Counts Few Steps
2. Wearing it in the Wrong Position
3. Accidentally Hitting the Reset Button
4. Didn't Turn it OnSome pedometers have on/off switches. Locate the instructions to see how to turn it on. New pedometers may have a tab over the battery that needs removed before it will work. The pedometer function of a pedometer watch or the 5th generation iPod have specific methods for turning on the pedometer function. Always check your pedometer after a minute of walking to see if it is counting steps or needs to be turned on or repositioned.
5. It Hit the FloorPedometers are known to fly off of your waistband and incur major trauma, especially in restrooms. If your pedometer just took a tumble and now it's not working, it is unlikely to be revived at the trauma center. You can try removing the battery and replacing it. But after that, just call the time of death. The best prevention for this common accident is to use a pedometer safety leash. You can buy one or just make your own out of some string and a safety pin. That extra point of safety is critical as I have yet to find a foolproof clip.
6. Pedometer Battery is Going DeadA pedometer battery lasts six months to a year with common use. As the battery runs down, the walker may see flaky readings -- counting too few or too many steps. If you have been using the pedometer for a few months without a problem, this may be the cause of newly inaccurate readings. If it is a new pedometer, try changing the battery to see if that corrects the problem. Many manufacturers have a tab over the battery so the buyer can remove it and start with a fresh battery. But some pedometers are sold with the battery already running. Visit the manufacturer's web site for instructions if you don't have them saved.
7. Pedometer Got WetFew pedometers are waterproof. If you made a mistake and submerged your pedometer, you can try to rescue it by taking out the battery and letting it thoroughly dry for a day or two in a warm, dry place (like on top of your TV or desktop computer) before putting the battery back in. You may want to use a hair dryer to gently blow it dry. If it still shows a blank display or a strange bunch of numbers, it is probably beyond rescue. Our iPod Guide's advice on fixing a wet ipod works for pedometers as well.
How to Fix Wet Electronics
8. Looking at the Wrong Mode
9. Spring Mechanism is Getting OldThe cheaper pedometers use a spring mechanism, and as the pedometer ages the spring loses it springiness. After a million steps they tend to overcount steps. The cheapest hairspring models age fastest, but coiled springs also age. This leads to inaccurate step counts. Look for a pedometer with a piezo-electric accelerometer mechanism. They may cost a little more, but they are silent and maintain their accuracy for longer.
Pedometer Mechanims: What Makes Your Pedometer Tick?
10. Need to Set the Stride Length and WeightThe step count shouldn't be affected by an incorrect stride length or weight, but you need to set these accurately to get a good estimate of distance and calories burned. Check your pedometer instructions and take the time to get a good estimate of stride length. If you walk a measured mile and it doesn't match the pedometer, increase your stride length setting if it is underestimating the distance (saying you went .75 miles instead of the 1 mile of the course) and decrease your stride length if it is overestimating (saying you went 1.25 miles on a 1 mile course.) Don't underestimate your weight -- you burn more calories per mile the more you weigh.
How to Set Your Pedometer