A home treadmill is a big investment, and it pays to do the simple maintenance to keep it running well for years to come. Dan Thompson of Huff-n-Puff Fitness Repair in the Chicago, Illinois, area tells us how you can maintain your home treadmill.
Daily Treadmill Maintenance:
Thompson: Wipe the machine down after every use. Provided you are working up a sweat this is even more important. As moisture begins to build on the machine it will promote rusting of metal parts and harbor bacterial growth. As always, use common sense. If the machine is running rough or something is rubbing or scraping discontinue use until you determine the problem.
Weekly Treadmill Maintenance:
Check the belts and deck, vacuum around and underneath
Thompson: Check the walking belt and deck for signs of wear, vacuum the area around the machine and underneath if possible. If used regularly dust and debris will begin to accumulate in the rear of the machine. A small portion of it is worn from the walking belt but the majority of it is from the soles of the user's shoes. It is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. Also, check the walking belt to make sure it is relatively centered and straight. It does not need to be aligned perfectly but ensure it is not scraping or rubbing on anything on the sides.
Monthly Treadmill Maintenance:
Tighten the bolts
Thompson: Check the frame nuts and bolts to ensure they are tightened and that the uprights attaching the console to the frame are secure. With regular use it is not uncommon for them to vibrate loose.
Yearly Treadmill Maintenance:
Vacuum the motor compartment and lubricate
Thompson: Vacuum inside the motor compartment and underneath the machine. Before removing the motor cover to vacuum be sure to turn off and unplug the machine. Be very careful around all the delicate electrical components, be sure not to touch them with your vacuum nozzle.
Extra Maintenance for People with Pets
Thompson: People with pets definitely need to vacuum the motor compartment more frequently and try to keep the area around the machine as hair free as possible. Treadmill mats are a great way to minimize the amount of pet hair, carpet fibers, dirt and dust from the motor compartment. All that foreign debris can wreak havoc on your motor and motor control board which will result in costly repairs.
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Q: What maintenance can't you do yourself at home?
Thompson: Depending on your mechanical and electrical comfort levels you can attempt maintenance yourself and get help with the calibration from your manufacturer's customer support line. If you remove your machine's motor cover and immediately think you are in too deep it is probably best to call a professional. As with any other specialty piece of equipment a professional repair technician will be able to spot problems that may not be immediately apparent and correct them before they become a major issue.
Where can you find professional help for treadmill maintenance and repair?
- TreadmillDoctor.com has a comprehensive list of service providers for the US by state, and for Canada.
- Chicagoland area: Huff-n-Puff Fitness Repair
Thompson: The proper belt lubricant -- most use a silicon based lube but some use a paraffin base, it is very important to use the correct type so please consult your owners manual or call the manufacturer to determine which is needed. WD-40 is NOT the correct lube for any treadmill, it will destroy a belt very quickly and should not be used under any circumstances!
A walking belt adjustment wrench should have been provided with your machine when it was purchased, if not your owners manual should list the size required.
Top five things you should do to maintain your treadmill
3) Wipe down after every use.
4) Keep the walking belt centered and aligned.
5) Install a treadmill mat underneath the machine.