8 Reasons Why An Elliptical Trainer Isn’t Working +How to Fix It

There are many reasons why an elliptical trainer may not be working. Issues range from the drive belt being broken to having a broken console. When you do come into contact with a problem regarding your elliptical, it can be difficult to determine what the issue is and how it can be fixed. Being aware of the problem doesn’t do you any good if you do not know how to fix it.

Below is a list of the 8 most common reasons why your elliptical trainer is not working and how you can fix it. The reasons below will give you an in-depth description of how to fix the problem. Each of the steps is simple and easy to follow. Anyone can learn how to fix their elliptical, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.

In order to avoid issues regarding your elliptical, it is important to keep up with regular maintenance. By taking care of your elliptical, you can be sure that unnecessary problems will be avoided. In addition, your elliptical will be in its best condition, so you will be satisfied with your workout.

1. The Drive Belt Is Broken

One of the most common reasons why an elliptical is not working is because the drive belt is broken. Replacing the drive belt is necessary once in a while, as there are a number of reasons it can stop working. Replacing the drive belt should be a regular part of maintenance, which is why it is important to learn how to do it on your own.

Make sure it’s not just slipping first. Click here to find out how to check and tighten your drivebelt

Below is a description of how to fix the drive belt of an elliptical. Thankfully, the steps below can be followed for nearly any model of elliptical. There are very few ellipticals that the steps will not work for.

  • Step one: Unplug the machine. For safety reasons, ensure the elliptical is not plugged in.
  • Step two: Use a standard screwdriver to separate the plastic cover over the top right axle. Remove the entire cover by popping it off and then undoing the screws to remove the other side. Remove the screw and washer that hold the right-hand upper body arm and leg to the axel on the upright.
  • Step three: Remove the pedals. To do this, you will need to undo the bolts and screws that attach the pedals to the crank axles. Remove the pedals from the crank axles and continue removing screws and bolts that attach the discs to the base unit. Pull the disc shields off the base unit.
  • Step four: Remove the screw and roller arm cover with a wrench. Remove the armature from the right crank axle. Next, repeat the steps on the left side.
  • Step five: Remove all of the plastic that is covering the crank pulley. Remove the plastic shield cover cap and the shield cover. Use a standard screwdriver to remove the discs that cover both of the crankarms.
  • Step six: Remove the screws that hold the two side shields together, and then remove the side shields.
  • Step seven: Loosen the tension on the drive belt. To do this, loosen the pivot bolt and then the adjustment bolt. Walk the drive belt off the crank pulley.
  • Step eight: After the old belt has been removed, replace it with a new one. After this step, you are done!

For a more in-depth explanation, click here.

2. The Console Is Broken

Image of the console of an elliptical trainer.

The second reason your elliptical may be broken is that the console is not working. It is a hassle when the console is not working because then you are unable to make adjustments to the elliptical or see your progress.

Many people who realize their console is broken never fix it, as they think they will have to replace the entire machine. However, this is not the case. You can easily replace only the console. If you realize that your console is no longer responsive, then you will want to replace it immediately.

If the console of your elliptical is no longer working then keep reading below. You will know if your console is broken if it is no longer lighting up or displaying any information. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to replace the console.

  • Step one: Remove the screws from the bottom of the console.
  • Step two: Disconnect the wires.
  • Step three: Insert batteries into the new console.
  • Step four: Connect the wires to the new console.
  • Step five : Position the console and reinstall the screws. After this step, you have successfully been able to replace the console!

The problem is of course getting a new console. This can be a bit of a pain and not all manufacturers will just send you a new one. Especially on the higher end models, they’ll want to send someone out to you to replace it. At that point you’ll have to figure out if fixing the console or getting a new cardio machine is more economical.

On new high-end models, the consoles are basically whole computers so they’re not that easy to replace. Lower end elliptical trainers with simple LCD displays are pretty easy to replace.

3. There Are Unusual Noises

The third reason your elliptical may not be working is because of the unusual noises it is making. Having weird noises come from any machine can be alarming, as you may not know if it is still safe to use. The good news is, the sounds are not likely coming from anything harmful. In most cases, if your elliptical is making noises, it is because there is not enough lubrication on the pivot points.

There is a very simple remedy to this issue: all you need to do is apply lubrication to the pivot points, pedal arms, and handlebars.

Although there is a very easy solution for the unusual noises, below is a more in-depth description of how to fix the noises.

  • Step one: Remove any screws and covers.
  • Step two: Remove the pedal arms and handlebars.
  • Step three: Use all-purpose grease on any of the pivot points.

Suggested: Why is my elliptical making a clunking noise

4. The Resistance Motor Is Broken

Image of elliptical pedals.

The fourth reason your elliptical may not be working is that your resistance motor is broken. This happens most commonly when the resistance will not change. Most people enjoy getting to change the resistance as it provides for a better workout and prevents injury. If the pedals are stuck on one setting of resistance, then you will not be able to do many of the possible workouts.

If they are on a low setting, then you will not be able to improve. If they are stuck on a high setting, then you may get injured as you over-exert yourself. It is important to be conscious of your limitations and take precautions to avoid getting injured.

If the resistance will not change, there are two reasons for this:

Reason One:

If you are able to change the resistance manually, then it is because the console is broken. If the console is broken, then refer to the second section of this article.

Reason Two:

If you are unable to change the resistance manually, then it is likely the resistance motor is damaged.

  • Step one: Check to see if your resistance motor works by battery or by plugging the machine into an outlet.
  • Step two: Measure the voltage of the resistance motor by use of a multimeter.
  • Step three: If the console does not send voltage to the resistance motor, then you will need to replace the console.
  • Step four: If the resistance motor still does not work even when it is receiving voltage from the console, then replace the resistance motor.
  • Step five: Unplug your elliptical if it plugs into an outlet.
  • Step six: Check the wire harness connections between the console and the resistance motor.
  • Step seven: Through the use of a multimeter, check the continuity between the wiring and the resistance motor.
  • Step eight: If any wires are no longer working, replace them immediately.

5. There Is Instability

The fifth reason your elliptical may not be working is that it is not stable. Many users are worried because they feel as though their machine is going to break at any minute. If you notice there is not a lot of stability with your machine, it may be because it is a cheaper model. If this is the case, then it is just because of how the elliptical was built, and there is little that can be done about this.

Although ellipticals can be expensive, it is still recommended not to purchase one just because it is cheap. Overall, it may be more expensive in the long run, as you will constantly have to pay for maintenance that would not be needed for a more expensive elliptical.

If you have a quality machine, then some things can be done to eliminate the instability. The steps below will describe how to get rid of the instability of your elliptical.

  • Step one: Place the elliptical on hard flooring, and do not place it on carpeting. Carpeting will add to the rocking of the machine, which is exactly what you are trying to fix.
  • Step two: Tighten all of the frame bolts. If the bolts were not properly tightened during the initial assembly of the machine, then this could be what is causing the instability. Another common reason why the bolts are not tightened enough is that they have gradually loosened through the use of the machine. Ensure all of the bolts throughout the elliptical are securely fastened. This should eliminate any instability.
  • Step three: If there is still any instability, place the elliptical on top of a thick rubber mat. A treadmill mat will work perfectly fine for an elliptical as well.

For more information: How to stop an elliptical from rocking and moving around

6. The Handles Are Broken

Image of a man on a on an ellipctal trainer in the living rom.

The sixth reason your elliptical may not be working is that the handles are broken. The handles are a pivotal part of the machine and the workout. You will not be able to work out the same without them, and it is dangerous if you cannot use them. They provide you with stability and should always be used.

Because the handles are so important, you will want to make sure they are fixed as soon as possible. The most common problem with the handlebars is that they have come loose. If this is the case for your elliptical, then the two easy steps to fix this are given below.

  • Step one: Remove the covers on the handlebars.
  • Step two: Tighten the bolts on the handle arm pivot points.

Suggested: Which elliptical has the best warranty conditions

7. There Is Grime Build Up

The seventh reason your elliptical may not be working is that there is grime build-up. This can happen very often, and your elliptical should be cleaned often so this issue is prevented. By keeping your elliptical clean, you are ensuring the machine will last as long as it possibly can, and that you are getting the best possible workout.

Suggested: Elliptical trainer maintenance guide

  • Step one: Dust the elliptical regularly. Use a cloth to remove the dust that naturally appears.
  • Step two: Get rid of the sweat. If you are using your elliptical, then it will of course get sweat on it. After you finish your workout, clean the sweat off immediately. To do this, use a microfiber cloth with warm water. By doing so, you will ensure that your sweat will not sit on the elliptical, which will eventually cause damage to the machine.
  • Step three: Cover the elliptical. If you do not use your elliptical often, then it is not a bad idea to cover it. In addition, unplug it and remove any batteries. This will make sure that the next time you use it, it will be in optimal condition.
  • Step Four: Place the elliptical on top of a rubber mat. This helps keep dust from the floor out of the elliptical but is also easier to clean than most other types of flooring. A treadmill mat will work perfectly fine for an elliptical trainer.

8. There Is Water Damage

The eighth reason your elliptical is not working is that there is water damage. Your elliptical should never get wet and you should do everything in your power to prevent this from happening.

The garage isn’t as safe for storing gym equipment with electronics as you might think. Read here why.

Even when cleaning the machine, you should avoid using sprays or getting the console overly wet in order to avoid damage. However, accidents do happen and you could get your elliptical wet. Water damage can cause great harm to your elliptical, and it may be beyond repair. However, if the damage is minimal, then it may be possible to fix it.

If the water damage is minimal, then there may still be hope for your machine. However, you should not try to fix it by yourself. Call a professional and see if they think your elliptical can still be fixed.

Figured out you need a new elliptical? Click here to find out which one I recommend

Favorite Cardio Accessories

Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:

  • Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high-quality choice.
  • Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
  • Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.

To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to HomeGymResource.com. After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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