Basics of Treadmill Care: Increase Treadmill Lifespan

Treadmills are generally reliable but with some basic care and attention, you can extend their lifespan quite a bit. There are some very simple things you can do to get a few extra years out of your treadmill.

Let’s dive into the details and handy tips for treadmill care below.

Key Takeaways

Here’s how you can care for a treadmill and increase its lifespan:

  • Pick the right spot.
  • Wipe down the treadmill after every use.
  • Vacuum the treadmill regularly. 
  • Lubricate the deck regularly.
  • Invest in a treadmill mat.
  • Perform regular maintenance. 
  • Use a surge protector

Let’s dive into those points a little deeper below.

How To Care for a Treadmill 

Treadmills are durable devices that can serve you for years if well-maintained. However, poor maintenance practices might leave you counting losses sooner than expected. 

Image of a treadmill being dried off.

Suggested: Treadmill maintenance guide

1. Pick The Right Spot

A very important step to protect your treadmill is before you even use it for the first time. Picking the right place to put it can have a really positive effect on its lifespan.

Treadmills have a lot of electronics in them as well as plastic covers and rubber belts. That means they don’t like:

  • Extreme Temperatures: Electronics don’t like extreme heat or cold.
  • Sunlight: Rubber belts and plastic covers get brittle much faster when exposed to UV light.
  • High Humidity/Water: Electronics are not a fan of places with very high humidity either.
  • Dust and Dirt: Dust gets into the moving parts and increases friction and wear. It also decreases cooling capacity which can lead to an overheating motor.

In practice, that means you want to keep your treadmill inside the house and not in a spot where it catches sunlight hours a day. If the treadmill has to be next to the window, a curtain can help, of course. Keeping your treadmill outdoors is a bad idea.

The garage and basement can be very hot/cold and humid. Dust can also be an issue there. These problems can be solved with insulation, ventilation, and a dehumidifier.

Also, picking a spot where things can’t easily fall onto or bump into the treadmill is a good idea. Something falling on the console can break it easily, especially modern touchscreen ones.

2. Wipe down the Treadmill After Every Use.

It is highly advisable to wipe your treadmill with a soft, damp cloth after putting it to use. Wiping down the surfaces will allow you to remove sweat, which is notorious for corroding, or damaging surfaces. Sweat will corrode metal, eat through paint, and even damage plastics.

When cleaning, be sure to wring out excess water to ensure no droplets leak into the inner parts, just use a damp cloth. You should also use a soft microfiber cloth that won’t be too harsh on the surfaces. 

3. Vacuum the Treadmill Regularly.

Treadmills tend to wear down faster when exposed to dust and dirt build-up. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep the environment and treadmill itself clean.

And since treadmills are heavy and hard to move, it’s best to vacuum the areas around them and try to get as much from under the mill as possible. A folding deck helps a lot here.

You should also vacuum around the motor to keep dirt and dust from around the crucial components. Removing the plastics is a good idea to be able to clean around the motor carefully. Just vacuum! Don’t use any water here. You don’t have to do this regularly. About once a year is fine in most cases.

Here’s a complete guide to cleaning your treadmill.

4. Lubricate the Deck Regularly.

The importance of regularly lubricating your treadmill cannot be overstated. Treadmills need to be lubricated to reduce friction between the belt and deck. To lubricate the deck, you’ll need to loosen the treadmill’s bolts and lift the belt. 

After loosening the belt, apply a generous amount of your preferred lubricant on the running deck, ensuring that no lubricant gets on the top of the belt. 1.5 oz of lubricant is usually enough for an average size treadmill.

I and many other people have had good results with this Godora treadmill lubricant (amazon). It comes with a handy tube that helps apply lubricant in the middle of the deck that is otherwise hard to reach.

5. Check Belt Tension & Alignment

Check the treadmill belt tension regularly. An overly tight or loose belt can cause premature wear or motor strain. A loose belt can typically be adjusted using the treadmill’s tension bolts on the back of the machine. You should be able to lift the edges of the belt slightly, but it should not be too loose or too tight.

Also, be aware that the belt can run out of alignment. The belt should run in the middle of the deck without drifting to one since. There can be several reasons for this like the mill not being level or the tension bolts not being adjusted evenly. A belt running crooked puts uneven tension on the moving parts, wearing out one side much faster.

  • For moderate use (1-3 hours per day): Check the belt tension every 2-3 months and alignment every 3-6 months.
  • For heavy use, halve those intervals.

With bad maintenance, the belt can even stop when stepping on it.

5. Invest in a Treadmill Mat.

If you want to prolong the useful life of your treadmill, then it’s best to place a high-quality mat underneath it. Not only does a treadmill mat protect the machine from dirt and dust, but it also helps minimize vibrations that increase the rate of wear and tear. It can even reduce some noise that gets to the neighbors.

Suggested: Do you need a mat under your treadmill?

6. Perform Regular Maintenance

There are some things on a treadmill that need regular maintenance. Things like adjusting belt tension and alignment. You can find a complete guide on those here.

Unfortunately, your treadmill will start to wear over time, especially if used frequently. The good news is that you can replace worn-out parts like belts, rollers, and motors. When buying a replacement belt, be sure to check if it’s the right fit for the type of treadmill you own. 

7. Use a Surge Protector

Treadmills are expensive and to protect them, it’s a good idea to use a surge protector. A surge protector helps protect against power surges which can damage electronic components in a treadmill and even start fires. Surge protectors are a lot cheaper than a new treadmill so it’s a cheap insurance.

Also, it helps keep your treadmill’s performance even. Voltage fluctuations can screw with the controls and motor speed of a treadmill resulting in erratic performance.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to 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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