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Are you wondering if a treadmill needs maintenance and what you can do to keep it running well? Here’s what you need to know.
A treadmill needs regular maintenance of the belt and rollers. Other parts of the treadmill don’t need much attention except regular cleaning. Good maintenance can extend the lifespan of wear items as well as protect the motor from being overloaded and burning out.
What maintenance does a treadmill need exactly? Keep reading below to find out as well as which parts commonly wear out and what parts don’t need much attention.
Does a Treadmill Need Maintenance?
Just like any other machine with moving parts, a treadmill needs maintenance. While a treadmill doesn’t need daily attention, regular cleaning, lubrication and adjustments are necessary as well as the occasional replacement of parts that wear out like the belt and rollers.
There are a few things you have to do regularly to keep your treadmill in the best working condition;
- Wipe down after a workout
- Clean regularly
- Align the belt
- Lubricate the belt
- Adjust belt tension
Those are the main things that have to be done regularly. You can click here to find an article that tells you exactly how to do those things.
A quick wipe down after every workout also helps to keep everything fresh and looking nice since sweat can be quite corrosive. A more thorough clean of the treadmill and area around it should be done once a week.
Inspecting the belt for wear, tension and alignment can be done once a month or when you notice a weird noise or the belt is rubbing. Lubricating the belt once a month is usually enough for a home treadmill but if you run a lot more might be necessary.
Also, if you run very often or multiple people in your house do, the belt alignment and tension should be inspected a bit more often. Especially if there are ‘uneven’ runners that use the treadmill. Uneven runners put more force on one side which puts more stress on that side. This can push it out of alignment faster.
Besides that, there are some other things you can do to keep your treadmill in good condition that can’t really be called maintenance. You can find more about those that here.
What Happens If You Don’t Maintain a Treadmill?
So what if you just don’t do anything? What could go wrong?
If the treadmill was set up right in the first place, the tension and alignment probably won’t go off very quickly. When it does, you’ll start hearing rubbing and weird noises. At this point you’ll have to do something quick or the rollers and belt will wear out very quickly.
Not cleaning won’t immediately damage anything but over time dust builds up in all the moving parts which will wear quicker and around the electronics. This means the electronics get hotter and if it gets really bad, this is a fire risk. For the most part it will result in electronics failing prematurely. This might take a long time though.
However, besides getting a dusty and dirty treadmill from not cleaning, you’ll notice the treadmill not being as smooth as it should be. Once the belt runs dry, you’ll likely notice the belt slowing down every time you take a step. That’s because the friction between the belt and the deck get’s much higher.
This isn’t only uncomfortable and unnatural to walk/run on, it also puts a lot of extra stress on the motor which can cause it to burn out prematurely.
Haven’t bought a treadmill yet or need a new one? Click here to find a complete guide on how to select the right treadmill for you.
Treadmill Wear Parts
Some parts also just have to be replaced sometimes. Nothing lives forever so unless you’ve got a completely diamond treadmill, something will break at some point. And there are a few wear parts that have to be replaced periodically.
Here are the parts of a treadmill that wear out;
Yes, the lifespan of these parts can be extended with regular maintenance but at some point they’re done and have to be replaced.
You could see the motor as a wear item but if it burns out, often something else went wrong that put too much stress on it. And if it actually wears out because of its age, it’s often not worth replacing it if you could even find a replacement part for an older model. Often if the motor breaks prematurely, it’s covered under warranty. Find the treadmills with the best warranties here.
While it is possible to replace a treadmill motor, it’s not something that is meant to wear out regularly. Keeping the treadmill dust free by cleaning it helps the motor stay cooler which helps prevent failures.
Can You Lower Treadmill Maintenance Needs?
The best thing you can do is to keep everything clean, adjusted and lubricated. This reduces the stress on all the parts which leads to slower wear and tear. Of course cleaning and lubricating is still maintenance so what can you do to reduce the need for this?
You’re never going to reduce the maintenance needs to zero but there are a few things you can do to make it less:
- Keep you treadmill in a clean space
- Don’t put a treadmill on carpet
- Put a mat under the treadmill
- Make sure it’s on a level surface
- Keep it out of the sunlight
The biggest thing you can do is to keep your treadmill clean and safe. Selecting a place for your treadmill that is naturally clean and doesn’t have much dust helps. This is also why it’s not a good idea to put your treadmill on carpet. Carpet releases fibers that get into the moving parts.
In any case, it’s good to put your mill on a mat. Mats are easier to keep clean and less dust collects on them anyways.
In most cases your floor is going to be level but if there are any doubts, make sure your floor is. A small angle can be compensated for by the adjustable feet under the mill but a large incline is not good. And even if the floor is flat, make sure the feet are adjusted so the deck is level, especially from side to side.
If the treadmill is tilted to one side, this can really increase wear of the rollers, belt and bearings on the lower side. It can also be a problem for you since you’re putting uneven stress on the joints which can cause injuries over time.
Yeah that still means you’ll have to lubricate regularly which can be a pain but after you’ve done it twice really doesn’t cost that much time and effort.
What Doesn’t Need To Be Maintained On a Treadmill?
Most other parts of the treadmill that aren’t mentioned above shouldn’t need any real maintenance except for some cleaning. Plastics do get old and brittle over time which can be delayed by keeping it out of the sunlight.
The console could develop issues over time. The screen could malfunction or the buttons could become unresponsive. However, this is not something that can be prevented by maintenance. Keeping it dry and out of the sun as well as preventing it from becoming too hot or cold (ergo; keep it inside), are some of the best ways to extend the lifespan of these things.
Also read: How to properly store a treadmill?
If you are interested in finding out how to protect your treadmills electronics as well as possible, read this article.