How Tight Should an Elliptical Drive Belt be? +How to Adjust It

Picture this: You’re hopping on your elliptical for your daily workout and then it suddenly feels too easy, even with the resistance set at the highest setting. This may be a sign that you need to tighten the drive belt on your elliptical machine.

The drive belt on an elliptical should be tight enough to prevent it from slipping. If the pedals slip even when the resistance is high, you should make the necessary adjustments to fix the elliptical. To fix this, you’ll need to adjust and tighten the drive belt.

Whether the resistance isn’t feeling right or the pedals keep slipping while the resistance is on a high setting, these are all signs that you will need to adjust and tighten the drive belt on the elliptical. You should only need to tighten the belt enough to prevent it from slipping. There are a few steps required to this repair process.

How Tight Should an Elliptical Drive Belt be?

The drive belt on an elliptical only needs to be tight enough to prevent it from slipping. This should give you good traction as you’re using your elliptical machine. It should also help provide the resistance the machine was built to provide.

If the drive belt is still slipping after you tighten it, this is when you know you’ll need to replace the drive belt. Find out how to replace the drive belt here.

In addition to making sure the drive belt stays tight, it’s important to regularly check on the other screws, bolts, and fasteners on the machine. As you regularly use the elliptical machine, these may loosen up over time. You should make sure everything is staying nice and tight and secure.

Suggested: Elliptical trainer maintenance guide

How to Adjust the Drive Belt on an Elliptical

Image of elliptical trainers in a gym

In order to properly and successfully repair your elliptical, you should be familiar with the different parts of the machine. There should be a model in the instruction manual that came with your elliptical machine. If you no longer have the manual, you can search for it online or watch the video below for help in identifying the parts of the elliptical machine.

Suggested: How to make an elliptical trainer smoother

The tools you’ll need for tightening the drive belt are an Allen wrench and a standard screwdriver.

In order to access the drive belt, you’ll need to remove quite a few parts first. Here is a step-by-step guide for the process of accessing and repairing the drive belt on your elliptical:

  • You should unplug your machine before you begin the repair process and make sure you don’t use any power tools in the repair process.
  • Remove the plastic shield cover and the shield cover cap. These are located at the front of the machine and above the crank pulley at the base of the upright.
  • Remove the plastic cover that is over the joint where the right-hand upper body leg and the right-hand roller arm attach together. You should just press gently on the cover seam until it pops off.
  • Remove the screw and washer that hold the plastic cover in place on the inside of the same joint. Remove that cover too.
  • Use the Allen wrench to remove the bolt, nut, and washers that hold the two arms together.
  • Remove the spacers on both sides of the axle and separate the arm and leg.
  • Remove the pivot axle.
  • Separate the right-hand pedal arm from the righthand crank arm by using the Allen wrench to remove the bolt that holds them together. You should also remove the cover plate and washer. Pull the pedal arm from the crank arm.
  • Use the standard screwdriver (one with a thin tip) to remove the plastic disk on the right side of the elliptical. You should do this gently as it should just pop off.
  • Remove the pedal ring on the right side and remove the ring from the peg on the crank arm.
  • Remove the plastic side shield covering the right side of the elliptical. You’ll need to remove the screws from both sides before you can remove the covering on the right side. There should be six screws for each side shield, on each side of the elliptical.
  • Repeat the whole process and remove all the same pieces from the left side of the elliptical.
  • At this point, you should have full access to the drive belt. You don’t need to remove the left-hand side shield, but it can be removed if it’s more convenient for you.
  • Loosen, but do not remove the idler bolt.
  • Tighten the belt adjustment bolt until the belt is snug and tight. You should only tighten the belt enough to prevent it from slipping. You can test this by turning the crank pulley by hand.
  • After you have tightened the belt enough, you should tighten up the idler bolt to hold your adjustments in place.
  • At this point, you should be able to go through and reassemble, and reattach all the parts of the elliptical. It should be back to how it was at the beginning of this repair process.

If the belt continues to slip, you may not have tightened it enough. As mentioned previously, if you feel like you tightened the belt enough, your belt may be worn out or stretched out and you may need to replace it.

Suggested: How to replace an elliptical drive belt

At the same time, you want to be sure that you aren’t over-tightening the drive belt on your elliptical because this can cause damage to the belt. The drive belt will also wear out a lot faster than it would if it were to be adjusted to the right amount of tension.

By making sure you only adjust the drive belt to be as tight as it needs to be, you will make sure that your elliptical machine is running correctly and up to the standard it needs to for you to be successful in your workout and to keep your elliptical in good condition. The drive belt should never be too tight or too loose as this could cause problems either way.

Watch this video for a helpful step-by-step guide on how to adjust and tighten the drive belt on an elliptical:

One reason the drive belt wears out faster than it should is a lack of cleaning or storing it in the wrong place. Many people put it in the garage but that’s not actually the best space in the house to put it. Click here to find out why.

Is your elliptical still not working after tightening the belt? Click here to find other reasons why an elliptical is not working.

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 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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