The Full Guide To Elliptical Trainer Maintenance

Any machine with moving parts will work better with regular maintenance. Elliptical trainers are the same. So how can you maintain your elliptical trainer so it stays in tip top shape for as long as possible.

Basic maintenance of an elliptical trainers includes the following;

  • Inspections
  • Cleaning
  • Lubrication

With proper prevention you can also prevent some things going wrong with your trainer. All in all, elliptical trainers don’t need all that much maintenance.

To find out what you have to do exactly and how often, keep reading.

Cleaning your elliptical trainer

Good maintenance starts with regular cleaning. Cleaning is good for several reasons;

  • You’re more likely to use a clean elliptical
  • Dirt, dust and sweat gets into the machine and can cause problems
  • Sweat is actually pretty damaging to many materials

Here’s how you do it right;

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Looking for a good elliptical trainer for a good price? Click here to find my recommendation for a home gym elliptical trainer.

How to clean your elliptical/cross trainer

There are some things you should know about cleaning an elliptical trainers.

Make sure to use a mild detergent to clean your machine. Aggressive chemicals like bleach and ammonia can harm many of the plastics you can find on an elliptical trainer.

Suggested post: Elliptical trainer FAQ

Warm water, mild detergent and a lint free towel are your best options. Also make sure the towel you’re using isn’t too wet. Just damp will do fine. Using too much water can cause corrosion and electrical problems.

  • After every workout: After every workout, use a damp, lint free towel to quickly wipe down the machine. Especially the console and handles should be cleaned. Also get any sweat drops that might have gotten somewhere else. This prevents your sweat from attracting extra dust and dirt.
  • Monthly: About once a month, do a more thorough clean of the whole machine. Wipe down the whole outside of the machine. Pay special attention to the guide rails and rollers if your machine has those.
  • Every 6 months: Turn off the machine and unplug it from the wall. Take off the plastic covers and vacuum up any dust you can see. Try to avoid bumping into any internal parts. This could damage something. The goal here is to prevent too much dust from building up that can interfere with the functioning of the machine.

That’s it for cleaning. It isn’t difficult at all, just something you have to remember to do. The small time investment will be worth the better machine in the end.

Lubrication of a crosstrianer

The next most important part of maintenance is lubrication. Elliptical trainers have several moving parts. When two parts move together and they’re properly lubricated, they last for a very long time. Let’s say you have two metal parts moving against each other. A lubricant forms a thin film between the two surfaces so they don’t touch. That way there is no or very limited wear.

Disclaimer: Under some warranties you can’t really do much yourself. Some manufacturers expect you to lubricate the machine yourself while on other machines it actually voids the warranty. Make sure to check your owner’s manual.

Now if the lubricant wears down, gets old or leaks out, the two surfaces will start rubbing together and wear out very quickly. To prevent this, apply new lubricant regularly. On an elliptical machine you’ll have a few spots that have to receive some lubricant to keep those parts from wearing out.

Under normal use, you should lubricate certain points of an elliptical machine about every six months. If you’ve bought a new elliptical machine, there is a good chance it came with some lubricant. If so, use this.

If you don’t have any, avoid using household oils or a standard lubricant. These won’t do the job. In most of the cases, ellipticals come with a type of grease, usually lithium grease.

If your elliptical didn’t come with any, check out this WD-40 Lithium spray on Amazon. This isn’t your normal WD-40. This is the type of grease that comes with most elliptical trainers. This spray bottle makes it easier and less messy to apply.

Just spray on the areas that need it (check your owner’s manual), and wipe of the excess.

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Preventing things from breaking is always better than to fix them. When a part breaks on your elliptical, you might have to wait quite a few days before you’re able to work out again. A mechanic has to come out to your location and possibly he has to order parts and come back later. This is very inconvenient so preventing this from happening in the first place is a good thing.

Besides regular cleaning and lubrication what are some preventative measures you can take to make your elliptical machine last longer?

Looking for a high quality elliptical trainer that lasts for many years? Click here to find the best elliptical trainer for home gyms

Inspect the trainer regularly

Every workout: Visually check for loose parts and bolts. Is it likely you’ll find any? No, but it’s better to take the few seconds it takes to check than to fall off. Just use hand tools to tighten where necessary. Try to avoid using power tools.

Monthly: Usage causes movement and vibrations. This can cause bolts to become undone and cause an unsafe situation.

Once a month it’s a good idea to do a more in depth check for loose parts and bolts. Take the appropriate tool(s) and physically check the tightness of all the parts and bolts. It’s best to follow the assembly instructions to make sure you don’t over/under tighten certain things.

Check the operation of the machine. See if everything moving as freely as it should and if there are any squeaks and rattles. If there are, inspect further and see if you should lubricate, tighten or do something else to solve the problem and prevent it from getting worse.

Also check over the console, plastic parts and power cords for cracks or other damage and replace parts if necessary.

Every 6 months: Every six months you should check the state of the drive belt. This will require taking off some of the plastic covers. If you see any signs of wear or damage, it should be replaced.

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Use the trainer on a level and stable surface

Don’t attempt to set your elliptical trainer up on a surface that isn’t flat and or stable. It’s a recipe for disaster. If the machine isn’t level, you’ll put excessive stress on one side of it, causing moving parts on that side to wear out faster.

It also just doesn’t feel good to work out on a trainer that isn’t completely straight. You might even develop some muscle imbalances.

If you follow these precautions in combination with the maintenance steps, your elliptical trainer should stay in great shape for many years to come.

Room conditions

An elliptical machine is made from metal, plastics, electronics and rubber. While most of these materials are pretty resilient, it’s good if the conditions in the room where it’s stored are pretty moderate.

That means moderate;

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Daylight

Extreme temperatures can damage plastics, rubber and electronics. High humidity can cause mold to grow easier and quicker and if it’s very high can even cause corrosion and it’s not great for the electronics.

Daylight or more accurately UV light also degrades most materials over time.

Looking for a good elliptical trainer for a good price? Click here to find my recommendation for a home gym elliptical trainer.

Storing an elliptical trainer

If you choose to store your elliptical trainer for an extended period of time, it’s good to take some precautions to keep it in good condition for when you choose to use it again.

Here are some things to take into consideration when storing your machine.

  • Switch off the machine
  • Unplug the trainer from the wall
  • Take any (if any) batteries out of the console.
  • Clean the trainer before you put it away
  • Store in a dry, dark place with moderate temperatures
  • Cover the machine with a tarp or something else that protects it and prevents dust from gathering

Taking your elliptical trainer out of storage

When you take it out of storage, it’s a good idea to give it a thorough inspection. You can find a list of things to inspect higher in this article. Before you can do this, you’ll probably have to clean it first before you can inspect anything.

After inspecting and correcting anything if necessary, put a set of fresh batteries in the console and/or plug it into the wall socket.

Check if everything moves freely and as it should before actually stepping on the trainer. Just stepping on it and then discovering something is wrong might hurt you. Depending on how long it’s been stored, the moving parts might need some lubrication.

If everything works as when you put it away, enjoy!

Call a pro

For some things you should just call someone who really knows what they’re doing. All the maintenance in the world isn’t going to fix something that’s broken. Changing the oil in your car after the engine blows up isn’t going to fix the engine.

If something is broken on your elliptical or there is just something you aren’t comfortable with doing yourself, it’s a good idea to call a professional that knows exactly what they’re doing.

Also, under some warranties you can’t really do much yourself. Some manufacturers expect you to clean and lubricate the machine yourself while on other machines it actually voids the warranty. Make sure to check your owner’s manual.

Looking for a high quality elliptical trainer that lasts for many years? Click here to find the best elliptical trainer for home gyms


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to I've been going to the gym for about 15 years and am now looking to build my own. In the process I've learned many things I'd like to share with you.

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