When To Lubricate a Treadmill Belt

My first treadmill belt went pretty quickly because I completely forgot (didn’t know you should) lubricate the belt once in a while. To make sure you don’t have a similar experience, here’s what I figured out you should pay attention to.

The most important signs that indicate it’s time to lubricate your treadmill belt are: Uneven speeds, a slipping belt, and overall inconsistent performance. Unusual noises and vibrations can also be caused by a dry belt. Belt debris by the treadmill is a clear indication there’s too much friction which means not enough lubrication.

Let’s get into the 7 clear signs it’s time to lubricate your belt. We’ll also get into how often you should lubricate the belt to prevent ever having to notice any of these signs.

7 Signs It’s Time To Lubricate Your Treadmill’s Belt

Image of a person walking on a treadmill

1. Uneven Speed

A key giveaway that it’s time to break out the lube bottle is if the belt slows down when you step on it. That means the friction is too high for the motor to maintain speed. The way to

If you notice this, it’s better to get some lube on the belt sooner rather than later since it will dramatically increase belt wear if you keep going like that. Besides, it’s a very bad workout experience and can make you trip.

Here are some reasons why your treadmill’s belt can even stop when stepping on.

2. Belt Slipping

Another sign is if the roller is slipping on the belt. The motor keeps running but the belt doesn’t spin, or not as quickly. This is caused by the belt having too much friction on the deck and instead of just slowing down, it completely stops. However, the motor keeps the roller spinning and so the roller slips inside the belt.

Lubricating the belt helps to reduce the friction and keeps the belt from slipping.

Lubricating is the first step you should take, especially if you see some of the other signs on this list but also check the belt tension. If it’s too loose, it slips more easily than it should.

3. Inconsistent Performance

The treadmill performing differently at different speeds and inclines is a good indicator you have to break out the lubrication for the same reasons as mentioned above. The friction changes with speed and incline which then creates inconsistent performance.

4. Vibrations

The extra friction, noises, and motor stress a dry treadmill belt can cause can sometimes also translate into vibrations.

If you notice more or different vibrations while working out on your treadmill, inspect the belt and give it a spritz of oil. If lubrication doesn’t resolve the problem, check the belt tension and alignment.

5. Noises

Noises are also a good idea to pay attention to so run without headphones sometimes.

  • Squeaking or squealing noises: If you hear a high-pitched, squeaky sound when using the treadmill, it is a clear sign that the belt is in need of lubrication. This noise is typically caused by friction between the belt and the deck.
  • Chirping or creaking sounds: A chirping or creaking noise is also an indicator that the belt is dry and requires lubrication.

6. Visual Clues

Visual clues are also a good way to get an indication of your belt’s lubrication status.

  • Belt dryness: Inspect the treadmill belt visually. If the belt appears dry, discolored, or worn out, it’s a sign that it might benefit from lubrication. Dry or discolored spots can indicate a lack of lubrication.
  • Belt wear: Look for signs of excessive wear, such as fraying, cracks, or uneven wear patterns. A worn-out belt can cause more friction and may require lubrication.

However, the truth is, if you see this type of wear, it’s likely already too late and you should replace the belt. However, if you catch it early, you can extend the lifespan of the belt a little.

7. Dust or Debris Accumulation

Excess dust or debris underneath the treadmill is a sign that the belt is generating more friction than usual, indicating the need for lubrication. If you keep using the treadmill while there’s already debris under the treadmill, the belt will wear out very quickly.

Check if the debris you see is the same material as the belt and not just other dust buildup (which should be removed as well).

How Often To Lubricate A Treadmill Belt

Paying attention to the signs is good but if you notice any of them, it’s actually too late. You should apply some silicone or wax to the deck before you notice any of these signs. Here’s how often most experts say you should lubricate your belt.

Home treadmill belts that see moderate use should be lubricated every 3-6 months.

  • Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions: Every treadmill is different so check the user’s manual for your model’s requirement.
  • Regular Home Use: For treadmills used in a typical home setting with moderate use (a 1-4 times a week), lubricating the belt every three to six months is recommended by most manufacturers.
  • Frequency for Heavy Use: If you use your treadmill more frequently, such as daily or for high-intensity workouts, it requires more lubrication. In such cases, lubricate the belt every one to three months.
  • Climate and Environment: The climate and environment where you use your treadmill can also impact the need for lubrication. In dry or low-humidity environments, the belt may dry out faster, necessitating more frequent lubrication.
  • Maintenance-Free Belts: Some high-end and commercial-grade treadmills come with maintenance-free belts that do not require regular lubrication. Most domestic treadmills do not have these belts.

Here are some more general tips and basics that will help keep your treadmill in good shape.

What Impacts Lubrication Frequency

The frequency at which you should lubricate a treadmill belt is influenced by various factors, including:

  • Treadmill Usage: The more you use your treadmill, the more frequently you have to lubricate the belt.
  • User Weight: Heavier users can put more stress on the treadmill belt, leading to increased friction and wear. If you or other users are significantly heavier, you have to lubricate the belt more often.
  • Climate and Environment: The climate and environment in which you use your treadmill can affect lubrication frequency. Low humidity and dry conditions can cause the belt to dry out faster, necessitating more frequent lubrication.
  • Belt Material: The material of the treadmill belt can influence lubrication needs. Different materials may have different requirements for maintenance and lubrication. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific type of belt your treadmill has.
  • Belt Length: Longer treadmill belts may require more frequent lubrication, as there is a larger surface area in contact with the deck.
  • Maintenance History: Regular maintenance and proper care can extend the time between lubrications. If you keep your treadmill clean, free of debris, and well-maintained, you may be able to lubricate the belt less frequently.


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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