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9 Essential Tips to Perform Treadmill Maintenance

treadmill maintenance and care

If treated well, your treadmill can be one of the most reliable and effective pieces of gym equipment in your home.

Treat it poorly without simple maintenance, and you can expect it to be nothing more than a glorified clothes hanger.

But for those of us who are not mechanically inclined, how are we supposed to take care of our treadmill in order to keep it running in optimal condition?

Treadmill Maintenance (Daily, Monthly and Yearly)

What are some guidelines that we can follow on a daily, monthly and yearly basis?

Here’s a few:

1. Wipe Away Sweat

Not only is dried sweat disgusting, it can also pose significant health and safety hazars for your equipment. Water will corrode the metal parts on the inside and outside of the treadmill, and water that is still on the belt will provide a somewhat-slippery surface. It only takes a few minutes and can save yourself a world of hurt…literally.

2. Keep it Level

While a treadmill is designed to absorb some movement, that energy can be intensified if the treadmill is not placed on a level surface. A constant jogging motion combined with an off-balance treadmill will put undue wear and tear on the motor and belt, causing them to fail much quicker. If possible, place it on a hard, level surface and use the supports to adjust the height.

3. Clean the Dirt

Aside from wiping off the sweat from your machine, another thing you need to keep off of the treadmill – especially the electronic parts – is any kind of dirt and debris build-up. Take a damp and clean rag to wipe down the surface of the treadmill at least once every two weeks to ensure it doesn’t get into the electronic parts and cause damage. Also, make sure that you only use water when cleaning your treadmill; furniture polish and soap can damage the equipment even more.

4. Vacuum Regularly

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Not just the floor around it, but the treadmill itself too. Not only is this quicker than hand-wiping the entire surface down, but it’s also more thorough, as the suction enables you to reach deep inside the crevices of the unit. When you’re finished with the top side, flip the treadmill over on its side and vacuum the underside of the belt too. If you have pets that roam freely around the area of the treadmill, you’ll need to be especially diligent about vacuuming, as dander and pet hair can get lodged into the components more easily.

5. Unplug and Scrub

Every month, unplug the treadmill and use a screwdriver to remove the motor casing to access the inside of the unit. Take a dry cloth and wipe down the areas you can see, and then use the vacuum to reach inside those hard-to-get locations. Debris that is built into the framework of the treadmill will cause friction on the joints of the machine and start to cause the unit to deteriorate. Once you’re finished, place the head back on, screw it in tight, and plug the treadmill back in.

6. Tighten Belt Screws

After you’ve turned the treadmill on to a reasonably slow speed (under five miles per hour), look for the screws that are holding the belt in place. If they’re rattling, take a screwdriver and tighten them up to make sure they don’t come out. Even if they’re no loose, giving them a quarter-turn with a screwdriver will help ensure they stay tight.

7. Lubricate Often

You’ll need to consult your specific user manual in order to see the exact frequency (as well as what type of oil to use), but try to lubricate the belt fairly regularly to keep excess wear and tear from building up. While it might not snap, a belt that is not lubricated properly might overheat and burn up the mower, or even catch on fire [1].

8. Check the Electronics

Just like any other piece of electrical equipment, the cords can wear and begin to fray, especially in the areas next to the plug, since those are pulled most often. If so, wrap the ends in electrical tape to keep the wires from touching the wall – after you unplug it, that is. If your treadmill is battery powered, either replace or check the battery every six months to make sure they’re working properly.

9. Watch the Weather

Even though the reason that you’ve chosen to get a treadmill is so that you can stay out of the elements, you need to monitor where you store your equipment at also. Most people put their’s in a spare bedroom or office area, but try to keep it out the garage or shed where dirt and water can get to it. If you do decide to leave it in a cold area, move it to a warmer area and allow it to warm up before you turn it back on, otherwise the mechanisms will become damaged.

A treadmill is a great investment for anyone wanting to improve their fitness, but it has to be taken care of properly, or else it’s money right down the drain. A little bit of care on the front side can prevent a world of hurt later.

Paul Hickman