Performing basic maintenance on your treadmill will extend its life and ensure that it keeps working smoothly. Your treadmill is a long-term investment and taking care of it means you’ll get the best workouts for the longest amount of time.
We’ve put together a list of the tips you need to know, straight from the top brands. Follow these guidelines to keep your treadmill running at its best.
Before you get on your machine, be sure to give it a quick once over to make sure that everything is in working order. Look for any damaged, broken or loose parts. This is also a great time to check for parts that are starting to look worn, so that you can be aware of replacement needs before something breaks.
Make sure that you are wearing clean shoes. Mud and dirt from your outdoor running shoes can clog up your treadmill and create larger problems down the road!
After you finish your workout, always give your machine a good wipe down. Turn the machine off and unplug it before you do this. A build-up of sweat and dust on the machine is going to happen, but this will keep it from becoming an issue. Make sure you always use a soft cloth and a non-abrasive cleaner.
As NordicTrack points out, “Avoid spraying anything directly on the console—instead, spray the cloth, and then use the cloth to wipe off the console.” Many models, like the NordicTrack Commercial 2950, have large, full-color touch-screens that need to be kept clean of dirt, grime and moisture to function properly.
Also, make sure you are wiping off the handles of your machine. This is especially important for models like the NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer, that have heart rate monitors on the handles. Wiping off the sweat and oils from your hands after each use will keep those readouts accurate.
Make sure that the machine is unplugged before you do any cleaning or maintenance to avoid electric shock!
You can use a non-abrasive cleaner, or soap and warm water, to wipe down the handles and console area, but avoid using any cleaner on the belt and rollers of your treadmill.
Check the rollers to ensure smooth operation. You want to clean any dust, dirt or pet hair from around the rollers by wiping along the exposed edges where build-up occurs. You don’t need to force your hands all the way in to clean them, this will only cause movement of the belt.
If your treadmill stays in one place, make sure that you are vacuuming/cleaning underneath the machine. Dust and dirt underneath your treadmill can get sucked into the belt and vents, which can cause overheating and unnecessary wear.
Clean the belt of your treadmill to eliminate any build-up of dirt or debris. Sole Treadmills points out that, “Performance is maximized when the belt is kept as clean as possible. A mild soap and water solution along with a nylon scrub brush will clean the top of the textured belt.” This is super important for models like the Sole F85, that provide a wider treadbelt for your comfort!
This is also a good time to tighten any bolts or screws that may have started to become loose. It is normal for these to loosen over time, so you want to make sure that you tighten them as needed to avoid any loss of parts. Be careful not to over tighten them as this can cause more damage.
Every three months you will want to check the belt lubrication and wear. This is important to ensure that your treadmill is working smoothly.
It is easy to check if your treadmill belt needs lubrication. Just slide your hand in and feel the underside of the belt. If the belt is lubricated properly your fingers will feel greasy. When lubricating your treadmill, always ensure that you are using a 100% silicone lubricant. You’ll want to spray under the belt towards the center along both sides. Once you’ve sprayed the entire length of the belt, rotate it and repeat to ensure that you’ve covered the entire surface.
It is normal for the belt on your treadmill to stretch and track to one side or the other after continued use. This can be adjusted on most models by tightening the bolts on either side of the belt at the rear of the machine. See your model’s manual for specific instructions as these may vary.
For some machines, like the BowFlex BXT216, whose walking deck is designed for use on both sides, you will need to keep an eye on the wear. BowFlex specifies that while you should be checking, don’t make any changes yourself. It should only be flipped by a professional.
There are many places to find help when you’re tackling treadmill maintenance on your own. For instance, if you have an Icon product (which includes NordicTrack and ProForm) you can visit this YouTube channel for tons of helpful videos.
Plus, both of these companies have well staffed customer service representatives that can be contacted for help. We’ve also been impressed with the customer service for Horizon, Sole, and Bowflex products.
If you are ever unsure about the maintenance of your treadmill or your ability to properly perform it, contact a professional. This is why they are available and can help you avoid costly repairs caused by mistakes.
However, keeping up with basic maintenance will help ensure that you and your treadmill can safely and comfortably put in mile after mile for years to come.