How To: Maintain a Fitness Treadmill

Fitness Equipment Service Technician working on a fitness treadmill

How do I keep my Fitness Treadmill working in tip-top shape?

  

A home fitness treadmill or a commercial treadmill in a health club is not only an investment of your hard-earned money, but it is also an investment into your health.  You want your fitness equipment performing at it’s best not only to prolong the life of your unit, but also to prolong your good health.  Weather you have a treadmill in your home, business, or health club most basic preventative maintenance is easy to perform yourself.  If you are not the most mechanically inclined person, there are fitness equipment service providers that can perform preventive maintenance on your workout machine at any interval that you specify.  The more work you do yourself the less you will have to pay a fitness equipment repair company later.  You can break your preventative maintenance tasks into four main categories.  

 Preventative Maintenance Schedule

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly

Tasks to complete Daily to ensure top performance of your exercise treadmill

  • Remove excess accumulation of dirt, dust, sweat, and other contaminates using a soft cloth and a mild cleaner that is free of alcohol and ammonia such as “Simple Green”.  Wipe down the display board, handrails, motor cover, removable safety switch, and heart rate grips.  Pay special attention to areas where sweat can accumulate.  Sweat will eat away at the paint and cause the unit to rust.  Please note: NEVER spray cleaning solution directly onto the surface of the fitness machine.  Spray it onto the cloth first and then wipe.  The fluid can seep into cracks, grooves, and other small gaps between the outer surface and the electronics on the inside.  This is an easy way to short out a control board or hand grip heart rate sensors.
  • While the unit is stopped, use a clean DRY cloth to wipe the sides and under the tread belt.  This will help prevent sand, small rocks, and other contaminants from getting between the walking belt and tread deck and causing premature wearing of these components.
  • Inspect the edges of the tread belt for fraying and make sure that the walking belt is centered in the middle of the fitness machine.  If the belt is off center you can refer to your owner’s manual for steps in how to center the belt.
  • Inspect the power cord to make sure that internal wires are not exposed and that the treadmill is not running over the unit during incline changes.

Tasks to complete Weekly to ensure top performance of your exercise treadmill

  • Vacuum around and under the exercise machine.  This helps prevent dust, hair, and other fine particles from getting sucked up into the motor compartment or under the tread belt.  The easiest way to vacuum under the unit is to start the machine, raise the incline to it’s highest level, and then unplug the unit.  Unplugging the unit ensures that the incline does not reset automatically while you are under the machine.  Also, be careful not to pinch or damage the power cord while vacuuming or changing the incline levels.
  • While the treadmill is turned off and unplugged, inspect the underside of the tread belt and the top of the walking deck.  Look for a smooth glazed feel and a melted apperance on the underside of the tread belt.  This will mean that it is time to change the belt.  Failure to do so could result in more friction that causes the motor to work harder that generates more heat which not only can prematurely wear out the motor, but can also affect the lower electronics.  You should inspect the top of the walking deck for unusual wear or deep grooves that can be caused by debris that is under the belt.  Failure to do so could lead to premature wearing of the tread belt.  Please notify a fitness equipment service company if you see these signs of wear for replacement of defective parts.  It’s like changing the breaks and tires on a car.
  • Check the screws and bolts of the handrails and display to see if they are missing or loose.  If they are loose, tighten them.  If they are missing, find replacements.
  • Test the treadmill through all of the incline settings and speed levels to ensure that the fitness machine is functioning properly.  Then stop the unit using the emergency stop button to make sure that it stops the unit.  If the emergency stop button fails, notify a fitness equipment service professional immediately and do not use the unit until it is serviced.
  • Look around the unit for any broken or cracked parts.  Replace any defective item immediately.
  • Special Note:  Certain treadmills have, such as certain commercial units from Life Fitness, have automatic lubrication devices that squirt a wax solution onto the underside of the tread belt at certain intervals.  The nozzle on these lubrication devices can clog and need to be cleaned regularly using a degreasing agent.  If you notice an excessive accumulation of wax around the nozzle, please contact a service professional for inspection.  Failure to do so can result in a premature wearing of the tread belt and the walking deck

Tasks to complete Monthly to ensure top performance of your exercise treadmill

  • While the treadmill is turned off and unplugged, remove the motor cover and vacuum around the motor and electronics.  You can use a can of compressed air that you would normally use on a computer key board to blow dust and dirt off of the electronics and out from the areas that you could not reach with the vacuum.  You can also use a fine paint brush to carefully dust off the electronics and other hard to reach areas.  This is very important to do since carpeting has small bits of metal that break off over time and get sucked up into the motor compartment.  If enough of these fine shavings build up they can cause the lower board to fail. 
  • Inspect the drive belt that goes from the motor to the front roller for wear, frays, or cracks.  If the drive belt is damaged in any way have a fitness equipment repair professional replace it immediately.
  • For DC Motors: Most DC motors have two sets of motor brushes that need to be inspected for wear.  Remove the brushes from the motor and inspect them for the proper length (refer to manufacturer’s service manual for correct measurments) and replace the same way you took them out.  Failure to do so can result in a faulty motor that will need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Clean and lubricate the incline mechanism, which is the thing that looks like a spiral.  Wipe it down completely with a soft cloth to remove dirt, dust, hair, and other contaminants.  Make sure that lint from the cloth is not left on the incline mechanism.  Relubricate the mechanism with manufacturer approved lubricants such as “SuperLube”.
  • Make sure the wheels on the front of the treadmill move smoothly during incline changes and that they are not damaged or caught on anything.

Tasks to complete Quarterly to ensure to performance of your exercise treadmill

  • Lubricate the walking deck of the treadmill.  Please refer to the owner’s manual of your treadmill to make sure that it requires lubrication.  Some manufacturers, such as Precor, have maintenance-free decks and require no lubrication.  Many times lubricating these units can result in the loss of your warranty.  Also, double check the type of lubrication required by the manufacturer.  Some use a hard wax, some use a powdered wax, some silicone, and some even use graphite (this has not been used for years, but there are still some out there)
  • Special Note: Certain Life Fitness treadmills have an automatic lubrication system that sprays wax automatically on the underside of the belt at specific intervals.  Manual waxing is not needed, but the nozzle does need to be checked and cleaned at this time.  Also, inspect the wax bag to make sure it does not drop below 20% full.  When it does, a refill kit or a new bag can be purchased from a service provider or from the manufacturer.

In conlusion, to protect your investment in your equipment and health you have to do regular maitnenace on your workout treadmill.  Failure to do so can result in costly repairs, time lost working out, or possibly the replacement of the whole unit.  It does not matter if it is commercial gym equipment or home gym equipment, the steps taken are the same.  With regular preventative maintenance the workout machine can last for many years.  You change the oil and brakes on your car, so be sure to do the proper things for your treadmill. 

For more information on how to Maintain Weight Lifting Equipment, click here 

– The Staff at EverythingFitnessEquipment.com  

“For all of Your Fitness Equipment and Exercise Equipment Needs”  

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Comments

  1. FitnessExpert says:

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  12. FitnessExpert says:

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  13. FitnessExpert says:

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    Thanks again,

    The Staff at EverythingFitnessEquipment.com

    “For all Your Fitness Equipment and Exercise Equipment Needs”

  14. FitnessExpert says:

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    Thanks again,

    The Staff at EverythingFitnessEquipment.com

    “For all Your Fitness Equipment and Exercise Equipment Needs”

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  16. FitnessExpert says:

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  19. FitnessExpert says:

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  20. FitnessExpert says:

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  22. FitnessExpert says:

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  27. Caroline says:

    I have a retired cybex trotter 300T and need some info regarding lubricating the deck and the type of lubricate to use. Thank you for your assistance.

    Caroline

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