Sportsmith Blog
17Oct/120

How to Tension a Treadmill Running Belt

So how do you adjust the Tension on a Treadmill Running Belt?

It is necessary to properly tension a treadmill belt when it is replaced. After time, a belt can stretch and may begin to slip. When this happens, it is necessary to adjust the tension of the belt to stop it from slipping.

Manufacturers of treadmills generally agree on one of three procedures for tensioning a running belt.

  1. Adjust for no slippage of the treadmill running belt on the front roller (Often referred to as the "Stomp Test")
    1. This procedure works well for a previously installed belt that is now slipping.
    2. Underside of belt should be free of any glazing/wax buildup.
    3. Rollers must also be free of wax buildup.
    4. Be sure belt tracking/centering is correct before proceeding.
    5. The most popular speed for this adjustment is 2mph to 3mph.
    6. Try to slow the belt by applying pressure with your foot against the belt movement while grasping the handrails. If the running belt slow, slips or stops (and the front roller does not) adjust BOTH adjustment bolts 1/4 turn clockwise. Test again and repeat adjustment if necessary.
  2. This procedure requires two belt gauges or calipers
    1. This procedure works well when installing a new belt.
    2. This procedure requires you to stretch the belt. Depending on the manufacturer*, this varies between .4 and .6 percent. A dial on the gauge or caliper will indicate the amount of stretch. *Consult the owner/service manual for proper tension.
    3. If you are working on a previously tensioned belt you will need to release the tension before attaching the gauges or calipers.
  3. Gauges or Calipers unavailable
    1. Release the tension on the belt.
    2. Using a yard stick or tape measure, place two marks on the left and right edges of the belt and deck 36 inches apart (or 50 inches if you prefer).
    3. Adjust the left and right tensioning bolts until both sides measure 36 3/16 inches (or 50 1/4). This is equal to .5% of stretch.
    4. Test for proper tracking and tension, adjust if necessary.

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