Sportsmith Blog

Routine Treadmill Maintenance Protects Your Investment and Keeps Your Exercisers Happy

Your treadmills are among the most popular pieces of cardio equipment and require maintenance on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.  Establishing an ongoing maintenance schedule assures proper and safe operation, prevents downtime and extends product life.  The essential tools for treadmill maintenance are a small shop vacuum, an all purpose non-corrosive alcohol-free cleaner, a lubing agent, such as WD40, and clean cotton towels.  Before performing any maintenance always, remove the equipment from its power source.

Daily Maintenance: includes wiping down the console, handrails, shrouds and heart rate grips with an alcohol-free cleaner.  Inspect power cords for nicks, cuts or fraying and replace if needed.  Progressive facilities are increasingly aware of member health concerns and promote the use of equipment cleaners or wipes. Exercisers help with daily maintenance by cleaning the console, handrails and heart rate grips as a courtesy to others.  Choose equipment cleaners or wipes that contain an antimicrobial agent that will help disinfect the equipment from common bacteria. Do not use alcohol based or corrosive cleaners as they may cause the console to turn opaque or white.

Weekly Maintenance: wipe down the treadmill frame, striding belt and stop button.  Inspect the striding belt for proper alignment, tension and fraying at the seam and edges.  If fraying exists, replace the striding belt immediately.  The striding belt also needs replacement when the under side of the belt feels hard and has a glazed appearance.  Normal striding belt backing should be somewhat soft and smooth feeling.  Also, raise the treadmill to maximum elevation and vacuum any loose debris or dust.  Treadmills on carpeted areas should be placed on rubber mats to reduce static electricity build-up and help prevent dust and debris from accumulating on the striding belt, rollers and electronics.

Monthly Maintenance: includes inspecting the treadmill console for cracks, punctures, and overlays or keypads peeling up from the console base.  Check that console functions are working properly. Inspect the handrails, foot rails, rear roller guard and tighten any loose bolts or screws.  Replace any cracked, punctured, peeling, or damaged parts.  Routine part replacements promote optimal performance and prevent costly breakdowns.  Also inspect, clean and lubricate the elevation screws.  This will help the treadmill operate at incline and decline more smoothly. Always remove any foreign debris from areas that move or rotate.  Check owner's manual for elevation screw locations.

Quarterly Maintenance: includes lubing the striding belt and deck. Any increase in amps or breakers tripping could mean these items are not properly lubed.  With the increasing number of manufacturers there is no longer standard striding belt and deck lube types.  Some models have auto wax, while others may need to be lubed once a month or every three months.  Striding belt and deck maintenance has the biggest impact on treadmill performance and will determine the longevity of the rollers, motors and electronics.  Always refer to your owner’s manual for the correct lube type and instructions. Remove the front shroud or cover and check for any loose cables or connections, vacuum loose debris, and check the drive belt for any cracks or wear. Check the drive belt for proper tension and the front roller for any wax build up and debris around the shaft or axle. Watch for debris such as hair, threads, or loose roller bearings, which are common treadmill malfunction culprits. Owner’s manuals provide a guide through this process.