Looking after your treadmillFitness - how to's
We hope you find this advice helpful, however always refer to your treadmill owner manual for a definitive explanation. If your manual is a little less comprehensive than others then this guide will come in useful. It is based on experience and we hope there are things in it that few treadmill manuals explain. If you are still unsure of any thing to do with the maintenance of your treadmill then do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer or your retailer.
Looking after a treadmill is not difficult but as with any mechanical item of equipment regular maintenance will prolong its life and enhance its overall efficiency.
There are three key areas that require attention.
Care of the Belt and Deck
1) Always wipe down your treadmill with a damp cloth after a sweaty workout as sweat, which is basically salt water, can be very corrosive. Never clean the treadmill with polish, it may get on the running mat and make it slippery. This could be dangerous.
2) Vacuum around and under the treadmill at least once a week. Dust and carpet fibres over a period of time can be drawn into the motor area from the movement of the belt and the small static charge generated from the electrical circuit boards. Also the treadmills running belt has a coarse surface to prevent slipping but this causes small particles to break off your shoes and collect on and under the belt and these too can be drawn into the motor housing. On the same note never use dirty shoes used outdoors on your treadmill. If not attended to this foreign material will form a blanket around the motor creating an unwanted insulation barrier. This will prevent the motor from cooling down and may lead to premature failure. If you have a folding treadmill it is easy to clean underneath it but if not then just put the treadmill into its highest elevation. Finally if you are have building works done in your house cover the entire unit with a dust cloth.
Antistatic Treadmats are a great way to prevent dust and fibres gathering around the motor. They are placed between the treadmill and floor and can reduce the amount of debris by up to 60%
1) Every six months remove the motor cover and vacuum the motor area. Remember to unplug the treadmill. You will be surprised at what you may find when you remove the cover. As well as dust you may also find pet hairs and your child’s toy you thought were lost for good. Be careful when vacuuming near sensitive electronics. Instead of using the vacuum cleaner, blow the dust away with your breath. This may seem a little unnecessary but some treadmills depend on optical speed sensors and dust around these could affect the performance of the entire unit.
Belt and Deck:
1) Always check that the belt of the treadmill is running centre of the deck. An uneven floor or a strange running gait may move the belt over. To correct this check out the manual that comes with your treadmill. However it usually entails you to run the treadmill slowly and with an allen key turn one of the adjustment bolts, which are situated on either side of the rear of the treadmill. This moves the rear roller and careful adjustments will centre the belt. Moving the left side of the roller towards you pushes the belt to the right and visa versa. A word of warning, never turn the allen key more than quarter of a turn at a time. If you over do it the belt will shoot over and it can then jam in the belts running guards.
2) Check that the belt has enough tension. If the belt is loose it will slip under your feet as you run, which can be quite scary. If it’s too tight then it can put a strain on the motor. The treadmill may have a safety device fitted that detects this and may throw up an error on your console. Your manual should provide advice on how to tension the belt, but again it usually comes down to adjusting the rear roller. This time however whatever adjustment you make to one side, you repeat it exactly on the other. Belt tensioning can often come down to trial and error.
3) Many treadmills today come with pre-lubricated running decks. The idea of lubrication is to prevent friction developing between the belt and deck. Too much friction causes high heat levels in the motor and will once again throw up an error. You should not have to lubricate a quality pre-lubricated deck, however hard long use can sometimes take away the pre-lubricating surface on cheaper models. Some decks have double sides and the whole deck can be flipped over so you basically have a brand new running surface. This is the ideal solution but not everyone has the DIY skills to do this, so lubrication may still be the option. Older treadmills will definitely require lubrication, so although its not quite as relevant as it used to be its still important that you know a few do’s and don’ts.
a) Check you are using the right lubricant. Silicone is the most common lubricant but some treadmills use wax.
b) Never over lubricate. This will make the belt slip and also be a magnet for dust.
c) The best way to get lubricant onto the deck is to loosen the running belt by loosening the rear roller.
d) Place the lubricant in the centre of the deck and spread it out with a lint free cloth (not paper) until you cover the deck with a fine film stopping around 4-8 inches from the front and rear of the treadmill, but covering most of the width.
e) Wipe away any excess lubricant that spills out from under the belt, preventing any slippery surface developing where you feet may land.
These simple procedures could treble the life of your treadmill.