How to Maintain Your Treadmill
Treadmills have improved to the point that little is required for many years of use. Because treadmills have many moving parts, though, preventive maintenance cab extend their useful lives or many more years.
Treadmill Maintenance Guidelines
The place to start is with the owner's manual. Treadmills have some basic differences. This means that one set of maintenance guidelines do not apply to all treadmills. Don’t do something to your treadmill just because your friend did it to theirs! The best example is lubrication of this principle is the tread belt. Lubricating belts that don't require it, or lubricating with the wrong lubricant, can permanently damage a machine. The wrong kinds of lubricant include motor oil and cooking oil. The right kind is typically petroleum-free and designed specifically for treadmills. Lubricant prolongs the life of the tread belt by reducing friction on it. Be careful not to get any lubrication on the outer belt surface as this would make it slippery and difficult to run on.
Treadbelts tend to stretch over time. Therefore, they often need to be adjusted to prevent or correct slipping. Proper alignment of both the front and rear rollers reduces the stress on the belt and can extend its life. Consult your owner’s manual for how to tighten up and align the tread belt. Typically, you can adjust the belt’s lateral position and tension with an Allen wrench on the bolts at the base of the treadmill. If you hear a knocking sound while using the treadmill, this could indicate improper belt tracking or a defective roller.
Uneven stress on the treadmill, and the possibility of the belt becoming unaligned, can be prevented further by placing it on the most level floor you have. If your floor is not level, using a carpenter's level and shims can correct for this.
Dust is also a leading cause of treadmill wear. A dusty belt can increase strain on the motor and reduce its life. Therefore, keep dust out of your workout room and remove it from your treadmill when possible. Periodically cleaning the area between the tread belt and frame with a vacuum cleaner or damp cloth can extend your machine’s life. If you unplug the treadmill and rotate the belt to a different position before vacuuming again, you will as much dust out as you can. You can also take off the motor cover and vacuum inside, but be careful not the touch the static-sensitive electronics.
If you put a rubber mat under your treadmill, you protect not only the floor, but you can also prevent the treadmill from drawing dust into itself while it’s running. Using a surge protector between the treadmill and the electrical outlet can prevent damage to the console of the treadmill in an electrical storm. Plugging into a grounded outlet will help prevent electrical shocks.
Properly taken care of, your treadmill will last a long time. If you use your treadmill, you should too!
By Robert Braun