A treadmill is a good investment when you want to get fit in the comfort of your own home. Once you have made your purchase you will want to protect your investment.
Knowing how to carry out basic maintenance tasks is a good thing. It helps prolong the life of your equipment.
Let’s look at how to lubricate a treadmill belt, and why you should do it!
Why should you lubricate a treadmill?
I am sure you can imagine all that pounding from running or walking must take its toll.
One of the main parts of the treadmill that gets a lot of wear and tear is the rotating belt. The rotating belt is usually made of rubber or PVC, which is the same material often used for treadmill mats, with a cotton underlayer. On cheaper models it will be single ply, a more expensive treadmill might have double or triple ply for extra cushioning.
Either way, these belts are constantly rotating during use, and need lubrication to slide smoothly.
Friction from the rotation of the belt can put extra work load on the rollers and motors needed to operate your machine. Chances are when these parts have to work harder, they might use more electricity. Plus, it might cause a slipping treadmill belt.
What Is The Best Treadmill Lubricant?
The generally recommended lubricants for treadmills are either petroleum free 100 percent silicone, or wax.
I must emphasize the importance of checking the manufacturer's recommendations for your particular machine. Using the wrong lubricant could negate your warranty and affect the machine’s performance.
WD40 and three in one oils that you use to lubricate car parts are not suitable for treadmill belts. They have petroleum distillates in them which will cause deterioration of moving parts, such as the motor.
Wax comes in granular, solid or powder form. Silicone is usually supplied as a liquid or spray. Whichever one you use the first time you lubricate your machine is the the one you should continue to use in future.
Silicone is recommended by many treadmill manufacturers to lubricate the belt on the machine. It is effective in reducing friction, allowing the walking belt to move smoothly.
How Often Should You Lubricate a Treadmill?
Most manufacturers recommend lubricating a treadmill about every three to six months. But if you use the machine on a daily basis, or if you are on the heavier side, it might need maintenance more often. This could be as much as once for every 30 or 40 hours of use.
The belt can also deteriorate when its not in use so remember to lubricate the machine if it is stored for a while. It might need to be done more often in warmer climates because the lubricating oils can dry out.
You might notice that it needs lubrication if you haven’t remembered to do it. It might start squeaking or making noises, or might not run as smoothly.
You can also check if your treadmill needs lubrication by lifting the belt and running your fingers over the deck. If your fingers feel a bit greasy, the belt is lubricated, if they are dry, it’s time to get the silicone or wax out.
How To Lube The Treadmill Belt?
I have explained why it’s important, so time to get to the nitty gritty: how to lubricate a treadmill.
To make it easier, have everything you need handy before you start. This includes your lubricant, a screwdriver,a clean cloth or sponge and some rubbing alcohol.
There are many different models and makes of treadmill, so make sure you read the manufacturer's instructions for lubricating your particular model.
- The first thing you must do for safety reasons is unplug the machine.
- If you can't lift the sides of the belt you might need to use a screwdriver to loosen the sides of the machine.
- Use a cloth to remove dust, dirt or debris. You don’t want this getting underneath the treadmill belt.
- Using your hands or the screwdriver carefully lift the side of the belt. Once it is raised, gently squirt or spray your lubricant from the center of the actual treadmill deck to the outside. Repeat this step on the other side of the treadmill to ensure the lubricant can reach the whole width of the deck.
- Be careful not to use too much lubricant; it’s better to apply it twice than to over lubricate. You also want to make sure you don’t get the lubricant on the top of the treadmill belt. This will make it slippery and could be dangerous, causing you to slip and fall.
- Use your rag or sponge, with a little rubbing alcohol if you have it, to clean any excess lubricant.
- Lower the belt back to the deck and tighten the screws if you had to loosen them.
- Plug your machine back in and turn it on. Walking on the treadmill at a low speed of about 1 mph for roughly five minutes will spread the lubricant over the whole of the deck.
You should check the deck after about three days to make sure all the lubricant has not been absorbed by the belt. It might need redoing.
If your treadmill folds, you might want to leave it a few days before folding it to make sure the lubricant doesn't drip onto your floors.
This YouTube video explains how to lubricate your treadmill:
I have given you the reasons why you should lubricate a treadmill and instructions on how to do it.
There are different lubricants available on the market, but check your manufacturer's instructions to make sure you use one suitable for your machine. The last thing you want to do is negate any warranty.
A treadmill is an investment in your fitness and health. Looking after it properly and lubricating it regularly will prolong its life.