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How To Maintain Your New Treadmill – 10 Easy Tips To Keep It Running Smoothly

how to maintain your treadmill

Purchasing a new treadmill can be an exciting (and sometimes exhausting) process. You’ve done your homework, you’ve read the reviews, and you’ve made your decision. Congrats, you’re now on your way to enjoying all the benefits that going with owning a treadmill!

But now that you have your new treadmill, you want to make sure that it continues to run smoothly for years to come.

If this is your first home treadmill, you might not be aware that it takes a little work to keep these things going. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be too mechanically inclined to maintain your own treadmill.

These 10 easy tips will help you keep your new treadmill clean and running smoothly for the life of the machine.

How To Maintain Your New Treadmill

#1 Set Your Treadmill On A Level Surface

This is the easiest and most obvious way you can keep your treadmill running smoothly. It’s important to make sure the floor you’re placing your treadmill on is level in order for the belt to run evenly along the deck.

If your treadmill is placed on an uneven surface, the belt will most likely break down faster than it otherwise would. It could also lead to the belt sliding to one side vs the other instead of running straight down the middle of the deck.

If you plan on putting your treadmill in a garage or attic where the floor might not be completely level, you should still be able to level the machine by using the adjustable leveling feet on the bottom of the deck.

#2 Wipe Down Machine (After Each Use)

This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people I’ve seen in the gym use a treadmill and just hop off it without wiping it down. Not only is this gross for the next user, but it can lead to unnecessary corrosion of the frame and belt.

If this reminds you of all the times you were guilty of not cleaning after yourself at the local gym, don’t worry- I’m not here to judge.

But now that you have your own treadmill, you want it to look good and last as long as possible, so it’s time to start wiping down any area of the machine that gets sweat on it after every use.

It’s a good idea to clean the console weekly too. Don’t use any fancy detergents, a wet cloth will do just fine.

#3 Clean Under Belt (Monthly)

It’s also a good idea to clean the area between the deck and the belt. After all, this is probably the part of the treadmill that is most susceptible to wear and tear.

Dust and dirt can accumulate under the belt with time. As this happens, it can lead to faster belt breakdown.

A damp cloth or vacuum attachment can be used to get unwanted debris out of the way.

It’s also probably a good idea to keep the floor around and underneath your treadmill clean. While you’re cleaning under your belt, you might as well go ahead and vacuum the floor around it.

#4 Clean Around Motor (Monthly)

I’m a realistic guy, I know this one might be a little harder to remember to do every month. But worst case, try to clean the motor area at least every quarter (3 months).

It’s a good idea to pop the hood off the treadmill motor and vacuum around it to get any dust or debris out of there. This will help keep your motor running at max efficiency.

Your user manual might have specific guidelines for doing this (like using a dry cloth instead of a vacuum). When in doubt, go by your manual’s instructions- the last thing you want to do is void the warranty by doing the wrong kind of maintenance.

P.S.- please make sure you unplug your treadmill before cleaning around the motor

#5 Lubricate Belt (As Needed)

Some home treadmills require belt lubrication, others have “self lubricating belts” and don’t. Consult your user manual to determine whether or not you have to lubricate your belt.

Budget treadmills usually require the belt to be lubricated every few months or so, depending on how much use it’s getting.

Most belts require a 100% silicone lubricant. It’s critical to use the right type of lubrication to ensure you don’t completely screw up your belt.

Most treadmill lubricants come as a spray or a liquid and are easily applied directly under the side of the belt- but again, consult your user manual for specifics.

#6 Tighten Belt (As Needed)

Even though most self-respecting treadmills come with belt tension already adjusted, with repeated use, it’s likely the belt will start to loosen.

This is just part of keeping up a treadmill. As the belt gradually stretches, its tension on the deck will decrease. You’ll be able to feel this, as it will feel like the belt is moving too much on the deck- it can make using the treadmill feel awkward, like you’re slipping around too much.

There are usually two bolts at the end of the treadmill deck you can tighten to adjust the tension of the belt. Consult your user manual for guidance.

#7 Adjust Belt (As Needed)

This one goes along with tip #6. When running perfectly, the belt should be centered on the deck. Sometimes as the belt loosens, it may get off centered and glide closer to one side or the other.

I mentioned that this can also happen if the treadmill isn’t centered on the ground.

If you notice this, you should immediately center the belt to reduce chances of accidentally wearing down the belt asymmetrically.

You will use the same bolts mentioned in above to do this. In order to center to the right, you will want to tighten the right bolt. To center to the left, tighten the left bolt.

Your user manual should have specific directions for doing this. Again, make sure you follow their directions to ensure you don’t mess up your warranty.

#8 Replace Belt (As Needed)

Even with proper cleaning and lubricating, if you have your treadmill long enough, you will eventually have to replace the belt. Depending on how handy you are and how good you are at following directions, you may be able to do this yourself.

When in doubt, pay for a professional.

Keep in mind, depending on the quality of your treadmill, your belt should be under warranty for the first few years.

If not, purchasing a new belt might cost ya around $200. As long as your motor and deck are still holding up fine, it’ll probably make sense to invest in a new belt instead of going all in for a new treadmill.

#9 Use A Surge Protector

In order to protect the electronics of the treadmill (which is essential to its function, unless you’re using a manual treadmill), it’s a good idea to plug it into a surge protector to protect it from any unexpected power surges.

Some people also recommend keeping your machine unplugged when not in use. This might save you a tiny amount on your power bill, but isn’t necessary as long as you’re using a quality surge protector.

#10 Use A Treadmill Mat

This one isn’t crucial, but I like even numbers, so here we go. Placing your treadmill on a mat can help protect your floor from unwanted damage. It might also help decrease how often you have to vacuum under your treadmill.

I think it also gives your machine a nice, finished look. Always gotta keep it classy.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’ve just purchased your first treadmill or you’re trying to keep your 5 year old treadmill running strong, it’s important to have a plan in place when it comes to regular maintenance.

These 10 tips will get you started off in the right direction. But when in doubt, always consult your user’s manual to make sure you are doing exactly what the manufacturer recommends.

Especially when it comes to maintaining your belt.



Will's a licensed physical therapist (DPT) with over 15 years of experience treating patients from all backgrounds. He's been lifting weights and exercising in one form or another since middle school and has been working out in his own home gym for over a decade. When it comes to fitness equipment, there isn't much he hasn't tried. In his spare time, if he isn't writing or working out, he's likely playing basketball, watching movies, or hanging with his family.

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