After each use…
The idea of regularly wiping down your treadmill may seem like a bit of a chore, but it’s a really quick and important practice that can greatly extend the life of your machine. A build up of dust and perspiration can be hazardous to the health of your treadmill (as well as unhygienic for you!) but it’s nothing that a quick once over with clean, dry cloth won’t fix!
If you’ve been working out hard, it’s even more crucial that you wipe away any perspiration on the handrails, grips and deck. Obviously electronics and sweat don’t mix so pay special attention to the console display. Not only will this quick wipe over prevent the buildup of bacteria and corrosion of your machine, it’ll also be a lot more pleasant for the next user!
Once a week, it’s important to remove any dust, dirt and perspiration from the surface and electronic display using a damp, clean cloth (Do NOT use cleaners with alcohol, ammonia or other damaging chemicals. Never spray or pour any liquid directly on the treadmill.)
With regular use, it’s perfectly normal to notice dirt and debris accumulate at the rear of the treadmill. The main culprit is dirt from the soles of your training shoes so it’s nothing to be concerned about, but it is important to regularly whizz round with the vacuum to stop it getting into the inner workings of the machine.
Many home treadmills have a folding mechanism so you’ll be able to get right under the machine with a vacuum attachment once a week. If you’ve got pets then it may be wise to do this a bit more frequently to prevent a build up of pet hair too.
Under the hood...
Two or three times a year, it’s a good idea to vacuum and dust the inside of the motor compartment. Before removing the motor hood cover, please TURN OFF and unplug your treadmill and let it sit for at least 10 minutes to prevent yourself from becoming electrocuted! Be very careful not to touch the delicate electrical components with the vacuum attachment and if you are restricted by space, you can very lightly dust with a dry clean lint-free cloth (avoid water, furniture polish etc!) Replace the motor hood cover (replace and tighten screws as instructed in the manual) and plug your treadmill back in, ready for action.
When you first purchase your treadmill, be aware that the running belt will take a few workouts to ‘wear in’. It is perfectly normal for the belt to make a slight ‘thudding’ noise as the join in the belt travels over the rollers but this soon subsides as the belt wears in. As it does, the belt may initially stretch slightly so it’s recommended that you check it regularly in the beginning to see if it needs tightening. It only needs to be just tight enough to prevent the belt from slipping and checking it is a simple task: Get the motor running at a slow and safe pace and stomp your foot down forcefully on the belt; if the belt slips, you simply need need to slightly tighten the bolts at the rear of the machine . Always consult the operating manual for the belt tracking instructions but typically this will only involve a small ¼ turn of the screws. This procedure won’t have to be repeated very often and hardly ever after the first few months of use.
You also need to make sure that the belt is aligned to be running relatively cantered and straight without rubbing on the edges of the frame or motor cover. Once again, have a look at the instructions in your manual at how to make the adjustment at the rear of the treadmill. Any adjustments necessary, usually only involve getting the belt moving at a slow pace and giving a quarter turn of the screws until it’s running in line. Remember that uneven floors can also affect the alignment of the belt so always ensure the machine is sitting on a level, flat stable surface (and preferably on a treadmill mat).
Depending on the model and how much use your machine is enduring, lubrication is an important consideration. Maintenance requirements vary greatly from machine to machine, so it’s essential that you consult the treadmill’s operating manual for specific information of how and where to lubricate your machine. One thing is for certain - WD-40 is NOT the correct lube for any treadmill and should not be used under any circumstances!
Even if your machine has been marketed as being ‘Pre-waxed or Pre-lubricated’ the chances are that the pre-lubricant application may not last forever and, if left to degrade or dry out, the excessive friction caused between the belt and the deck surface will result in undue wear of the deck and belt. The friction also often causes “amp draw” which can result in serious damage to the Motor Control Board or worse still, complete Motor failure.
The vibrations caused by regular use can sometimes cause nuts and screws to work loose around the frame and console. We always recommend keeping the assembly tools that came with your machine, close to hand and perform a monthly check to ensure that all fixings are fully tightened.
Treadmill mats are an inexpensive and effective way to minimize the amount of carpet fibres, dirt, dust and pet hairs from entering the motor compartment. In addition they serve to protect the flooring underneath the machine and reduce vibrations and noise.
Keep it Warm!
If you’re treadmill is going to live in a garage or outdoor building it is important to prevent the machine and electronics from getting too cold and damp. Cold temperatures can cause the running belt to harden and crack and exposure to damp can quickly damage the fragile electrical components and LCD screens of fitness equipment. To prevent this, you can either leave a heater on a low setting to take the ‘chill off’ (making the environment much less inviting for the user too!) or a cheaper alternative is to cover the console with a blanket when not in use. Covering the entire treadmill with a plastic sheet is also a good idea to prevent damp and dust from collecting on the machine. When it’s time for a workout, turn the treadmill on and let it ‘warm up’ for 10 minutes before starting your session. Plus, if you’re going to store your machine in this way, be sure to treat it to a treadmill mat to sit on :)