You’re at the gym, sweating away on the treadmill, and it starts to dawn on you that your old-school treadmill is getting a little frayed around the edges. Sure, it still works and you certainly don’t want to buy anything new until you know your fitness routine better. You might be in luck. Your treadmill could just need a little love and attention to keep it running smoothly as you make your way toward a fitter you. This anytime fitness blog post tells what you need to know while renovating your gym.
Check the Decking
The treadmill’s decking is the hard surface that underlies the running belt. This surface needs to be sturdy, flat, and slip-resistant, especially if you’re using your machine for high-impact activities like jumping jacks or squat thrusts. The decking can deteriorate from regular use—if your deck is soft, cracked, rotted or brittle, it’s time for an upgrade. If it’s covered too heavily in lubricant (sweat can do this), go ahead and clean it off with a rag dampened in water and dishwashing detergent. You’ll probably need to apply new lubricant after you’ve rinsed off the old stuff.
Inspect the Belt
The treadmill’s belt is what carries your weight and keeps it rolling smoothly as your feet pass over the tread. The belt can wear down over time, especially if it is made of soft material like VCT (vinyl composition tile). Replace the belt as soon as you notice that it’s worn or frayed, and keep an eye out for cracks. Look for cracks in the middle of the tread and at either end of the belt where it sits on its supports—which means near the front of the unit and under a small metal decking.
Make Sure Your Motor Is in Good Shape
Just like any other engine, your treadmill’s motor needs to be properly lubricated and get regular tune-ups in order to continue working smoothly. Most treadmills have a white, powdery coating of thermal paste on their motor heat sinks. If you see cracks or breaks in the thermal paste, this means the motor is overheating. You’ll probably need to replace the motor. Here’s what you need to do: Unplug your machine from its electrical outlet and let it cool down for at least 20 minutes. Make sure the power switch on your treadmill is set to the “off” position before you attempt any disassembly. You’ll need to remove a few screws to gain access to the motor. Loosen the bolts holding the motor to the frame, then remove it and set it on its side on a work surface. Look for cracks in the impeller shaft, and make sure each of its eight bearings has fresh grease.
Lubricate ALL moving parts
Watch our video now: To lubricate, apply grease to moving parts like pulleys and roller belts. As with your machine’s decking and motor, keep an eye out for signs of wear or cracks in any of these surfaces and replace them before they deteriorate any further.
Replace the Belt
This is a simple job, which you can do yourself. You’ll need: A belt, which will probably come with your treadmill (but check to be sure) A patching gun and adhesive, such as duct tape or Gorilla Tape. A bottle of lubricant like Formby’s Touch-Up Lubricant, available at hardware stores and online retailers. Screwdrivers that fit your torque rating (see below). To make sure your belts last a long time, give them enough grease the thicker the better. If you have an old belt, remove it and cut it in half so you can compare it to the new one. It’s easy once you get going: Start by removing the decking in front of the running belt. This will give you access to the tensioning assembly and permit a deeper cleaning of the treadmill base. The tensioning assembly is usually mounted to a plastic deck plate, held down by star-shaped locking nuts. Un-thread these nuts, loosen them about a quarter turn, then pull up on the adjustment shaft with a pair of snips or channel locks until it is free from its mounts. Then, lift off the deck plate with your hands or with a pair of pliers. The belt will be attached to the underside of the deck plate by its motor pulley. Pull the belt off and cut it in half with a pair of snips or channel locks. Use a clean piece of cardboard to wrap the replacement belt, then slip it around the shaft of the treadmill’s motor pulley. Position it so that you can locate its wheel key (which will match up with a notch in the wheel on your running surface). Slide the wheel onto its axle, and apply wood glue around every inch of both sides where they join together. Let this glue set, then set a weight on top of it overnight so that it dries and sets completely at least 10 hours or until hard all through. Once this is done, reinstall the deck plate and tensioning assembly. Plug in your treadmill again and turn it on. If you’re not sure how your machine’s belt drives work, check out this video:
You’ll have to find out what belt size is for your machine by checking with the manufacturer’s instructions. Look for the following measurements:
Motor Pulley Wheel Size inches mm 4 1/16 x 72 x 3 1/2″ 16 x 152 x 83
If you don’t have a replacement belt that will work properly with the motor pulley and wheel on your treadmill, be prepared to pay for new parts just like any other machine. You can find out what you need to buy at the manufacturer’s website under “Parts.” Then you can order the parts and follow directions for installation.
Replace the Decking
Lubricate ALL moving parts, including the decking. Keep an eye out for cracks on a daily basis. If there are any cracks that are over 1/4″ wide, replace your decking today with new material. It’s as simple as removing old decking and installing new ventilated decking (V-DECK). Visit www.treadmilldoctor.com for more information on V-DECK and other products.