If you have a home gym, one of your most valuable --- and most frequently used --- pieces of equipment is your treadmill. Many people use them every day, and this wear and tear on your treadmill can take its toll. Repairs can be expensive and cost up to $120 an hour for a treadmill repairman to come to your home. To save money, consider doing some repairs on your own.
Tools You'll Need
Here's what you will need to work on your treadmill: a vacuum cleaner with a hose, screwdrivers (both Phillips and flat-head) and Allen wrenches (L-shaped wrenches), a variety of sockets, a grease gun, white lithium grease, silicone spray or gel, and rags for cleaning grease from your treadmill.
The treadmill is not a complicated piece of equipment and you should be able to do some of the repairs and all of the maintenance yourself. Start by reading your user's manual and visit the manufacturer's website and other independent sources for information about your particular piece of equipment. But make sure that you go through the manual for maintenance and also check out the ways you can repair your treadmill from other online sources.
Begin by removing the cover surrounding the motor. You may need to unscrew up to 12 screws depending upon the type of treadmill you have. Vacuum away any dust that has accumulated on the motor and drive mechanism. If you can't reach some of the dust, use a small brush or cloth.
Now check the grease fittings in the drive mechanism. They look like a eraser with a small hole. Use a grease gun with white lithium grease to lubricate these fittings. Use more than less grease, there's no harm in doing this and you'll be sure you've done a thorough job.
Hopefully by keeping the motor of your treadmill clean and free of dust it will last for many years. You should be able to get three years out of a motor that you've used every day. But if your treadmill begins to make noises, then you will probably need to change out the motor. It is important that you do not try to repair the motor on your own. This is something only a specialist should do. And don't take the motor to your auto mechanic. Treadmill motors are not the same as automobile motor.
If your treadmill is still under warranty, call the manufacturer and have a certified repairman tackle this problem. If it is not, you will probably need to replace the motor. This can be costly. So ask the manufacturer if they have any refurbished motors you can purchase.
The Drive and Walking Belts
Check the belts inside your treadmill from time to time. If they are worn out, or appear to have small cuts, you'll need to replace them.
The walking belt takes a lot of abuse so it's important to keep it in working order and aligned properly. If it looks like it is very worn you might be able to flip it over. Some models are designed so you can turn over the walking belt and use the other side. If not, you'll need to replace the walking belt. When you do so, wipe down the deck and underside of the belt and lubricate the walking deck using silicone spray or gel. After the belt is in place, tighten the screws that hold the walking deck to the machine.
Now you'll need to check the tension of the walking belt. Try walking on it so you can adjust it per your particular need. You will need an Allen wrench (L-shaped wrench) to adjust the alignment. Most manufacturers provide the specific-sized the wrench when you purchase the treadmill, along with instructions. The belt adjustment screws are located at the back of the treadmill. The belt should be running at a low speed while you're making the adjustment (about three miles per hour). Turn the wrench in a clockwise direction to tighten the screws ensuring that they are tightened to the same degree so the belt does not slide from side to side. Replace the cover on your treadmill before you use it.
You can extend the life of your treadmill and its parts with regular maintenance.
Be sure to keep it clean. Dust and dirt can cause damage to the belts, sensors and motor. Dust the outside of your treadmill each day with a slightly damp rage and once a week dust the belt and the space in between the deck with a dry rag.
You shouldn't have to lubricate the treadmill very often. Follow your manufacturer's instructions for information on when this is necessary.
Regularly check the tension on the walking belt. Make sure it's not too tight or too loose as this wear the belt. Make sure the belt is properly aligned and follow the manufacturer's instructions for aligning the belt.
Only plug your treadmill into an AC wall outlet with a power surge protector. This way you will avoid damage from power surges to the sensitive electronic components.
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