So you’ve taken the initiative to purchase a treadmill so that you can work out in the comfort of your own home, congratulations! Whether you’re just wanting to stay in shape, shed some kilos or tone those muscles in time for summer, owning your own treadmill can be a significant financial investment – not to mention the wonders it will do for your health and wellbeing too. Whilst having a treadmill at home will help to avoid those costly gym memberships, it can be a financial burden if you don’t maintain it properly.
One of the most common causes of premature wear and tear is the accumulation of dirt that treadmills acquire. Quality treadmills are pricey, so there’s no use in investing in a great piece of equipment if you’re not going to keep it maintained. With basic regular cleaning and a few essential maintenance checks, your investment will function better for a lot longer. Don’t find yourself looking for a new treadmill after a breakdown because you haven’t spent the minimum amount of time taking care of it.
Here’s what you should be doing with your treadmill (other than running and walking on it!):
1. Understanding treadmill maintenance
Whether we like to admit it or not, treadmill maintenance is vital to the longevity and survival of your home’s new addition. For maximum results during your treadmill workouts and to get the most out of its functions, the piece of equipment needs to be maintained to a certain standard.
Most treadmill manufactures will recommend a yearly check-up by a professional technician to boost the lifespan of the machine, but there’s basic bits and pieces you can do yourself to keep it up and running smoothly. A well maintained treadmill will perform better and last longer; and its relatively simple and inexpensive to stay on top of.
2. Weekly clean up
Because dirt and debris builds up on and in your treadmill, it’s best to perform general cleaning duties on the equipment once a week. This will improve its performance too. To begin with, your treadmill should be placed on a specially designed treadmill mat to keep as much dust away from the machine as possible and help to protect its critical components.
Keep the treadmill clean by a weekly dust with a damp cloth. Using warm water with a mild detergent will be sufficient, or a cleaning spray on the cloth works well too. Be sure to tackle all the exposed parts of the deck, including the side rails, hand-bar / grip area and both sides of the walking belt. Keep liquid away from the inside of the frame and underneath the treadmill belt. The treadmill’s motor should also be cleaned but less regularly, around three times a year. Check the owner’s manual for detailed instructions on how to do this.
Safety tip: Make sure you unplug the treadmill from power prior to cleaning it in case any water leaks.
3. Belt lubrication
Some of the higher quality treadmills will have the ability to lubricate themselves, with special wax in its components to help keep things running smoothly. These are designed to work when you work (sounds great, doesn’t it!) and will automatically lubricate the rolling balls as you walk, jog and run on your treadmill. Your owner’s manual will provide information about whether your piece of equipment does this or not. For treadmills that don’t lubricate themselves, it’s essential the treadmill belt is lubricated at every three, six and twelve months on average. It doesn’t take long and it’s easy to do – so there’s really no excuse to stay on top of it!
A silicon wax spray is ideal to use and will reduce the amount of friction to the treadmill deck, rollers and motor. Without the required lubrication, the belt won’t ride over the rollers effectively. Because the belt is responsible for carrying you whilst you walk, jog and run on the machine it’s vital to have it in great working order. You’ll want to keep all rollers of the treadmill well lubricated too.
4. Belt alignment
Over time and general use, the tension of the running belt will loosen causing the treadmill to stop working efficiently and workout to be ineffective. You can check its alignment and adjust accordingly by lifting the middle of the belt on the side of the machine to determine whether it’s too loose or too tight. Centring screws will also be in place to help align the belt. If you can’t find where these are located, refer to the owner’s manual for advice.
When the belt is properly tensioned, you’ll be able to lift the side of the belt about 6-8cm or fit three fingers under its edge. If you’re using the treadmill and the belt stops during use (whilst the motor continues to run), this is a sure sign the belt alignment is too loose and needs to be tightened.
By performing routine maintenance to your treadmill, you’ll prevent your latest health investment from breaking down before its time and throwing that hard-earned money down the drain. Buying a treadmill for your home has many health and wellbeing benefits, but it’s important to make the most of your latest purchase by keeping it clean, well-sustained and serviced by a professional technician each year. Your wallet and your body will love you for it.
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