By Simon Gould
Despite all the moving you’re doing on top of the treadmill, when you run the machine itself should not be moving. This includes any jerking, it should stay where it is. This is usually because the running belt is loose or not centered and is easily fixed. This is something you should be able to do yourself. Here I tell you how to fix it and stop the jerking from happening.
The running belt is usually the cause
The running belt is the component that moves the fastest and most violent. With our weight on it the treadmill may move with every stride. This will happen if it’s off center or loose. Over time these problems can happen if it’s not well maintained. When lubricating the belt periodically, you’ll need to check the tightness of the belt.
The fix will require an Allen wrench. Hopefully you kept the one that came with the treadmill from installation. If not, or you bought the treadmill second hand, you can buy Allen wrenches cheaply. Get a selection so you have one that is the right size. Most treadmills are built similarly, but check with the manual to ensure any maintenance or work you do is right for that model.
4 Steps To fix the running belt
Here I’ll tell you how to center the belt and fix a loose belt. These are usually the cause of the jerking.
Nearly every treadmill has belt adjustment bolts at the rear on each side of the belt. We’re going to be tightening these because the belt may be loose which causes the jerking. There should be 2 to 3 inches of give in the belt when you slide your hand between it and the deck.
Set the treadmill at a slow 2 mph so you can see the belt responding to what you’re doing. Using the Allen wrench turn each side clockwise a quarter of a turn. You must do both sides otherwise the belt will be off center. Keep tightening or loosening the bolts until you get the 2 to 3 inches of give.
Get on the treadmill to see if the jerking motion still occurs. If it does the belt might not be centered. So get off the treadmill and keep it at it’s slow speed. Now using only the left bolt, loosen or tighten it until you can visibly see that the belt is centered as it goes round the deck.
Now get on the treadmill and do exactly what you were doing to cause the treadmill to jerk in the first place. As long as you’re using it normally the problem should have stopped. If it has keep an eye on it in the future to stop it happening again. It might be something you need to do periodically with your machine.
What if the treadmill keeps jerking?
This is when you probably need a professional treadmill technician. The motor itself could be lose and when it’s turning it’s causing the treadmill to move. The motor is the only other component that is moving about violently. The movement will likely be accompanied by loud noises. You need to think about the safety aspects and the risk of fire.
The floor surface can have a big influence on how much and far the treadmill moves. If it’s on a cement floor in a garage, it may move more than on a carpet. A smooth surface will also make a moving treadmill more likely. To correct this a special mat and vibration pads will help. These introduce some friction between the contact points and the floor.
Check if the treadmill is still under warranty and call the manufacturer. Do some research to see if this is a common problem with other owners and what they’ve done about it. I recommend you stop using the treadmill until a professional can come and see what’s wrong. But hopefully the steps above have solved the problem, they usually do.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*