By Simon Gould
The fact that treadmills can self diagnose their faults is fantastic for anyone who has a treadmill. They do this using error codes which can be translated using the owners manual. Some faults can be quite simple to solve and others less so. Some treadmills will even spell out what is wrong on the console meaning you don’t need to use an error code.
What the codes look like
This usually depends on the age of the treadmill. Those with old fashioned consoles like dot matrix or LCD displays will often show a simple capital “E” followed by a number. So if it detects something is wrong you’ll see something like E1 or E2 displayed on the console. Often the treadmill will stop working until this issue is rectified.
The fact that the treadmill may not work with an error code may be annoying but it maybe necessary to prevent the unit being damaged or danger occurring. Sometimes it could be that the belt needs lubing or there could be something wrong with the motor. The “E” number will signify what the problem is and then you can work out what to do to get it working again.
Modern treadmills tend to have full screens like computer monitors and you will not find simple codes on these. Rather you’ll be told the exact fault on the screen and the manual will tell you how to solve it. Unfortunately for many problems a fitness equipment repair technician may be required which will incur a cost so check if your treadmill is under warranty.
There is no industry standard
An E1 or E01 error code on one brand of treadmill may be a totally different problem on another. On one there maybe an incline motor issue while on another it could be a console issue. Industries often have standards when there are safety concerns but with treadmills the makers have never got together to standardize the error codes.
This is why it is so important to keep the owners manual of your treadmill. Even if you can only find it online you should print it out as you don’t know how long it will remain online for. As models become obsolete, brands will often delete the manual from their website. Treadmills can last up to 12 years if they’re well looked after and the manual will help you do that.
What to do if you see a treadmill error code
If the manual is nowhere to be found and you’re not sure of what the problem could be, I would advise you turn off the treadmill for 5 minutes and turn it back on. In old treadmills this can often rectify the problem, it could be the unit thinks there is a problem and there isn’t. This will solve many problems and is always worth trying first.
If you’ve solved the problem and the error code is still showing and you’ve turned the unit off and on, then you have a further problem. This can happen where the treadmill doesn’t realize the problem is not there anymore and I get emails from people this has happened to. If the problem was belt lubrication then I would advise you lube the belt once more. Try doing a factory reset.
Always get in touch with the manufacturer about any codes you don’t understand or can’t translate. Every treadmill maker I’ve ever contacted has been more than happy to help by phone or email a customer of theirs, whether the treadmill is under warranty or not. Some problems will require further investigation from an expert.
Before calling a professional out consider the treadmill’s age and whether it’s worth fixing the problem or buying a new one. You may be able to get an estimate by email or phone for parts and labor for the problem to be fixed. I did get an email from someone whose treadmill was over 25 years old and they were considering replacing the treadmill rather than pay for a repair.
Choosing a treadmill repair company
I have no affiliation with or endorse any particular fitness equipment repair company. There are companies that operate nationwide and these will often charge a commission to a local company to do the work. It will often be cheaper to go to the local company directly. Always email these companies with the problem or error code and brand to see if they can display some expertise to you.
Always check the warranty. I say this because while labor may only be a year or two, some motors and frames have 10 or 15 year warranties. Check this and the terms and conditions of the warranty. Often normal wear and tear will not be covered, only manufacture’s defects or product failures can be taken care of. Always get further details when considering a repair company.
It’s good that a treadmill will tell you what the problem is, rather than not work at all with no reason why. It’s just a case of identifying the problem it’s trying to tell us about. As there’s no industry standard it makes it more difficult. Even experts will often have difficulty diagnosing the issue. Fortunately modern treadmills are becoming better at self diagnosing.
So in summary, keep the owners manual or print it if you see it online. Regularly maintain your treadmill and you’ll see error codes less often, plus it will last longer. If you’re using your treadmill and an error code appears, try and remember what you were doing right before, in case a repair person needs to know. Hopefully it’s something simple and you can be exercising again soon.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*