By Simon Gould
There’s nothing worse than having a treadmill for a while, you’ve been keenly exercising on it, then it starts stopping suddenly. Unfortunately, there could be a few reasons for this, it’s not always clear. When it happens you may see an error message on the console. I’ll go through some of the reasons here and how you can solve them to get your treadmill working again.
Reasons and solutions for a treadmill stopping suddenly
A treadmill can stop suddenly as a precaution to prevent itself from further possible damage. If the motor is too hot and overheating then the belt will not continue to turn. There are cases where a treadmill will slow to a stop when you step on it and the combination of these problems could lead to this diagnosis. This could happen on older treadmills that have had a lot of use.
If the motor is not powerful enough for what you’re doing on it. Like running on a 1.5 CHP motor, then it will overheat and the treadmill will stop. New motors cost around $300 and then about $200 in labor costs. For running, and if the whole family is using a treadmill, then the motor should be at least 2.5 CHP. This will help prevent any problems like the belt from stopping to occur.
Most of the time a reason the treadmill slows down or stops suddenly is there is a problem with the belt and or motor. If the belt is frayed, worn, or not straight then it won’t continue to turn as normal. In this case, the belt needs to be replaced and probably lubricated as well. Always have the treadmill at low speed when it’s being tested for these problems.
If you haven’t been maintaining your treadmill then the belt may just need lubricating. Lubrication helps reduce the friction between the belt and the deck. This can heat up and stop the treadmill from moving abruptly. Lubrication requires typically a silicone-based lubricant and I have made a page about how to lubricate a treadmill that will help you.
Don’t use a household lubricant like WD-40 to lubricate a treadmill belt. It could damage the belt and stop it from working permanently. The right lube only costs around $15 and usually has a special applicator to help. You should be lubricating the belt every 3 to 6 months. So if it’s something you’ve never done, the treadmill will struggle, slow down and eventually stop altogether.
If your treadmill has been maintained then there will be other reasons for your problem. Check the belt is not getting old and worn. Whether it’s been lubricated or not, a worn belt will cause a similar issue. It will stop to prevent itself from overheating. In this case, the belt needs to be replaced. I have made a page about how to tell if the treadmill belt is worn out.
What to do when it stops
Remember and write down what was happening when it stopped. This will help you diagnose the problem, and it’s something a repair technician might need to know. I recommend you perform a factory reset. How to do this should be in the owner’s manual, or this reset page shows you how to do it for 13 different brands of treadmills. Failing that, a quick search for the manufacturer on the web will help.
Write down any error message on the console. The owner’s manual should have a list of these error codes and what they mean. It could be an electrical issue in the console that stops it from understanding what the treadmill should be doing. The crucial thing to remember is when it stops. Is it when you step on it? Or is it when it’s been going for a period of time?
As well as lubricating the belt, check its tightness to the deck and if it’s centered or not. When you lift the belt from the deck with a hand, there should be around 3 inches of giving. If it’s too tight, this could stop the treadmill suddenly, especially when you put your weight on it. You can tighten, loosen and center the belt using the Allen wrench that came with the treadmill.
There are 2 bolts on the back of the treadmill. These tighten or loosen the left and right sides of the belt. Clockwise tightens it and anti-clockwise loosens it. It’s worth going through these diagnostics and possible solutions yourself before incurring the cost of a treadmill technician. He’ll charge you just for appearing on your doorstep.
Calling a fitness equipment repair technician
If you’ve tried the above to correct the problem and it still doesn’t work. Or if you’re not sure what the problem is, you’ll need an expert to fix it. A treadmill engineer can properly diagnose the problem and get the very part that’s needed. If you have an old treadmill, think about whether the cost of repairing is worth it. It may be more cost-effective in the long run to buy a new one.
If you do call an engineer to fix the problem, perhaps it might be an idea to get your treadmill serviced while he’s there. Otherwise, regular maintenance can be done and I have a thorough page that will help you with treadmill maintenance. There are procedures you can do weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, and more. It’s a lot of work but you do pay a lot for your treadmill so it might be worth doing what you can.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*