Why Does My Treadmill Shake?
By Simon Gould
A home treadmill can get a lot of use and needs to be regularly maintained. Sometimes no matter how well you maintain and look after it some problems can begin to occur. If your treadmill starts shaking that is certainly worrying and not something you would expect. It's also something you need to deal with as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Reasons for the shake
A shaking treadmill can generate a lot of noise and cause vibrations which could affect the console. If the treadmill is new and it's on a concrete floor, then consider a good treadmill mat to put underneath it. This may counter some of the shaking if it's mild. If the treadmill is on a slight slope this can cause a slight shaking movement.
If this shake has developed over time after you have been using the treadmill. If it's not something you've experienced before then it's likely to be the belt causing the problem. Firstly, I would recommend lubricating the belt with proper treadmill lube, especially if it's due or not been done for a while. This will prepare the belt for what's to come.
It is likely the belt is the cause of the shake. If a belt is too tight around the rollers, it needs to be loosened. If the belt is too loose it needs to be tightened. If the belt is not centered this can cause a shake too and you will notice the belt drift to one side and then the treadmill starts shaking as you run on it.
Correcting the belt
There is one thing you should be able to do with the belt. With the treadmill turned off and unplugged, lift the belt of the deck with your hand in the middle and there should be 2 to 3 inches of give. To tighten or loosen the belt you need an Allen wrench. Ideally you'd have the one that came with the treadmill, if not, you can buy a set in a store and one will fit.
You tighten and loosen the belt in the bolts in the back of the treadmill on either side of the roller. You use the Allen wrench and turn the bolt clockwise a short quarter turn, you do this on both sides to tighten the belt equally. If the shaking still occurs then turn it a little more. Test the tightness of the belt by picking up the belt of the deck as said before.
If you need to loosen the belt then turn the bolts counter clockwise. To center the belt turn the side of the roller to which ever side the belt is drifting to. I've said lubricate the belt before you do any of this because the belt needs to be frictionless as possible over the deck. Otherwise this may cause some shakes as your stride goes on the treadmill.
If you've tried all this and the treadmill still shakes, jolts or jerks. Then I would recommend not using it until a professional has seen it. Call an expert who's repaired a lot of fitness equipment and they should be able to diagnose the problem. Hopefully it is something that can be repaired and you don't need a new one!
Remember, if the treadmill is under warranty then contact the manufacturer. Regularly maintain your treadmill may help prevent this occurring but it could just happen anyway. Fortunately, the most common problem with the belt is easily fixable and you'll be back on your treadmill in no time.