By Simon Gould
There are so many advantages to owning a treadmill. Being able to exercise in your home at your convenience is just one of them. The only problem comes when they start to go wrong, which they can do. Some problems can be repaired by the owner while others may require professional help. A slowing down belt is something you may be able to solve yourself.
Whether your treadmill doesn’t go to the speed you input or, it slows down when you step on it, this is usually a belt problem. This will occur on older treadmills or if they haven’t been maintained. If you assembled the treadmill yourself or paid someone else to do it, there should be some Allen wrenches that came with it. Or you can buy a set in a store.
With these Allen wrenches you’ll be able to tighten the belt and loosen it. You’ll be able to center the belt if you see it’s off center which could be another reason for the problem. The belt may just need lubrication if it hasn’t been done for a while. This is something you can do yourself too and will save the cost of having a fitness equipment professional visiting you.
The last problem it could be will probably need expert help to solve. This is if there is a problem with the motor. If the motor is old or has a weak drive then you may need to call someone out. If you can solve it yourself because you have electrical experience then you can do more than I can! Do remember, the manufacturer can always be phoned if you need help.
Note – Always unplug the treadmill from the power outlet before undertaking any work.
Lubricating your treadmill – You can either buy the lubricant from the manufacturer, which is best. Or you can buy it elsewhere. Amazon* do a wide selection. They’re different from household lubricant because they’re silicone based. You loosen the belt using the Allen wrench that came with the treadmill or a screwdriver and apply the lube underneath.
When that’s done, tighten the belt again and run the treadmill at low speed for a few minutes with no weight on it. This will spread the lubricant across the entire belt. Further lubricating instructions can be found here:
Belt off center – If the belt is off center then it will slow as you step on it. The good news is this one is easy to fix. Using the Allen wrench or screwdriver, go to the back of the treadmill. Locate on both sides the screws that tighten and loosen the belt. When the belt is off then you tighten the opposite side. This will keep the belt in the center. There needs to be about 3 inches of give when you lift the belt with your hands.
Belt tension – This repair is similar to the off center solution. Access the same screws at the back of the deck. Tighten them both slowly if the belt is too loose. Do this gradually and check the 3 inches of give. The same goes if the belt is too tight. Then you would loosen both sides of the belt equally. Test the belt and deck once done and the treadmill should not be slow when stepped on anymore.
Motor – If you’ve done all of the above and your treadmill still slows down when you get on it. Then it could well be the motor is weak or worn. There’s no repairing this, the motor would need to be replaced. Always get one that is manufacturer approved. Some treadmill motors have 10+ year warranties so this is something you may want to check. This usually only covers defects though. The cost of a motor is around $300 with an additional $200 labor.
If you need professional help, then you need to call someone out. I don’t recommend one as I haven’t used any of them. But, with the right research, there are many out there who can help and are reliable. If you can solve the problem yourself, then all the better. Sometimes regular maintenance is all that’s required and can save you future issues like a slowing belt.
These are one of the pitfalls about owning your own treadmill. There are many benefits, that I think, outweigh the disadvantages. The other solution is to go to a gym or health club. That way, they are the ones who will repair and maintain the treadmills. You also have some nice facilities to use as well. But then the cost is the problem. Either way, a slowing treadmill needn’t stop you exercising as you normally do.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.