How to Oil a Treadmill: Your Guide to Proper Maintenance
Having a treadmill at home can be very beneficial for your personal fitness and health. It helps you remain active even in those days when you can’t squeeze in the time to go to the gym, or when the weather outside prevents you from jogging. However, the thing about home treadmills is that there is no gym staff that will clean and maintain it on a regular basis.
This task is now yours, and you need to be well aware when and how you should lubricate the treadmill, to avoid causing more damage than good. In this article, I will guide you through this process while providing you with all the important details and instructions.
What happens if you don’t lubricate the treadmill?
First, I need you to take this very seriously, and the best way to do that is to learn what can happen to your treadmill if you do not take care of it properly. Without lubrication, there will be friction between the deck and the belt and the motor will overwork.
This is not something that will happen all of the sudden. At first, you will notice your treadmill is much louder than it was when you bought it, and you will probably hear some squealing. Also, you will notice it is harder to move on the deck.
How often should you oil the treadmill?
Fortunately, treadmill maintenance is very basic and easy, and there is no need for daily or even monthly lubricating. This goes for all the types and models of the treadmill. Don't think the maintenance will be much easier if you buy an expensive model. In fact, you can find the best treadmill under $500 which will meet your fitness needs perfectly, and be easy to maintain.
Generally speaking, you should be oiling your treadmill every six months, but this also depends on the frequency of use. Still, it would be wisest to count the number of hours of use and not the days or months, because all of us have different fitness habits. On average, 180 hours of use is a rule of thumb when it comes to lubricating the treadmill.
How to choose treadmill oil?
You can't just choose any treadmill oil, just as much as you can't wear any shoes for running on the treadmill. You need the appropriate oil for the model you have, and you need the best shoes for the treadmill.
Usually, every lubricant for oiling the treadmill includes a synthetic, petroleum-free compound. These lubricants include silicone-based belt or paraffin wax-based lube. If your treadmill model has an incline function or a shock absorber, you may need to use a Teflon-based spray for the air shocks.
You had probably gotten a bottle of the appropriate oil when you bought the treadmill (unless if you have bought a used unit), and this bottle can last up to several years.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to avoid using any oil until you have verified the compatibility with the treadmill model you own. Using the wrong lubricant can cause serious damage to the motor, belt and other moving parts of the unit.
Silicone sprays and household oils should be avoided at any cost because they can cause deterioration of certain parts of the treadmill.
A step-by-step guide to oiling the treadmill
Your treadmill has served you well for about 180 hours, and it is time to lubricate it so that you can ensure it will continue to do so. Although it is rather simple, oiling of the treadmill needs to be taken seriously and done one step at a time. If you read the following guide, you will see how it is done correctly.
Things you will need:
- Treadmill oil that is approved by the manufacturer
- A cloth
- A hex key
Step 1: Turn off the treadmill, but don’t forget to unplug it from the wall, as well. You don’t want the machine to have any access to electricity.
Step 2: Locate the running deck of the treadmill and the belt. The belt is pretty easy to find, because it is the very surface that is moving while you are running, and the deck is underneath it.
Step 3: Use a hex key to loosen the bolts on the roller located on the back. These bolts control the belt’s tension, and they are located on both back sides of the treadmill. The bolts should be loosened enough for you to gain access to the running deck, but they shouldn’t be removed completely.
Step 4: Use a damp cloth to wipe the belt and the deck and remove any traces of dust and dirt that have been accumulated over time.
Step 5: Spray or pour about two ounces of the oil onto the deck of the treadmill, and spread it evenly.
Step 6: You’re almost done. Now, tighten the bolts to return the treadmill belt into its original position.
Step 7: Plug the treadmill in and turn it on again. Try to walk on it on a slow setting for about five minutes to ensure the oil is spread out evenly across the running deck.
Other treadmill maintenance tips
Of course, oiling the treadmill isn’t enough to achieve it working properly and for a long time. You need to maintain it in other ways, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Here are some bonus tips that will help you with that:
- Wipe the treadmill down after each use. This way you’ll keep it clean and prevent the moisture from the sweat to build up and cause rust.
- Pay attention to the sound the machine produce during each use. If you notice changes, react right away.
- Once a week check the belt and deck for any signs of wear.
- If you use the machine regularly, debris and dust can accumulate in the rear of the treadmill. You will solve this by vacuuming around the machine and underneath it once a week. When you are vacuuming, you need to unplug the treadmill.
- Each month check whether the bolts and the frame nuts to be sure they are properly tightened. If you use them regularly, they could get loose.
- Also, you should check whether the uprights that are attached to the console are secure.
When to call a professional?
Treadmill maintenance is, as I already mentioned, pretty simple, especially if you are comfortable with mechanics and electricity. However, if you think that you are in too deep, particularly if you see that there is a problem or if you have removed the motor cover, you may want to call a professional.
A professional will be able to spot some issues that you might have missed and had the equipment needed to fix them before they become a major problem.
A treadmill at home is a benefit, but also a responsibility. You need to take care of it on a daily basis, especially if you are using it regularly. Oiling is something you will do approximately every six months, and you need to be sure you are doing that the right way. Hopefully, this article has cleared everything you need to know about oiling the treadmill, and that from now on, you will have no problem in doing this on your own.