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2 MILE-3200 METERS
Keep Your Treadmill Treading
By Rick Morris
Nobody wants to spend time maintaining their treadmill. It’s a lot more fun to run than to work. But that treadmill is an expensive piece of equipment. Your training runs put a lot of stress on the nuts, bolts, deck and belt. If you do not spend a short amount of time to properly maintain it you will shorten its life and my need expensive repairs.
Routine maintenance really does not take much time and the benefits are well worth the effort. In addition to routine maintenance, you will have to replace parts that wear out, such as the deck and belt.
Dirt and debris is a major cause of premature belt and deck wear. Clean between the belt and the deck once per week. Also clean the small exposed areas of the deck on each side of the belt. Dirt tends to accumulate in these areas. Wipe down the entire treadmill once per week. The outside surface of the belt can be cleaned with a damp sponge or cloth. Vacuum or wipe up the area around your treadmill at the same time. You should clean the motor area three or four times per year. Unplug the treadmill before removing the cover. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual for removing the cover. Carefully vacuum the dust and debris from around the motor.
Read and follow your owner’s manual for lubrication recommendations. Some treadmills do not require lubrication. In fact, unnecessary lubrication can cause damage. Many decks are made of materials that do not require lubrication or are pre-impregnated with wax. Lubricating these types of decks can actually increase the friction between the belt and deck, which can lead to motor damage. If your treadmill does require lubrication or waxing, follow the manufacturers guidelines.
Treadmill belts should run directly down the center of the deck. If your belt is wandering to one side or the other, it needs alignment. There are adjustment bolts at the rear of the machine, on each side. Make small adjustment of ¼ turn at one time. Again, check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Belt tension is pre-adjusted at the factory, however, new belts will stretch and require readjustment. If the belt is too loose, it will slip and cause excessive wear to both the belt and the deck. If the belt is too tight, it will cause wear to the rollers and to the motor. The belt should be set just tight enough so that is does not slip. With the belt running slowly, stomp your foot forcefully down and slightly forward on the belt. If you feel the belt slip, tighten both bolts ¼ turn. Again, follow your manual for instructions specific to your make and model.
There are two components in your treadmill, which will require periodic replacement – the belt and the deck. Check the condition of your belt every three months. Feel the underside of the belt. If it feels rough and worn, it may be time for a new belt. Continuing to run on a worn out belt will increase the wear on the deck. The deck will eventually wear out also, but if you replace your belt when necessary, you will increase the life of your deck.
Most of the treadmills made today use a computer controlled electronic console. This console is sensitive to power surges, just as your desktop computer is. You can protect this connecting your machine to a properly grounded AC outlet. If possible, connect your treadmill to a dedicated circuit.
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