So, you've spent the weeks you needed to research, try out, choose and purchase your brand new treadmill. You've gotten it assembled and begun your daily workouts...so what now? Well, even the highest end commercial treadmills need a bit of love and affection to keep them purring like a kitten. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to keep your treadmill in tip top shape.
The first thing you are going to want to do is get a good treadmill mat to go underneath your unit. Despite what you think, a treadmill mat isn't as much for protecting your floor as for protecting your treadmill. You see, a treadmill's motor builds up a huge static charge as you work out. The charge will suck dust, lint and debris into your motor, causing it to clog and run inefficiently. The more gunk in your motor the worse it will run and the shorter its lifespan will be. Sliding a nice treadmill mat underneath your equipment will help reduce that static and the amount of stuff getting sucked up in it. As a bonus, you'll also be protecting your floor and carpet. Watch out for cheap mats, tho. If you pick up a budget treadmill mat you run the risk of having it stain your hardwood floor or stick to your carpet. Supermat is a great brand of treadmill mat and can be purchased for as low as $35.
Sticking with dust and dirt, make sure to dust/clean your treadmill once every other week. Take special care with the belt area as any build up should be cleaned off right away or you'll risk reduced performance.
I know it's going to sound over obvious, but make sure to keep your power cord well away from the base of the unit and the incline mechanism. You have no idea how many cords we end up replacing on our service calls.
If you find your belt slipping, it may be because the belt tracking is off. You can adjust your tracking the same way you make sure the belt is properly aligned, with the alignment screws at the rear of your treadmill. An allen wrench is all you need. A quick quarter clockwise turn should tighten everything back up. Make sure never to turn either side more than a quarter turn at any given time because you the adjustments levels are very fine. Keeping your belt aligned will reduce the load on you treadbelt and belt guides. Check out your owner's manual for more information.
A lot of times the cause of miss aligned on a treadbelt is from the unit not being level. Make sure to get your treadmill level.
Unless specifically isntructed by your owner's manual, do not use silicone or oils to lubricate your treadmill's deck. A clean, dry, dust-free bed and belt combination is ideal for a long-lasting treadmill. If your manual recommends the use of a silicone spray for lubrication, make sure to precisely follow application and scheduling instructions. Some treadmill decks may require initial waxing to help reduce friction with the belt. Do not wax a deck unless recommended by the manufacturer. Lubrication to pretreated wax decks may interfere with the wax.
The lowest level of friction between your belt and deck is desired. If the amount of friction is too high, you'll end up with damage and wear to both your motor and your year. The best way to judge a low friction belt is that it will slide when the power is off and you can manually walk the belt when the treadmill is powered down. Improper lubrication can lead to overworking your motor.
One of the main problems on most treadmills (home and commercial) is in the control board. As with any computer, the treadmill's control board is subject to power surges, improper grounding and so on. The best way to protect your treadmill's computer brain is to unplug it when not in use and use a grounded plug when powered on.
Read your user's manual. I know, I know..."who really reads those darn things?" Well, you should. Just about everything you need to know will be found in that little book that came with your treadmill. Pop it open while you're in the bathroom for a good read.
Never operate your treadmill while wet. Bad idea for so many reasons.
Last but not least, if you are having trouble with your treadmill and need it fixed...then call the Treadmill Sensei! That's what we do! (Ok, so it's a shameless plug...but it's my website so nyah).
Anyway, a few simple steps and you'll be able to take care of your treadmill so it can continue to help take care of you for years to come
-The Treadmill Sensei