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When Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Your Treadmill?

Just like when you have a car, at some point there comes a time when keeping your old treadmill doesn’t make financial sense. Even when you have come to love your old trustworthy machine, there comes a time when enough is enough. It is harder for some people because they have a treadmill that was made at a time when manufacturers still made compact units. For instance, if you have a 25 year old Pacemaster 870x, you won’t be able to find a quality machine that takes up as little space as your old machine.

I just had to do the same with my 14 year old car. Even though the interior was wearing through in places, I had kept the mechanical and exterior in pristine condition so although it is still running good, parts are starting to wear out that are getting expensive to replace. Even though I am rather fond of that car, it became time to get a new (used) one.

If you are at that point, this article is designed to give you some guidance. When do you know it is time to replace depends upon a number of factors but some are easier to decide than others:

  • Parts are no longer available- This happens from time to time but even if you run into a machine where the factory no longer makes the parts, companies like ours can still machine custom parts. We had a customer who had a 30 year old True treadmill last year and we were able to custom manufacture a rear roller for his beloved machine even though the factory stopped making the roller years ago. Typically motors, rollers, belts, decks, and the same kind of mechanical parts can be manufactured on a custom basis. Some electronics can be repaired but typically plastics and electronics are the dead ends that we see.

  • It’s too expensive to repair- This is a common issue where a replacement motor might cost $500 and the original machine only cost $999. You figure why spend $500 on a new motor when you can spend $1000 and get a new machine that has more features and better components. Many times, people don’t realize that the old motor can be repaired much cheaper than buying a new one so if you love the machine, there may be an option. The exception is some of the very cheap machines use motors so poorly made that they cannot be rebuilt. If the motor looks like it belongs in a blender, you cannot rebuild it.

  • You never liked the machine anyway- some people use a breakdown as an excuse to get a new one. If your wife doesn’t want you to buy a new one, use point #1 or #2 as your reason with your wife to get a new machine.

  • The repair is very difficult- There are some times where the repair is so extensive that the labor costs along with the parts cost might make the repair cost prohibitive. Some of the old class Lifefitness commercial treadmills required that you essentially disassemble the entire machine to replace the belt and deck. Even for the most seasoned repair professional, these repairs can take hours. When you add that to the cost of a new belt and deck, it might not make sense to repair.

  • You might have a recalled machine- A number of machines over the years have been recalled by the manufacturer in conjunction with the CPSC. There has been four major recalls of treadmills this year alone. If the recall was due to a dangerous condition, it might not make sense to repair an issue that has an inherent design flaw. You also might be able to negotiate a replacement with the manufacturer if you have a recalled treadmill. Check the CPSC website and search for treadmills at www.cpsc.gov

If you love your machine, there may be a way to save it but at some point, all machines become so expensive to repair that you might as well get a new one unless you just have money to burn. Custom parts can be made for most machines and many parts can be repaired but at some point, it is time to send the old machine to the landfill.