How To Destroy Your Elliptical in Three Easy Steps!
Having answered the questions for people on how to fix their ellipticals for over a decade I have seen just about every way that a person can misuse an elliptical to the point of destruction of the machine. Many of the ways that people treat their machines just boggle the mind. So instead of writing a blog post about how to avoid destroying your elliptical I decided to write a blog post on the most effective way to destroy your elliptical machine using the methods I have learned from actual users over the years. Yes you too can destroy your elliptical in three easy steps!
Step One: Don’t clean your elliptical or use the wrong materials to clean and lubricate it.
The easiest way to destroy your machine is to not clean it at all or to use the wrong materials to clean it. The best way to do this is to not clean it. During use the elliptical will suck up dust, dirt and carpet fibers into the braking system, bearing, bushings, electronics and can coat the wheels if your particular model has them. Bearings, bushings and braking systems love dirt and dust. Since they are constantly moving and need to have lubrication not to fail, the presence of dirt and dust will cause them to fail in spectacular fashion over time. Electronics love dust too. Coating dust on electronics can cause current to jump electrical connections, which will cause them to short and burn up. Wheel surfaces are supposed to have smooth surfaces to glide over. When you have dust and dirt they pit and soon pieces of the wheels are flying off.
If not cleaning is not fast enough for you to cause elliptical failure and you want to get it done more quickly, then just use the wrong lubricants and cleaning agents. WD-40 on the wheels will ruin them within a week and they will be completely flying apart within a month. It will help bushings fail in the same fashion. Remember that WD-40 is not a lubricant, it’s used to remove corrosion so its caustic. Simple Green is a cleaner used by a lot of clubs and gyms. It will corrode and discolor plastic when you don’t remove it quickly enough so when you decide to use it just spray and don’t wipe it up if you want to give your elliptical that rough finish. It will look like you just bought a 20 year old machine!
Step Two: Make sure the elliptical is on an un-level surface
Keeping the elliptical on an uneven surface or not making sure the leveling feet are properly positioned is another good way to prematurely cause your elliptical to fail. Ellipticals are constantly rotating while in use and they have linkages that connect pedals, arms and braking systems together. These linkages are designed to run in a linear fashion while in use without lateral tension being placed on them. When the machine is on an uneven surface or is rocking back and forth when the leveling feet are not properly adjusted, it places tremendous lateral force on the linkage joints, bushings and bearings. This will cut the lifespan of these components down 30% to 70% or more depending on the weight of the user and the amount of the lateral force being created due to the inbalance. While it still will take time to destroy the machine this way it is a sure fire way to get it done.
Step Three: Overspeed the elliptical while you are using it on low tension settings.
The most spectacular way, and most physically dangerous way to destroy your elliptical is to do what we call overspeeding the machine while you are on it without adjusting the machine tension up. Many times I have walked into a gym and have seen a person look like they are pumping the elliptical pedals as fast as they can move them with very little tension on the braking system. Ellipticals are not designed to work like this. You can certainly use them at a fast speed but not at what most people would consider a sprint. They have a braking system to make it harder to speed the pedals to get your heart rate up. Just going faster does very little for you but it does cause the linkages, braking system, bearings, and bushings to quickly fail. I’ve heard of sparks flying off of the electronics when the control system overloads due to use like this. The only problem with this method of killing your machine is if the pedal linkage fails while you are using it you may go flying off of the machine and impacting whatever is around you, causing serious injury.
To conclude, let's sum it up with two things: first- these are the most common ways that we have found to destroy your elliptical machine, and second- we hope you realize that this entire blog post is sarcastic in its' prose.