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How, Why, and Where to Lubricate an Elliptical

Many people don’t understand that elliptical machines, just like treadmills, need to be lubricated from time to time. Proper lubrication of the machine will reduce wear and increase the longevity and functionality of the machine and reduce the need for costly repairs. It will also reduce noise and jerks in the ellipse motion of the machine. One problem with ellipticals, unlike treadmills, is that the lubrication points are not always self evident and the types of lubricants are not as evident as well. We will discuss lubricating the different types of ellipticals, what to lubricate and what not to, and what types of lubricants should be used.

First let’s look at the different types of ellipticals. For lubrication purposes there are two types, those with ramps and wheels, and those without. If you have a ramp and wheel system on your elliptical, that is wheels and roll back and forth across a steel or aluminum ramp, you will need to lubricate this every 4 to 6 months with liquid silicone. Make sure that you clean the ramp before each lubrication with a dry, clean cloth. This will remove the dirt and dust that will certainly build up in the wheel channel on the ramp. If you leave the dirt, it will cause pitting in the wheels over time and cause the wheel to literally fall to pieces. Make sure that you don’t use WD-40 or any other caustic agent to lubricate the ramp and wheels. First they aren’t lubricants and second they will cause the wheels to fail quickly and also ruin the ramp in the process. Just remember that lubricating with WD-40 means an eventual minimum $500 repair to the elliptical.

For those ellipticals that don’t have a ramp and wheel system it is more difficult to determine the points for lubrication. Some will have wheels that roll over a steel bar which will have to be lubricated with liquid silicone. All of these machines will have bushings, mainly oil impregnated. These bushings don’t typically need lubrication regularly, however they do have a tendency to squeak at certain points in their lifecycle. When this happens, lithium grease will take care of the squeaking issues with them. Most ellipticals have sealed bearings in their rotation points. These bearings never need lubrication and don’t attempt to lubricate them. Breaking the seals on the bearings will ruin them. Some ellipticals use unsealed bearings. First, these ellipticals are cheap so lubricating these machines is really only prolonging the inevitable demise of the crappy machine so I recommend not greasing these bearings as well.

The final thing for elliptical maintenance that I recommend for people to do is not strictly a lubrication of the machine. All ellipticals have a large amount of Poly-V or A shaped belting inside of them. These belts will wear dry and crack over time. Applying belt dressing, available on our website and in hardware stores will increase the lifetime of the belts and prevent drying and squeaking of the belts. I hope this blog post will help you maintain your ellipticals and prevent many of the annoying problems people have with them due to improper or lack of lubrication.