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Wear and Your Treadmill or Elliptical

Many of us here at Treadmill Doctor are very familiar with working on cars. In fact, one of the members on staff used to work as a diesel mechanic and another was a service technician at one of the major automotive brand dealerships. Being very familiar with cars gives you some excellent experience to work on treadmills and ellipticals.

For instance, when you work on a car, you really pay attention to joints, bearings, bushings, belts, hoses, pads, and the like. If you have something that is really worn down, not only can that part fail and create real problems, but it can also put extra stress and wear on other parts that may or may not be wear parts themselves.

One of the things I was taught when working on cars was that if you are in doubt, go ahead and replace a wear part because it always is far better to be replacing too soon rather than too late. You can get crazy with this idea but on the whole, I would rather be a bit aggressive on replacing parts that can really get you in trouble.

The same is true on treadmills or ellipticals. Certain parts must be replaced on a regular basis with regular use or you are just asking for trouble. How soon should they be replaced? That can vary widely depending upon the grade of treadmill or elliptical (how many hours of use can it is designed to handle a day), the amount of use it actually gets per day, the maintenance schedule, the type of conditions in which the machine resides, and the type of use it gets.

For an example, let’s pick a $1000 elliptical. Assuming that it gets about an hour of use, 5 days a week and is housed in a climate controlled home resting on an equipment mat, you will need to maintain the unit by keeping it clean and lubricating the bushings at the major joints about once every 3 months if you want an aggressive maintenance schedule. When you clean and lubricate, inspect the bolts to make sure everything is tight, check the wear on the drive belt, wear on the wheels (if equipped), and the rail covers (if equipped). Other than parts like grips and the like, there is nothing else to do.

If kept clean and lubricated, you shouldn’t have to replace wear parts until about 3 years for the wheels and we suggest replacing the covers with the wheels (if equipped). The drive belt most likely won’t need replacement for 5-7 years. Other than that, unless you prefer to replace more cosmetic items like grips, that’s about all you have to do.

You can see how easy this is to do. I’ve gone to a very aggressive maintenance schedule on many other things in my house too like mechanical systems, appliances, and even my pool. Before I went to this system, I would regularly have big unexpected expenses and although I haven’t eliminated those completely, it is very rare for me to have that type of thing pop up in my house now.