How to Lubricate a Treadmill – Step by Step Instructions

by Kevin Lee

January 10, 2020

How to Lubricate a Treadmill

If you love running in the great outdoors, but just can’t seem to get away, don’t despair for help is at hand: use a treadmill. Not sure if it’s for you? Don’t worry; we’ll tell you all there is to know so you can reap the benefits others are already enjoying.

What is a Treadmill?

A treadmill is a brilliant invention: it is a motorized device made up of a moving platform on which you can walk or run at your desired pace and slope while staying in the same place. There are sturdy handrails to help you keep your balance, and a dashboard to help you select your preferences.

Treadmill manufacturers have taken massive strides in offering alternatives for running and walking enthusiasts.

Many office managers have learned that healthy employees are happy employees and happy employees are more productive. Treadmills adorn offices all over the world and are routinely used even while working.

They offer great workouts, are friendly to the knees and you don’t have to face the elements or extreme temperatures to get some exercise.

But once you have one, you want it to keep operating optimally so it helps you reach your fitness goals, right? Below we’ll give you some great tips on protecting your treadmill with the best lubrication practices.

Let’s kick off with a few FAQs.

FAQ:

Can I use WD 40 silicon on my treadmill?

This mistake is all too common, as it will seriously damage the moving parts, so we recommend that you don’t.

Why not? WD 40 refers to a specific brand but is generically used to describe petroleum-based metal lubricants. It is often misunderstood as a universal lube which it is not. It is a unique blend of various types of lubricants, and specifically designed for treating metal.

Although some reviews say otherwise, it can cause further damage. Your treadmill’s moving parts are made of up a great deal of rubber, silicone, UPVCs and some metal. Rubber is a crosslinked polymer. While it doesn’t truly dissolve, it tends to swell as petroleum-based solvents and lubricants eat into the rubber. So don’t use it on your treadmill.

What do I use to lubricate my treadmill?

A treadmill’s moving parts require a pure silicone-based lubricant. This is because silicone grease is ideal for lubricating and preserving rubber parts like O-rings. Furthermore, silicone grease doesn’t swell or soften the rubber, which can be a problem with hydrocarbon-based greases. It functions well as a corrosion inhibitor and lubricant for purposes that require a thicker lubricant.

Silicone-based lubricants generally come in three types:

  • Silicone spray
  • Silicon squeeze-tube
  • Wax sticks

They’re commonly available in spray and a liquid form, so buy depending on your preference and what you find easy to apply.

What happens if you don’t lubricate a treadmill?

Moving parts heat up due to friction and come under stress. Too much heat will cause damage, so to keep the motor running efficiently and minimize the chance of damage and costly repairs, it needs to be regularly lubricated.

How frequently should I lubricate my treadmill?

As a rule, most treadmills need to be lubricated at least every three months or 40 hours of use, whichever comes first, and more often in warmer climates. However, you need to look out for the following which indicates an immediate need for maintenance:

  • It’s hesitating with each step
  • It’s making unfamiliar noises
  • The belt’s stuck and won’t move
  • You feel a “grinding” underfoot

Also, be aware of the following:

  • Treadmills that are used in walking workstations are likely to suffer more wear and tear simply because they’re used more frequently. 
  • Similarly, those used regularly in home gyms where multiple people use the same treadmill are subject to more wear and tear.
  • Watt output meters will show you how much power is being used. The general rule of thumb is that the more power used, the more the motor is under strain.

In all these cases, it’s time to lube up.

Step by Step: How to Lube Your Treadmill in 9 Easy Steps

IMPRESA 100% Silicone Treadmill Lubricant/Treadmill Lube - Easy to Apply Treadmill Belt Lubrication Oil - Made in The USA Products
  1. It runs on power so best turn it off at the wall and unplug it.
  2. Begin the lubrication process at the motor-end of the belt.
  3. Carefully lift the belt to create a gap between the deck and the belt.
  4. Aim the lube tube at the center of the belt.
  5. If you’re using a wax-stick lubricant, you’ll need to warm up the treadmill board by using it for 20 minutes first, otherwise, the wax won’t disperse. Plus, it’s great exercise.
  6. Carefully apply around 0.5oz of lube to the belt moving from the center outwards. The same goes for the wax.
  7. Apply this process to both sides of the belt.
  8. Once you’ve powered it up, let it run for a few minutes to evenly disperse the lube or wax.
  9. It’s a good idea to clean your treadmill after each use, keeping it free of dust, grease, and grime. You can generally use any mild household detergent, but some manufacturers recommend specific cleaning products to use, just to be on the safe side.

The Unfortunate Results if You Don’t Lubricate

Let’s walk you through a few consequences of not lubricating:

  • Unchecked friction is likely to cause any number of problems
  • The control panel can overheat and burnout
  • The belt will degrade faster than normal
  • The runner board is sure to delaminate
  • You’ll use a whole lot more electricity
  • The belt will stick and jolt, in itself causing other damage.

Final Thoughts:

Stay at home or the office and still enjoy the benefits of an effective workout.

But remember that YOU determine how long your equipment serves you well. At the end of the day, as in most things in life, if you take care of it, it will take care of you. So, to maintain your stride and keep on running, “lube the mill.”

About the author 

Kevin Lee  -  Health and fitness have always been a passion for me; whether its being in the weight room, going for a run before work or even participating in a half iron man triathlon. ShapeJunkie was created to share to knowledge and love of fitness with others.

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