How to Lubricate a Treadmill – Step-By-Step Instructions

Treadmills are a benchmark for many home and commercial gyms, offering an effective cardiovascular workout regardless of outside weather. But just like any other machinery, treadmills require maintenance to keep them running smoothly and prolong their lifespan.

This maintenance is essential to ensure the treadmill belt is adequately lubricated. Over time, friction between the belt and deck can lead to wear and tear, resulting in decreased performance or even costly repairs. Knowing how to lubricate a treadmill properly ensures optimal performance and protects your investment.

Understanding the importance of treadmill lubrication, it’s surprising how many owners overlook this simple yet crucial task. Some might feel intimidated by the process, fearing they could damage their machine. But with the proper knowledge and tools, anyone can easily lubricate their treadmill.

So, whether you’re a seasoned gym enthusiast or a beginner just starting your fitness journey, knowing how to maintain your equipment is paramount. Below, we’ll discuss how to lubricate a treadmill step-by-step.

What is Treadmill Lubrication?

Imagine the grinding sound of machinery slowly wearing out. That’s what’s happening inside a treadmill when it’s not lubricated regularly. Each time you hop on for a run or walk, the treadmill belt rubs against the deck, producing friction.

This friction heats the machine, and prolonged use can cause noticeable wear and tear on its components. Over time, this might make the treadmill louder during operation or, worse, give up altogether.

Lubrication acts as a protective shield, minimizing this friction. When applied, it ensures that your treadmill operates smoothly and whisper-quietly. But the benefits don’t stop there. Proper lubrication can significantly prolong the life of your treadmill, protecting your investment from potentially expensive repairs or, in extreme cases, total replacements.

Choosing a suitable lubricant is crucial. While various lubricants are on the market, silicone-based ones are highly recommended for treadmills. These lubricants are distinguished by being non-petroleum based, ensuring they won’t degrade the treadmill’s materials over time. Their resistance to dust and dirt is also a benefit, as these can obstruct the treadmill’s internal mechanisms.

Keep in mind treadmill maintenance isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. While many use silicone lubricants, certain treadmill models might need specific lubrication. It’s always best to check your treadmill’s user manual or contact the manufacturer to ensure you’re doing things correctly.

In terms of how often to lubricate, a good rule is every three months or after 40 hours of usage. This can vary depending on the intensity and frequency of your workouts and any special instructions from the manufacturer.

Step-by-Step Guide – How to Lubricate a Treadmill

Below, you’ll find a straightforward guide on treadmill lubrication. Remember, this is a general overview, so consult your user manual or manufacturer for brand-specific guidance.

1. Gather the Necessary Materials

Before diving into the lubrication process, ensure you have everything you need. Being prepared ensures safe and effective maintenance of your equipment. Here are the essentials:

  • Treadmill Lubricant: As mentioned earlier, a silicone-based lubricant is most commonly used for treadmills. You can find these at most sporting goods stores or online. Check your treadmill’s manual or contact the manufacturer to confirm how to lubricate a treadmill in your specific model.
  • Cleaning Cloth: You’ll need a clean, dry cloth to wipe down the treadmill before applying the lubricant. This helps remove any dust or debris that could interfere with lubrication.
  • Soft Brush or Vacuum Cleaner: These tools help clean the area beneath the treadmill belt. A soft brush can help dislodge stuck particles, while a vacuum cleaner can suck up any loose dust or dirt.
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver: Some treadmills require loosening the belt before lubricating it. Check your treadmill’s manual to see if this step is necessary for your model.
  • A Pair of Gloves: Lubricating a treadmill can be messy, so disposable gloves can help protect your hands and make cleanup easier.
  • Safety Glasses: Though unnecessary most of the time, it can protect your eyes from accidental lubricant splashes.

2. Unplug Your Treadmill

How to Lubricate a Treadmill - Unplugging the Machine

Safety should always be the first consideration when diving into treadmill maintenance, especially when working with electrical devices. Begin by identifying the spot where your treadmill connects to the electrical outlet. Often, this connection is at the machine’s base or might be linked to an extension cord.

Before removing the plug, turning off the treadmill is essential. You can usually find the main power switch on the treadmill’s base or central console. With the machine turned off, gently pull the plug from the socket. Also, position the cord to eliminate any tripping hazards or chances of it being inadvertently reconnected.

While it may seem overly cautious, always give your treadmill a once-over to ensure it’s truly off, which means no active displays, lights, or fans. This is about preventing your treadmill from unexpectedly starting up and minimizing the risk of electrical exposure while working on it. Remember, when dealing with machinery, it is always better to prioritize safety rather than regret it later.

3. Clean Around Your Treadmill

Before starting the treadmill lubrication process, working in a clean environment is essential to ensure the utmost efficiency and longevity for your treadmill. Any external dirt or debris might interfere with the lubrication or get trapped inside the treadmill mechanisms.

Start by sweeping or vacuuming the floor area around the treadmill. Doing so eliminates any loose dust particles or debris that might get kicked up and lodge themselves under the treadmill belt or in its internal components. After ensuring the surrounding area is spotless, it’s time to focus on the treadmill.

Using a soft, lint-free cloth, wipe down the entire exterior of your treadmill, paying particular attention to the belt area. This removes dust and sweat residues and provides a clear view of the machine, making the lubrication process more straightforward.

You can lightly dampen the cloth with a mild cleaning solution, ensuring it’s suitable for electronic equipment to clean your treadmill thoroughly. However, be cautious not to over-wet the cloth, as excess moisture could harm the treadmill’s electrical components.

4. Adjust the Treadmill Belt for Optimal Lubrication

The treadmill belt, constantly in motion during workouts, plays a pivotal role in the overall functioning of your machine. However, before any maintenance or lubrication, a slight adjustment or loosening of the belt is often necessary. This allows for easier access to the deck beneath and ensures the lubricant is evenly applied. Here’s a detailed guide on how to go about it:

  1. Understand the Tension: Before making any adjustments, it’s helpful to get a sense of the current tension. Gently lift the belt from the center. A well-tensioned belt typically rises between 2 to 3 inches from the deck. If it’s significantly looser or tighter, you might need to recalibrate after lubrication.
  2. Locate the Tension Bolts: At the back end of the treadmill, on either side, you’ll find the tension bolts, usually resembling large screws. These bolts control the tightness of the treadmill belt.
  3. Loosening the Belt: Turn the tension bolts counterclockwise using an Allen wrench or another tool specified in your treadmill’s manual. Usually, a quarter or half turn on both sides should suffice. Ensure you adjust both sides equally to maintain uniform tension.
  4. Test the Loosening: After adjusting, lift the treadmill belt again to check the tension. The belt should now be easier to lift, giving you adequate space to apply the lubricant underneath.
  5. Take Caution: Always remember to make these adjustments with care. Over-loosening can lead to the belt misaligning or slipping during use, while excessive tightening can strain the motor and wear out the belt faster.

Next, we’ll show you how to lubricate a treadmill effectively.

5. Follow the Lubrication Process for Your Treadmill

How to Lubricate a Treadmill - Step-by-Step

Image Source: LifeSpan

Knowing how to lubricate a treadmill is more than just applying the lubricant itself – it’s about ensuring even distribution, using the right amount, and preventing messy overspills. Here are some easy-to-follow instructions to help you achieve a perfectly lubricated treadmill:

  • Know What Lubricant You’re Using: The kind of lubricant you use is crucial. Most treadmills prefer silicone-based lubricants, but it’s always wise to double-check with your treadmill’s manual. Also, take note of the consistency – some are liquid, while others have a gel-like consistency.
  • Preparation: If your lubricant doesn’t have a precision nozzle, consider transferring it to a plastic squeeze bottle. This provides better control over the flow, preventing over-application.

Proper Application Technique

  1. Direct Approach: If your lubricant bottle has a nozzle or you’re using a squeeze bottle, slightly lift one side of the treadmill belt. Begin at the front end, squeezing a thin line of lubricant along the treadmill deck, slowly moving towards the back. Aim to apply in a straight line. Repeat this on the opposite side of the belt.
  2. Cloth Method: If you’re worried about direct application, an alternative is to apply the lubricant to a soft cloth first. Lift the belt and gently rub the cloth along the deck’s surface, ensuring even distribution. This method can help in preventing any potential pooling of the lubricant.
  3. Quantity is Key: Avoid the temptation to over-lubricate. Too much can lead to residue buildup, which can affect performance. The treadmill deck should have a slight sheen after application not look drenched.
  4. Smooth it Out: After applying, use your hands (with gloves if preferred) to spread the lubricant evenly. Gently rub over the area where you’ve applied the lubricant to ensure it coats the deck uniformly. This step is especially useful if you’ve used the cloth method, ensuring no area has too much or too little lubricant.
  5. Allow it to Set: Before tightening the belt and plugging the treadmill back in, give the lubricant a few minutes to settle onto the deck. This ensures it seeps in well and provides an optimal base for the treadmill belt.

6. Re-tension the Belt and Test

How to Lubricate a Treadmill - Belt Tension

Image Source: GarageGymReviews

After carefully lubricating your treadmill, you’ll need to restore the belt to its ideal tension and confirm that everything operates correctly.

Using the Allen wrench or the tool you used to loosen the belt, gently turn the tension bolts clockwise. Remember to adjust both sides equally, ensuring a balanced tension across the belt. Ideally, the belt should be firm, yet you should be able to lift it 2 to 3 inches from the center.

A word of caution here: An overly tight belt can strain the treadmill’s motor and diminish the belt’s lifespan, while a too-loose belt can misalign and cause uneven wear on the deck. Be sure to find the right balance and mirror the tension level previously set in your treadmill.

Once you’ve adjusted the belt, it’s time for the test run. Begin by plugging the treadmill back into its power source and turning it on. Allow the treadmill to run at a slow pace initially without any weight, ensuring that the lubricant disperses evenly across the deck and that the machine adjusts to its renewed condition.

After a few minutes, step onto the treadmill and walk at a moderate speed. The experience should feel smooth, with the belt moving consistently under your feet and the machine running silently.

If there are any discrepancies, like the belt drifting or feeling wobbly, it might require further adjustments or alignment. Always keep your treadmill’s manual handy for detailed guidance in these scenarios.

Treadmill Maintenance Tips Post-Lubrication

How to Lubricate a Treadmill - Maintenance Tips

Image Source: ProForm

After successfully lubricating your treadmill, maintaining its optimal performance isn’t over. Here are some tips on how to keep your treadmill running smoothly after lubrication:

  • Regular Cleaning: Dust and debris can accumulate on your treadmill over time, interfering with its smooth operation. Make it a habit to clean your treadmill after each use. Wipe the belt and handrails with a clean cloth to remove sweat and dirt. Also, vacuum or brush around and under the treadmill to keep dust from accumulating.
  • Belt Alignment Check: Over time, your treadmill belt may start to shift towards one side and could potentially cause uneven wear. Regularly check the alignment of your belt to ensure it’s centered. If it’s off-center, refer to your user manual on adjusting it back into place.
  • Tighten Loose Parts: The vibration from running or walking on your treadmill can loosen screws and bolts over time. Regularly inspect your treadmill for any loose parts and tighten them as needed.
  • Monitor Treadmill Performance: Pay attention to any changes in the performance of your treadmill, such as unusual noises, sudden speed changes, or a slipping belt. These could indicate that your treadmill needs further maintenance or repair.

When to Consider Professional Servicing:

While regular maintenance and lubrication can keep your treadmill in good shape, there might be instances when professional servicing is necessary. Consider calling in a professional if:

  • You’ve performed regular maintenance and lubrication, but your treadmill is still not performing as it should.
  • Your treadmill shows significant wear and tear, such as fraying belts or electrical issues.
  • You’re uncomfortable performing certain maintenance tasks, and you would prefer a professional to show you how to lubricate a treadmill properly.

Remember, investing in professional servicing can potentially save you from more costly repairs down the line. It also ensures that your treadmill is safe and efficient for daily workouts.

Keep Your Treadmill Running the Way it Should

The lifespan of your treadmill mirrors the care and attention you give it. Regular lubrication is a straightforward yet critical step to ensure its longevity and peak performance. With some basic tools and a few minutes of your time, you can easily keep your treadmill running smoothly and safely for years to come. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to maintain and care for your treadmill properly, and when in doubt, don’t hesitate to hire a professional to show you how to lubricate a treadmill safely.

Josh Nadeau
Josh Nadeau
Josh Nadeau is the lead writer and owner of He is a seasoned content specialist, SEO strategist, and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in retail manufacturing and business operations.

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