Always check the owner's manual before choosing lubricants for any treadmill. Treadmills could be designed to use either wax-based or silicone-based belt lube. Low maintenance treadmills could even be damaged by unnecessary lubrication.
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The long rollers which support and drive the tread belt may not need attention. While many treadmills will feature permanently lubricated roller bearings, some manufacturers recommend a few drops of light machine oil at regular intervals. Lubricating permanent bearings will not have a positive effect on machine performance, since permanent bearings are sealed.
Select the correct belt lubricant for your machine. Two types of treadmill belt lube are in common use, but are not interchangeable. Owner's manuals will specify whether the machine requires wax or silicone lube. Lubricating machines with lube-impregnated belts can increase the friction between the belt and the platform. Do not lube the belt unless the maintenance specs require it. Do not substitute petroleum based oils or WD-40 spray for the correct treadmill lube. Incorrect products could soften and deform the treadmill belt.
Treadmill lubrication kits include applicator wands and make regular maintenance simple. Spreading lubricant on the applicator and inserting the wand beneath the belt allows even distribution of lube under the belt and over the surface of the deck. Follow directions and don't over-lubricate. Applying lubricant to the deck may be all that's required. Always unplug the treadmill before doing any maintenance or cleaning.
Benefits of Cleaning
Even with permanently lubed treadmills, cleaning should be done regularly. Accumulated debris between the treadmill belt and deck increases the drag and places more load on the motor. Without maintenance both belt and deck could be scarred. Cleaning lint from the motor housing also extends the lifetime of the treadmill by lowering the operating temperature of the motor.
Keep track of hours spent on the machine. Clean and lube the treadmill on a regular schedule based on hours of use. Choose a place for the machine where exposure to dust and dirt is minimal. The cement floor of a garage generates abrasive dust of the worst kind. Lubricants may dry out during long intervals of disuse or during off season storage. New squeaks and hot belts signal that the treadmill needs attention.
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