Treadmills are versatile machines that allow you to use the most natural movements yet gain the cardio advantage. This ease of use is what makes them the most popular machine among fitness enthusiasts of both technical and non-technical knowledge.
Just like any other machine, even treadmills are prone to some setbacks at times and require troubleshooting. Listed below are few most common issues you might face and how you should proceed to fix them. Some have simple fixes, and some require assistance.
9 Most Common Treadmill Problems and How to Fix Them
General Treadmill Troubleshooting
First and foremost, the thing to check when you are having trouble with your treadmill is if it is plugged in and is switched on. Once you are sure that you have supplied it appropriately with power and yet it is not responding, try using another power outlet to rule out the chances of the outlet being faulty.
After making sure it is not the power outlet issue, you next focus on the adapter if it is functioning properly. Finally, to complete the general check, look for a shortage in the fuse and replace it if it is blown. If the fuse is the culprit, the treadmill should function as usual as soon as you change it.
Ensure that you unplug your treadmill before you look for the fuse or any other such maintenance work. It is important to check the user manual before you attempt to take your machine apart. The non-invasive methods are enough most of the time to get your machine running.
Treadmill Display Doesn’t Turn On
Proceed as follows when you have trouble turning on the display even after checking the above general troubleshooting methods. Sometimes treadmill displays work on batteries. So, make sure of the power source your treadmill display uses.
If it works on battery, check if they need a recharge or replacement and act accordingly. Unplugging it for 1 to 2 minutes if it is directly powered should help in fixing itself if it was some minor hiccup. Still, if the display does not turn on then, it might be time to call for repair service by a technician.
Treadmill Display Shows an Error Code
Sometimes you get to see an error code displayed on your screen. It varies according to the manufacturer, and the meaning of each error code is usually explained in the manual. Go through the manual and find out what the error code means.
If you cannot find the manual or your machine did not come with one, then you can look for the official website. You are most likely to find a reference or list of codes and their meanings there. Sometimes manuals are available to download and are available as PDF.
So, their content might not be listed in the search, but you can simply search for manual online instead of code itself. Once you are aware of the issue, you can easily follow the relevant troubleshooting steps and resolve the issue.
For instance, Nordictrack provides their treadmill error codes in the manual. So, you can check their error code meaning by searching for the manual and check it once you find your model. Coming to LifeSpan, they provide their error codes directly on their page.
However, Precor asks you to get in touch with them when you come across an error code with their machines. If you attempt to find the information yourself but could not succeed, it is best to contact the manufacturer for the right information rather than trying something irreversible.
Slipping Belt on Treadmill
The treadmill belt slips if it is not fitted with the right tension. Too tight, too loose, or too much lubrication are the primary reasons for causing this issue. When you lift the center of the belt, it should lift only about 2-3 inches.
If it lifts higher than 3 inches, then you need to adjust the belt by tightening it or loosening it. However, if it lifts to the right height and is still slipping, then check for over lubrication.
Usually, most treadmill manufacturers recommend lubrication after 40 hours of use or once in 6 months, depending on whichever is the earliest. Once you determine the excess lubrication is the cause of the belt slipping issue, and you need to get rid of the extra lubricant.
You can clean it using soap and water by targeting the places where unwanted lubrication exists. Also, a gentle scrubber can be used to scrub the mat softly, taking care that it does not damage the belt.
Before you get it back on the machine, make sure it is completely dry to avoid warping. Few lubricants are not cleared by using soap and water, and such belts can be treated with denatured alcohol. As this solution evaporates by itself quickly, you need not worry about drying.
Even after cleaning, a little lubricant remains, and it is necessary for the proper functioning of the treadmill. However, if it is still slippery and contains a significant amount of lubricant, it is better not to use such a treadmill until the lubricant issue is resolved.
Erratic Speed on Treadmill
If you observe that your treadmill is functioning with irregular speed, then the first step is to check your user manual for speed settings. Check if your treadmill settings are within the recommended levels and you are not using any settings that should not be used together.
Getting on the treadmill at such a point is nothing but a direct invitation for trouble. So, just observe with your eyes but do not actually get on the treadmill to check if it is properly functioning. If the performance of the belt is still the same, then check for the mechanical parts causing the issue.
Check the motor and belt interaction and try to spot the exact action that is causing the belt to hitch. If you find that the moving mechanism is causing this issue, then it might be time to replace either the belt or the parts supporting the movement.
A sudden slow down or stopping of the belt might happen sometimes. This points first in the direction of motor issues. These problems are better handled by a technician than by an inexperienced person. Servicing your treadmill will most likely fix the issue.
You might be using a surge protector or an extension cord to connect your treadmill to the power outlet. These devices may be obstructing the required voltage. So, connecting your machine directly to the wall outlet can help you check if that is affecting your speed.
Burning Odor from Treadmill
The burning odor is almost always associated with too much friction causing the parts to heat up or an electrical short. If it smells so every time you get on the machine, then it is time that you stop using it and check for the issue thoroughly.
Unplug the treadmill from the power outlet and try to identify the place from where the smell is intense, indicating the place of origin. If it is vague, rubbery smell, and appears to be spread all over then, it might indicate a friction issue between the belt and the deck.
On the other hand, if it seems concentrated, plastic kind of smell coming from a single spot, it might indicate electrical short or minor repair issues. The friction issue is easily fixed by proper lubrication of the belt, and the burning tires kind of smell should vanish if that was the issue.
However, when you are not sure of the point of origin or the cause, then it is not safe to turn on the machine. Extended use can lead to a greater problem, such as a fire hazard due to electric shock.
Considering the risk involved, you should consult a repair service in this case rather than attempting to fix it yourself. The apt quote here is better to be safe than sorry, so shelling few bucks for repair is far more worthy than risking your life.
Treadmill Motor Problems
If you prefer to run at top speed on your treadmill, motor issues will be of greater significance. When the motor is causing issues, you can experience erratic speed or sudden stops. This unexpected action of the belt is a safety hazard and can be a cause for injuries.
The inconsistent speed caused due to the motor can be because of several reasons such as faulty motor belts, mechanical parts breakdown, or problems with the chips present in the motor that control the speed. Never attempt to fix the motor on your own.
Pinpointing the issue with a motor and what exact parts need replacement is better decided by the experienced technician. It is not only a sensitive part but also a sophisticated one with too many dependencies. You will risk your machine and safety if you deal with it without complete knowledge.
If your machine is under warranty, making use of it now is a good option. Suppose you have little experience in working with such mechanisms before then, you might be able to replace the motor belt yourself. Again, do it at your own risk as we advise against it.
However, be cautious about getting the right make and do it only if you are sure that it is the only issue. Remember that it might become costlier to repair after a failed attempt, where more harm is possible when you run the machine with damaged parts.
Another point to note is that the carpet fibers and dust often get into the air when using your treadmill, but a treadmill mat will prevent excess dust from building up underneath the treadmill and the motor compartment.
Inaccurate Speed Sensor on Treadmill
Speed sensors calculate your speed using the treadmill belt’s revolutions per minute. Sometimes it comes loose and displays an error code. You can simply fix it by tightening the connectors rather than calling in a technician.
Any attempt to fix a treadmill should be made in unplugged mode, as already mentioned earlier. As you need to remove the motor cover to locate the sensor connection, the machine mustn’t be connected to the power outlet.
Check for the black and white wires and trace them to the circuit board below. After removing the wires from the terminal, you need to remove the bolts that hold the motor securely to the mounting bracket. From the front roller pulley, i.e., the opposite side, attempt to lift the motor.
This makes space for sliding the belt out. By positioning the motor upright, you can now access the speed sensor and the mounting bracket present under it. Verify if the speed sensor is in place and if you find it loose, secure it to the mounting bracket properly by tightening the screws.
Also, trace and check the continuity of the lead wire with a voltage meter. If it indicates continuity, then it is time that you replace the sensor. Complete the replacement if necessary and reassemble the treadmill. With the help of the owner’s manual reset and re-calibrate the machine.
Treadmill General Safety
It is safe to attempt any invasive repairs only after unplugging the machine to avoid electrocution. A machine plugged into the power source is a serious safety risk. As you already understand, the machine is malfunctioning and might not be in total control of the activation.
It can sometimes activate suddenly, posing a grave risk of injury. When you disassemble and reassemble your machine, make sure that you have secured everything safely before starting it. Open moving parts can pull in loose clothing and hair, so keep them tucked away.
Finally, if you are unaware of how to fix something, attempting to fix it anyway might have a chance to cause more damage. If you remove or replace any parts improperly, it can cause irreparable damage and also a danger of fire hazards.
Most of the time, simple actions are enough to fix the issues. Sometimes you might need professional support such as a repairman or technician to fix them. Even replacement of parts is necessary at times, especially when they are worn out.
Whatever might be the issue, you need to consider your safety as the topmost priority and do not attempt anything that is best left to the professional. A faulty motor or replacement of parts should strictly be done by a trained professional in any case.