When To Replace Your Treadmill Belt
The treadmill. We either love it or hate it. While many of us prefer running outside, sometimes weather, schedules, and just life make us take advantage of our home equipment. And we are so lucky to be able to continue to run indoors. We start to log lots of mileage on our treadmills especially in the winter or when training for a long distance race. But the worst thing we want to run the treadmill belt to the ground and then not being able to hop on anytime we want.
The good news is that treadmill belts can—and should—be replaced.
Many runners probably don’t consider replacing the belt if there is no actual damage to it causing concern. But like any piece of equipment, fine-tuning needs to be done for maintenance.
When To Replace The Treadmill Belt
Treadmill belts like some wear and tear need to be replaced. Belts that are physically torn with rips in it needs to immediately be replaced. Signs to look out for includes frayed edges, tears, and discoloration.
While these are obvious signs, there are also not so obvious ones. Even without tears or marks, the belt can still become worn out. The belt might not be as smooth as it once was. Some runners experience this and might not even realize it. It can start to feel more difficult to run on the same treadmill that was felt easier. One of the reasons why it is more of a challenge is because there is a problem with the belt.
If the treadmill gets really hot while running, this is another sign to replace the belt. This means there can be damage on the bottom side and cause issues to the deck.
There isn’t a definitive timeframe on when to routinely change the treadmill belt. If there is a problem, fix it immediately to ensure the machine continues to work and keeps the runner injury-free. Those who use their treadmills often might want to inspect the belt every six months to a year to assess any potential damage.
Replacing The Belt
If the problem is the amount of smoothness of the belt, there is a good chance that tension rollers are too tight or too loose. This is a common problem. Signs of this is that the belt feels too loose or feels like it is moving slowly.
Not replacing the belt can lead to more damages for the treadmill. Those who recently purchased their treadmill can see if fixing the belt is part of the warranty. It might best to call the manufacturer even if the warranty is expired or the belt repair is not included. Those who have never changed their treadmill belt might prefer to have a professional fix it instead. This is a precaution to not cause further damage.
However, replacing the belt is easy enough to do by oneself. It might be best to watch some instructional videos online, especially those provided by the treadmill’s manufacturer.
How To Replace
Make sure that the treadmill is unplugged. Having it turned off is not enough in case a button is hit and this can cause injury.
Identify the tension roller, which is located at the back end of the belt. There should be bold on each side of the belt. Using a screwdriver, loosen the bolts just a bit. The idea is to just have it loose enough to fit a hand inside to feel for any tears and to look at the condition of the belt.
See if there is any damage to the seam of the belt, excessive smoothness or discoloration like dark streaks.
If there is damage, start by removing the motor hood. This is at the front of the treadmill frame. Then fold the treadmill up so that it is upright and latched. Remove the screws from under the board that connects to the right foot rail. Lower the treadmill down and remove the right foot rail.
With one side off, it is easy to remove the belt. Unscrew the rear and front rollers and lift it up and out of the mounting bracket. Remove the corner screws and remove the belt.
To install a new belt, slide it over the board and sellers on the right side. Fold the treadmill up and start reinstalling the mounting screws.
Lower the treadmill and reinstall the front and rear rollers.
Make sure there is enough tension by rotating the adjustment screw. Then replace the right side foot rail and the motor hood. Plug the treadmill in and start the machine, but do not get on. Assess that the belt doesn’t need any adjustments like not being centered. This calls for adjusting the left roller adjustment screw.
Runners then want to lubricate the board using a silicone lubricant. Spread it on the board then run for a few minutes to evenly coat.
How Much Does It Cost?
It can cost anywhere between $200 to $300 for a new treadmill belt. Keep in mind that a repair company can charge hourly rates that also can range between $100 and $200.