Treadmills can be great exercise machines, but they sometimes develop squeaking sounds or other issues that may produce noise. The good thing is that these issues are typically quite easy to fix when you know how.
First, let’s look at the causes of treadmill squeaking. Then we can look at solutions to the problems.
What Causes a Treadmill to Squeak?
A treadmill squeaking is usually caused by a poorly lubricated belt. However, it may also be caused by belt misalignment, a dirty motor, or contact in the pivot points.
Poorly Lubricated Belt
This is most common with treadmills after prolonged use, but may happen with new products as well. When the belt is not properly lubricated it will produce a squeaking sound because of the friction. The lubrication allows it to glide smoothly along without producing much sound.
When a treadmill machine is not properly lubricated then it can increase the friction. This may lead to motor or controller burnout because of the excessive work to rotate the belt. It may also harm the belt and lead to premature degradation. If the problem is because of poor lubrication then it will only get worse gradually over time.
If the belt is properly lubricated, but it is still squeaking, then the friction setting may be too high as well. This puts strain on the motor and can cause too much friction that can produce noise and wear out the belt. You should be able to find the setting for friction in your user’s manual. Reducing the friction may help to alleviate the noise and increase the lifespan of your treadmill machine.
Check out this video to learn how to choose the best lubricant for your treadmill machine.
A belt misalignment is another common cause of treadmill belt squeaking. This issue usually occurs when the belt is installed too tightly or too loosely. However, it may also occur when the treadmill surface is not level.
Generally, a misaligned belt is not a severe problem, but it can produce squeaking or scraping noises. In addition, it can cause you to lose your balance and slip or fall while you are using the treadmill so it is important to address the problem.
After prolonged use, belts will stretch and you will have to adjust the rollers in order to accommodate the longer belt. You can test for a slipping belt by walking on the treadmill at a slow pace of 1 to 2 miles per hour. Then stand on the landing strips so that the belt is moving alone. Put one foot down on the belt without moving it forward. If the belt slips you should be able to notice it because it will hesitate or jump and move in an awkward way that is not smooth like it should be.
It is important for the lifespan of your treadmill machine to properly care for the motor system. When the motor runs and the belt glides on the mechanisms, a tremendous amount of status electricity is produced. This can attract dirt, debris, lint, hair, dust, and more from the area around the treadmill. When this debris accumulates, then it can develop into much inside the motor system.
When the debris builds up, it can cause the motor harm and when it malfunctions it may begin to produce weird noises including squeaking. It may also cause the motor to overwork itself and overheat or burn out.
Pivot Point Contact
The pivot points in the treadmill machine are made of metal and if they make contact they can create a loud squeaking sound. It is typically not a severe issue, but the noise can be annoying. If this is the problem then you will want to add lubrication to the pivot points.
Sometimes the belt will slip to the side slightly, even when properly aligned, and scrape the edges. This can cause annoying noises like squeaking and scraping. It can also harm the mechanisms and cause the belt to move awkwardly. This problem is sometimes caused by something as simple as an uneven or unleveled treadmill machine.
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Solutions for Treadmill Squeaking
There are a number of different things that you can try to reduce and eliminate the squeaking noises coming from your treadmill machine. You can, and should, clean the machine. Then, you can check the belt tension, apply lubrication, level the treadmill, or fix the motor.
Cleaning a treadmill can prevent issues with the motor and increase the lifespan of your machine. In fact, you should try to clean your treadmill once a week or so and clean the rollers and belt once a month. This clears away debris and prevents a build up that could harm the mechanisms. You should also make sure to clean the area around the treadmill often, especially if there is carpet because it can attract dirt, dust, hair, and more.
A belt can be too tight or too loose and when it is, then the machine may begin to produce a squeaking sound. First, you have to inspect the free space between the board and the belt. If there is no distance between the two, then the belt is likely too tight. If the belt is slapping around too far from the board, then it may be too loose. Try to adjust the tension until the squeaking sound goes away.
Treadmills have a lot of moving parts and even durable ones will begin to show regular signs of wear and tear. However, there are some things you can do to prevent excessive deterioration. Regularly check for broken parts on the machine especially if it starts to squeak, scape, or make other noises or develop any issues. The treadmill company will likely have a service line where you can ask for replacement parts. Some squeaking sounds are serious and can lead to malfunctions in the machine.
Proper lubrication is important for treadmill machines. A new one comes with lubrication, but sometimes it is not sufficient. Furthermore, prolonged use of the treadmill machine can require regular lubricant applications for smooth functioning. In fact, it is best to apply lubrication to the machine every month or too. Be sure to follow the lubrication instructions for your product and the lubricant that you choose. Other signs of poorly lubricated machines include belt hesitation and a scraping sound.
A disruptive motor can be concerning because they are not cheap. You should clean the motor regularly. Generally, we recommend that you clean your treadmill twice a year or so. If you do not use the machine very often, then once a year may be sufficient.
Cleaning the motor is easier than it sounds. First, after you unplug the machine to ensure that it is completely off, you will have to take the walking board off of the machine so that you can access the interior motor system. The instructions for board removal should be in the owner’s manual for the machine.
One you have access to the motor, you can use a good cleaner to thoroughly clear out any debris. The type of cleaning materials you use is similar to the type used for lawn mowers or vehicle motors. However, make sure to keep a separate set of the cleaning equipment and materials for your treadmill.
When cleaning the motor, make sure that your treadmill is placed on a surface that does not promote static electricity. Then, you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove debris around the motor. If you notice any sparks or other atypical activity then you will want to speak with a professional small motor mechanic.
Level the Feet
An uneven treadmill will not operate as well as it would if it was on a level surface. When it is on a slant or incline, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, then the treadmill will flex more and produce squeaking sounds. The squeaking from this problem may only happen when the user steps on a specific portion of the machine’s belt.
Over time, the uneven treadmill may lead to increased stress on the board, deck, or other components. When this happens, other problems may begin to develop as well. Many treadmills have feet that you can screw in or out to level the machine. If not, then you need to level it using wood or other materials under the heightened foot or feet.
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Most well-made treadmills have a crowned roller that helps the belt stay on the middle of the treadmill. When you level the machine, you will want to run the motor at top speed for a couple minutes because it allows the belt to center itself. If the belt does not center itself, then you will have to adjust the rear roller. You can usually find instructions for this type of adjustment in the owner’s manual.
Final Thoughts on Squeaking Treadmills
Aot of things can happen that cause a treadmill to start squeaking or making other noises. However, they are usually pretty easy to fix. Try to lubricate the mechanisms or adjust the tension. In addition, cleaning the machine and the motor regularly can help prevent issues that can cause squeaking and even increase the lifespan of your treadmill.