How To Lubricate An Elliptical (Where, Why & How To Guide)

Elliptical machines are popular home gym machines because they are the perfect running substitute without additional stress placed on the body. However, ellipticals have to stay properly lubricated to avoid wear and tear over time.

Our guide will teach you how to lubricate an elliptical machine so that you can use yours for many more years to come.

It is important to lubricate your elliptical machine. Lubricating your elliptical machine keeps the device from wearing down over time and can keep your workout equipment functioning at its highest capacity. Lubricating your elliptical will also keep noises low and prevent the jerkiness that older ellipticals can develop.

You want to ensure that the machine is cleaned to avoid dirt and dust buildup as well, but lubrication does more than simply “clean” your machine. Lubrication keeps every “joint” running smoothly.

You should lubricate your elliptical machine every six months at each of the moveable parts: handlebars, foot pedals, etc. If you do not lubricate your elliptical machine, you may end up with expensive repairs and a machine that entirely breaks down years before it should.

woman lubricating a proform elliptical

Two Types Of Elliptical Machines (For Lubrication Purposes)

Elliptical Machine Front-Wheel Drive 

The elliptical machine with front-wheel drive includes a flywheel at the front of the machine. This type of machine sometimes comes with articulating pedals and sometimes not. A front-wheel-drive elliptical machine is not as comfortable as a back-wheel drive model because many are missing the pedals that create different angles for a smooth movement.

Without that articulating pedal piece, these machines can feel cramped. The elliptical machine with front-wheel drive is more difficult to maintain as well. The front-wheel-drive machines have additional rollers and tracks that the rear-wheel-drive machines do not have. The rollers and tracks need to be cleaned every week and lubricated every six months.  

Elliptical Machine Back-Wheel Drive 

An elliptical machine with back-wheel drive is the gold standard when it comes to elliptical machines. These machines are the most comfortable and mimic a more natural movement because of the articulating pedals.

These machines also have fewer rollers and tracks, so maintenance is more straightforward. The back-wheel drive elliptical machines need to be cleaned once a month and lubricated every six months.  

For a complete breakdown of front drive vs back wheel drive ellipticals, check out our guide to see which one is right for you.


How To Lubricate An Elliptical (Step-By-Step Guide) 

To start the lubrication process, you will need several tools: lubricant, a grease gun, two soft cloths, and a screwdriver. We also recommend referencing the user manual for your particular machine as not all ellipticals are built the same way.

Begin by taking one of your soft cloths and dusting the machine in its entirety. Then take your lubricant and add a small amount to the second soft cloth. Use this cloth to massage the lubricant into the rails on your elliptical.

Next, slowly move the elliptical (as you would if you were using it) to make sure that the lubricant moves over the whole rail as well as the wheels.  

Now it's time to move on to the flywheel. We recommend using a grease gun to push grease onto the ball bearings. It is also time to find the elevation screw and make sure it is lubricated. This screw might be inside of the front or back wheel housing, so you might need to use a screwdriver to remove it before you can apply the lubricant with your soft cloth. Make sure to repeat this process every six months (on average).

Do you need to disassemble elliptical machine parts to lubricate it? Yes, we recommend disassembling your elliptical when lubricating the machine. However, if you have difficulty getting to the foot pedals or the handle screws, you do not need to remove each piece. This will depend on your particular type of elliptical and the manufacturer.

For a complete guide on how to disassemble and move your elliptical, jump over to our step by step moving and disassembly guide.

  • Nordictrack Elliptical Machine
    Nordictrack has numerous elliptical machine models. They recommend that their elliptical machines be lubricated every three to six months.
  • Sole Elliptical Machine
    Sole Fitness recommends that their elliptical machines be lubricated every six months.
  • Proform Elliptical Machine
    ProForm has several elliptical machine options for home gym users. They recommend that their elliptical machines be lubricated every nine to twelve months.
  • Schwinn Elliptical Machine
    Schwinn has numerous elliptical machine models. They recommend that their elliptical machines be lubricated every six months.
  • Precor Elliptical Machine
    Precor has fewer models of ellipticals than other brands. They recommend that their elliptical machines be lubricated every four to six months.

What Kind Of Lubricant Should You Use On An Elliptical?

There are two primary kinds of lubricant that you can use on an elliptical machine: silicone and grease. Both types of lubricants should be purchased from a fitness retailer and should be made specifically for fitness equipment. You can use a treadmill belt lubricant. Our favorite lubricants include silicone treadmill lubricant, treadmill belt lubricant, and white lithium grease lubricant.

We recommend lubricating your elliptical every six months for optimal machine performance. We do not recommend using WD40 or other lubricant substitutes. Using a lubricant that is the wrong type for your elliptical can cause serious problems. Do not use oil sprays or a silicone spray that is not specifically designed for fitness equipment.

person lubricating an elliptical

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can you use any silicone lubricant on an elliptical? 

Yes, you can use 100% silicone lubricant on your elliptical machine. This is the same type of lubricant often used on treadmills. Silicone lubricants typically come in a squeeze bottle and can easily be applied to many parts of the device. 

We highly recommend the Spot On Treadmill and Equipment Lubricant. This is the one I use for all of my equipment, and I've never been disappointed.

Do I need to grease my elliptical? 

You can grease your elliptical instead of using a silicone lubricant. Both silicone lubricants and grease are effective lubricants. Most ellipticals work best with red-lithium ball-bearing grease. White-lithium grease can also be used. You do not need to use both. We recommend referring to the manufacturer's instruction manual.

How can I make my elliptical less squeaky?  

Ellipticals tend to become squeaky when they are not lubricated at the pivot points. We recommend applying grease or silicone to the pivot points on the pedals and handlebars. Make sure that each moving part is properly lubricated to avoid squeaky sounds while working out on your elliptical.  


Conclusion

Lubricating your elliptical machine is an essential part of home care maintenance when it comes to your home gym. If you want your machine to last for years and to work properly, then you need to lubricate it every six months. Keep your elliptical lubricated, and you'll be able to work out for years to come.

Paul J

Last Updated on March 5, 2022