Treadmills are a fantastic way to stay in shape, and the last year had led to a sharp rise in treadmill ownership. They’re great because they allow you to get a great workout without having to worry about the elements, and they’ve been proven to have less strain on your joints. This allows you to run with freedom knowing you have much less risk of injury.
Most treadmills take some maintenance, and different components will need to be replaced from time to time. The treadmill belt will bear the brunt of the impact, and if it starts to break, then the treadmill can’t be used. This guide will help you understand when and how to replace treadmill belt quickly and safely.
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Signs Your Treadmill Belt Is Worn Out
Remember that even the best treadmills can become damaged, and it’s not always obvious that your treadmill belt is worn out. You need to check it regularly to make sure it’s safe to use, and there's a couple of key things to look for:
Check For Slippage
Your treadmill belt can slip, which means it randomly lurches you forward as you run. This can make it difficult or even dangerous to use. If you start to notice an issue, then you'll need to switch the treadmill off and check to see how much slack there is. If the belt lifts more than a few inches, you'll need to tighten it up.
Check For Lubrication
Your belt needs to be properly lubricated so that it can move over the rollers in an even, flowing motion. You can lift the belt up by hand and check to see if the wax on the bottom of the belt has worn away or if it’s been dry for too long. You may need to fully remove the belt to inspect it properly.
Check For Smoothness
It’s easy to spot if your belt has become worn or frayed, but equally important is to check for smooth patches worn down by friction. You’ll need to remove the belt and carefully examine it, looking for dark patches which are worn down. You should run your hand over it and see if it feels smoother in different areas.
Flip The Deck
Some treadmill decks are designed to be flipped, so you get more use from them (sort of like flipping your mattress). You’ll need to check the deck to make sure it's not cracked because this could mean you need to replace it entirely.
When Should You Replace A Treadmill Belt? (Vs. Fixing It)
We’ve talked about a few ways to check a treadmill belt, but you may be able to tell if you need to replace the belt just by using it. If it jolts you or impacts your overall performance, then it probably needs to be replaced.
Likewise, if it starts to become noticeably easier or hard to run on, then your belt may be damaged. Another noticeable sign is if it starts to become hot to touch and then you should definitely think about replacing it.
In some of these cases, you may just need to tighten the treadmill belt, but it might be that the whole belt needs to be replaced.
No matter what type of treadmill you own, you should always check your treadmill belt every 6 months, even if there are no noticeable issues. This will help you identify problems early so you can make necessary repairs before it fully breaks down. Your treadmill belt will need to be replaced every 3-5 years, but this will be influenced by how much you use it.
How To Change A Treadmill Belt (Step by Step Guide)
Now you’ve gone through the motions and established there’s an issue, you need to know how to change the treadmill. We’ve provided a step-by-step guide below, but first you'll need:
The picture below gives a quick breakdown of the different parts of a typical treadmill.
- 1Disconnect The Treadmill
Unplug the treadmill and remove all the different connections so that there’s no risk of a shock. Take off the hood to the motor.
- 2Mark The Roller Position
Use the felt tip to mark out the roller position on the front and back bolts.
- 3Loosen The Walking Belt
Loosen the walking belt and remove the adjustment bolt at the front of the roller. If your treadmill has one, then remove the straddle cover by carefully prying up the staples.
- 4Remove The Deck Bolts
Remove the bolts attached to the underside of the treadmill on the deck.
- 5Remove The Rear Roller
Undo the screws from the rear roller and remove any endcaps. This will allow you to remove the roller at the back of the treadmill.
- 6Remove The Motor Belt
Have a friend or partner lift the treadmill up so that you can slide the running belt off the treadmill.
- 7Replace The Running Belt
After you’ve removed the old belt, you can slide on a new one. Take your time with this and make sure it’s in the dead center of the treadmill. Once it’s on, then check underneath to make sure it's in the middle.
- 8Replace The Rear Roller
Replace the screws and endcaps onto the rear roller. Put the bolts into position and tighten them securely in place.
- 9Tighten The Belt
Refasten the front roller belt and put any straddle cover back in place. Rotate the adjustment screw to tighten the running belt. This should align with the marks you made in step 2.
- 10Check The Belt
Lift the running belt in the middle to make sure it’s an appropriate tightness. It should lift between 2 and 3 inches away from the treadmill, but no more. Adjust as necessary.
- 11Test The Treadmill
Plug everything back in and test the treadmill on a very slow setting to make sure it’s all working. Make any adjustments as needed and once you’re done, replace the motor hood. Remember, safety comes first, and you’ll need a friend to help you with this. A complete guide to changing a treadmill belt can be found below.
Top Brands: Treadmill Belt Replacement Instructions
Every make and model of treadmill is built slightly differently, and you should always consult the manufacturer's guide and follow their instruction. Here are some tips for the leading brands:
Proform treadmills have 3 screws at the front of the treadmill and 2 on either side at the front. You’ll need to remove all of these so you can lift the motor panel off. You’ll then need to lift it up off the ground and remove 4 screws from one of the sides of the base. This will allow you to remove one side cover.
Then you can remove all the other screws on the side you have removed the side cover from. You’ll need to use a wrench to loosen the bolts. You’ll now be able to lift up the treadmill and slide the belt off so you can replace it.
To remove a Weslo treadmill belt, you’ll need to follow the generic steps we listed above but be sure to check the manufacturer's guide for any specific instructions. The only real difference is that you will need to use a hex key to loosen the treadmill belt. The belt will come off over the top roller.
To remove the belt from a Nordictrack treadmill, you’ll need to remove the side rails, which will just lift off once you lower the treadmill. You’ll then need to remove the idler roller from the back of the unit by loosening the idler bolts. After this, you should be able to lift the drive roller off the belt, which will allow you to slide the belt from the walking board.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How long do treadmills belts usually last?
Treadmill belts can usually take 300-500 hours of use which can be anywhere between 5 and 10 years of use for most people.
Why does my treadmill belt not move?
This is probably because the belt is too tight. You’ll need to loosen it to get rid of the tension. The adjuster is underneath the treadmill.
How much does it cost to service a treadmill?
On average, it can cost $150-$200 to service a treadmill, so it really does pay to take care of it.
How much does it cost to replace a treadmill belt?
A new treadmill belt will cost $200-300. This doesn’t factor in the time cost of replacing it yourself, either.
Is it worth replacing a treadmill belt or buying a new machine?
It’s almost always worth replacing the treadmill belt instead of buying a new machine. It’s simple to do and much cheaper than replacing the whole treadmill.
Treadmills are a great way to stay in shape, but they need regular maintenance. Your treadmill belt is the most important part of the treadmill, and unfortunately, you probably will have to replace it at some point. Hopefully, this guide has given you some useful information to help you understand when you need to replace a treadmill belt and how to do it without any hassle.