How To Replace & Tighten Belt On Elliptical (Complete Guide)

An elliptical is an excellent tool to use to help you get the workout that you need. As long as you maintain the machine, it can last for years to come. At some point, though, you may need to complete some maintenance on the elliptical to make sure that it continues to work well. One of these steps is tightening the belt so it stays in place.  

Our guide is here to show you the steps you need to learn how to tighten the belt on an elliptical. This is easier to do than it may seem, and with some of the steps below, you can get it done in no time.  

The purpose of the drive belt on the elliptical, whether it comes in the front or the back, is to transmit a force between the powered pulley and the other one. This will often be a small powered wheel that is next to another wheel without power, connected together through the drive belt.

The exchange of force is there to help reduce some of the output speed from the motor. When the little wheel is turning fast, it will complete several rotations ahead of the big wheel. Since you will not be able to move your legs as fast as the smaller wheel is turning, the drive belt is there to keep the speed of that larger wheel a little slower.

If you want more information about the different types of elliptical machines and how they work, read through our complete guide.

people exercising on elliptical machines

When Should You Replace An Elliptical Belt?

The drive belt is designed to be strong and last a long time. Unless you are using the elliptical nonstop, it is likely that you can keep the belt in place for five to seven years. You may need to retighten the belt between that time.  

It is possible to go into the machine and retighten the belt, even when it is in good shape. This helps the belt last longer and prevents any snagging or other issues that could ruin the belt overall. And since it is quick to do, it will prolong the life of the elliptical and keep it safe to use.


How To Replace Belt On Ellipticals (Step By Step Guide)

Replacing the elliptical belt does not have to be difficult. When it is done the right way, you can get the belt tightened and ready to go. Let’s take a closer look at how to do this.

Tools Required

You will need a few tools in place to help you get the belt tightened on the elliptical. Some of these include: 

  • A Flathead Screwdriver
    This will help you get the components open to reach the drive belt within the machine. 
  • An Allen Key
    This can help get out some of the different bolts and screws that are stuck down in there, especially ones that are too hard to get through other means. 
  • A Wrench
    This can help move some of the screws and get things tightened up the way they should. 
  • A New Drive Belt
    Check the kind of elliptical that you have and make sure to purchase a drive belt that is meant for it if you end up needing a replacement. 

Instructions

With the tools ready to go, it is time to start tightening the drive belt. Start by removing the casings. Next, with the help of the flathead screwdriver, pop the casing from the right-hand axle. Then unscrew the underside casing to get these removed.

Next are the roller arms. You will need the Allen key to help with this. Unscrew the washer and the screw from the axel before removing the cover and screw off the roller arm. Take the roller arm off and repeat with the other side.

Remove the housings by unhooking the shield cover cap, sliding it up to help get to the shield cover to remove. Take off the disk covers with a screwdriver to pop them off. Remove the side shields by unscrewing them.

Loosen the drive belt. Using your wrench, you can loosen up the pivot bolt and the adjustment bolt to get the tension released. Rotate the bigger wheel to help the belt walk off it well, and then leave it there for now.

Use your screwdriver to help press down a bit at the resistance cable in the smaller wheel, helping to release some tension. Unwind and remove the cable off the motor. Take the lock nut off the eddy mechanism and remove this.

Once the eddy mechanism is out of the way, take out the old drive belt and put a new one in place. Then, when the belt is tight enough that you can’t fit your fingers under it, you can start to go through reverse to get the parts back in place.

replace elliptical belt

Tightening The Belt – How Tight Should It Be?

When you follow the steps above, you need to ensure that the belt drive is tight, but not too tight. It needs to be tight enough that you are not able to get your fingers to go under it but still loose enough to not stretch it too much.  

You should watch out for some of the common signs of the belt not being tight enough. For example, if you notice there are squeaking sounds or the pedals on the elliptical do not seem to be having as much tension as before, this is a sign that you will need to tighten up the belt.

You can also take a look at the elliptical and check the belt. Follow some of the steps above to see how the belt looks. If it appears to be loose, it is time to tighten the belt or get a new one.


Belt Replacement For Popular Elliptical Brands

Nordictrack

To help tighten or remove the belt on a NordicTrack elliptical, simply: 

  1. 1
    Take the center and the upright covers off.  
  2. 2
    Make sure the upright arm and legs are separated
  3. 3
    Take the hand belt shields off both sides. 
  4. 4
    Take off the side covers and the arm for the left side. 
  5. 5
    Either tighten the belt or put a new one in place. 
  6. 6
    Put the left side all back together
  7. 7
    Put the right side back together. 

We also have a complete guide to the best NordicTrack ellipticals on the market!

Precor

To replace the belt in the Precor machine, you can go to the motor mount plate and loosen it. Slide the motor to the front to loosen and remove the belt. Replace the belt and tighten the motor back to add more tension to the belt, but not too much. If the belt is fraying and falling apart, take the time to replace it. Put everything back in place when done.

If you're looking for a new Precor elliptical, jump over to our Precor elliptical showdown where we review all the top models.

Proform 

To remove or tighten the belt on a Proform elliptical, you can remove the bolt that will hold the right pedal arm to the shaft. Disconnect this arm. Take the screws off from the right panel and set the panel to the side. Look at the belt around the small pulley. You can use a screwdriver to tighten this up or replace it. Put the panels back in place, and the elliptical is good to go.

See Also - Best ProForm Elliptical Machines


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Do ellipticals need to be lubricated? 

If you plan to use the elliptical each day, then you will need to lubricate it at least once a year. For heavy use, it is necessary to do this two times a year. That helps make sure that the belt and other components will not fail and not work any longer.

How do you lubricate an elliptical belt? 

You should consider lubricating the belt every four to six months, depending on your use. You will need to wipe down the belt with a clean and dry cloth to remove the dirt. Do not use WD-40 or other caustic agents to help lubricate the ramp and the wheels or the belt. Instead, use an approved lubricant on the belt to make sure that it does not dry out.

How long does it take to replace the belt of an elliptical machine? 

While you should replace the belt of your elliptical machine every five to seven years, many wonder how long it takes to get the work done. Set aside about twenty minutes to do this. This gives you time to take apart the machine and put it together. Unless you have a reason to replace them often, it is going to take longer than for a professional.

How much is an elliptical machine belt? 

The overall cost for an elliptical belt will depend on the brand that you would like to purchase for. The average cost to get an elliptical belt from Walmart or Amazon will range from $25 to $40 for most major brands. If you pay to have someone install the belt for you, the costs will be higher.


Conclusion

When you own an elliptical, it is essential that you take good care of the belt. This helps the elliptical run how it should and prevent it from breaking or running down. When it is time to replace the belt to keep the machine running for a long time, take a look at some of the steps above to help.

Paul J

Last Updated on March 5, 2022