Does your treadmill belt hesitate a little bit with every step? Is the belt making more noise than it did when the treadmill was new? If you’re experiencing these symptoms your treadmill is most assuredly overdue for lubrication.
The consequences of not keeping your treadmill well lubricated can be very costly. Too much friction can lead to motor or controller board burnout, premature degradation of the treadmill belt and/or delamination of the board, and dramatically higher energy consumption. Not to mention the discomfiting belt hesitation, which will worsen over time.
How often should I lubricate?
Common advice varies. On one end of the spectrum is the recommendation of lubricating your treadmill every 40 hours of use, or 3 months, whichever comes first. On the other is counsel that you only have to lube once a year if the treadmill is used under 10 hours per week, or twice a year if it’s used over 10 hours per week. Based on our own experience with numerous brands of treadmills, and our own laboratory tests, we suggest following the 40 hour rule at a minimum.
At iMovR we’ve developed our own definitive methodology for determining the ideal frequency of lubrication for our treadmill desks. We use a simple, inexpensive Kill-A-Watt meter to measure the power consumption of our treadmills. As soon as we see a change in electricity usage of more than 10% as compared to a factory-fresh unit, we lubricate. This can be as frequently as once a week with shared workstations that see a lot of miles, or as infrequently as every three to five weeks for single user workstations. Now that we’ve perfected the lubricant bottle design to make it a fast, no-mess affair, there’s no reason not to lubricate your cherished equipment on a regular schedule.
Results will vary based on environmental cleanliness, static charge build-up, humidity, the wear condition of the belt and board, weight of the user(s) and other factors, so there’s nothing more definitive than a wattage reading to tell you when it’s time. For more information about the different factors affecting your treadmill’s power consumption (and thus, need of lubricant), take a look at this article on the Top Five Tips for Keeping your Treadmill Desk Green.