Treadmills are some of the best fitness machines you can have in your home. They help you burn calories, lose weight and stay in shape throughout the year without worrying about the harsh outdoor elements. Moreover, they're less strenuous on the joints, allowing you to run with less risk of injury.
However, although most treadmills are designed to last for decades, most of their moving components can only handle 5 - 10 years of continued use. The treadmill belt is the most vulnerable part to wear and damage, causing it to wear out and break over time.
Luckily, manufacturers have made it extremely easy to replace the treadmill belt once it gets worn out. Some treadmill owners even choose to replace the belt to upgrade to a better quality one.
Whichever the case, before you undertake this task, you need to know how to replace a treadmill. Don't worry, though! By the time you're done reading this guide, you'll easily replace any treadmill belt in no time!
First, how do you know if your treadmill belt needs to be replaced? Let's start from there!
Signs That Your Treadmill Running Belt Needs Replacement
As already mentioned, keeping your treadmill walking belt in good condition is important, especially if you use the machine regularly. However, it's not always obvious that the walking belt is worn out and needs to be replaced. For that reason, there are certain factors you should look out for to determine whether it's time for treadmill belt replacement. Some of them include;
A worn-out walking belt causes the treadmill to run less smoothly or even damage the motor over time. To determine if the belt is worn out, loosen the belt and check for areas with uneven wear on both sides. Also, if you find extreme smoothness on the running surface, you'll certainly need a new belt. The new belt will be much more durable and can withstand higher speeds & weights.
Secondly, if the belt has any significant deformation like frayed edges, cuts, snags, and cracks, you may need to replace it. If necessary, remove the treadmill belt and carefully examine it for any darkened patches. At the same time, look for smooth patches caused by friction.
Loose seams in treadmill belts can come apart, causing serious injury while training on the machine. To check:
- Run your finger along the belt's underside seam.
- Look whether the seam is coming apart, wearing, or fraying.
- Consider replacing your treadmill belt immediately if you encounter any of these signs!
A slipping belt will randomly lurch you forward, causing you to stumble as you run on the treadmill. This makes it difficult and unsafe to use the machine. Moreover, it can cause the treadmill speed to slow down when you step onto the deck.
If you notice any of these issues, switch off the treadmill and inspect the problem. In some instances, tightening the belt if it's lifting for more than a few inches will help solve this issue. However, if that doesn't fix the problem, look for other options like treadmill belt repair or replacement.
The treadmill belt should be adequately lubricated to ensure smooth and even movement over the rollers. Besides, this will reduce friction between the belt and the deck, thus increasing the belt's durability. To check if the belt has proper lubrication, lift it by hand and inspect for excessive drying or wear. Alternatively, you can remove the belt completely to inspect it correctly.
If the belt isn't worn out, you can lubricate it to keep it functional. But if it's worn out or shows any signs I've mentioned above, you'll have to replace it!
Age of your treadmill belt
Treadmill belts aren't designed to last forever as they wear out over time, hence the need to replace them. In most cases, how often you need to replace the belt will depend on how often you use the machine.
If you run on your treadmill regularly, you should replace the belt every 1 - 2 years. But if you use it occasionally, you can replace it after 3 - 5 years. Investing in a new moving belt will provide a smoother, more consistent surface and increase your machine's longevity.
However, it's important to check your machine's walking belt every 6 months, even if it has no noticeable issues. That way, you can quickly identify potential problems and make necessary repairs before the machine completely breaks down.
How to Change a Belt on a Treadmill
After inspecting your treadmill and determining that the belt needs to be replaced, gather the tools you'll need for the task. Some of these items include;
- Set of Allen wrenches
- Phillips screwdriver
- Marker/ Felt tip
- A new treadmill belt
Once you've gathered all the needed tools, follow these steps to replace the treadmill belt;
a. Unplug the treadmill
Before you inspect the walking belt, remove all electrical connections from your treadmill, including the safety key, then unplug it. This eliminates the risk of shock if you accidentally press the button while replacing the belt.
b. Remove the motor hood
Remove the screws holding the motor hood in place with your Philips screwdriver and extract it from the treadmill frame to expose its components. Next, use a screwdriver to loosen the tension roller bolts found on the back of your treadmill. This will loosen the belt to allow you to feel its interior surface and inspect its appearance.
c. Mark the roller position
After removing the motor hood, mark out the positions of the rear and front roller bolts with a felt tip or permanent marker. Then, use an Allen wrench to loosen the roller bolts to adjust the rear and front rollers.
d. Remove the rear and front rollers
Loosen and take out the screws on both sides to remove the roller. Remember, these are the same screws that affect the belt tension.
Repeat the same process to remove the front roller. Once you remove the screws, you can take out the rear and front rollers.
e. Remove the old walking belt
Use the adjustment bolt at the rear of your treadmill to loosen the walking belt. First, ensure the belt is loose enough to fit your hand underneath to check the belt tension. Next, remove the front roller adjustment bolt, followed by the old treadmill belt.
However, this method may not work with some treadmills, especially high-end models fitted with straddle covers with a slide-mount or an under-mount. If the straddle covers don't have staples or bolts, don't remove them forcibly. But if they have bolts and staples, use a flathead screwdriver for popping the plastic deck on the right-hand side. And if the covers are held in place by screws, unscrew and remove them.
f. Remove the deck bolts
Take out the 3 or 4 deck bolts attached to the underside of your treadmill. Once you've done that, remove the rear roller screws, plastic end caps, and the roller at the back of your treadmill.
g. Remove the motor belt
If your treadmill has a handrail on the right-hand side attached to the base, remove it first. Next, ask your partner or friend to hold the front roller close to the pulley and lift the deck as you slide the walking belt off the equipment.
h. Replacing a treadmill belt
Before you install a new replacement belt, ensure the deck board surface is not worn out, and the floor is level. In addition, clean the rollers to remove any wax or debris.
Now, carefully slide on the new one and ensure it's in the center of the treadmill. Also, check underneath it to ensure it's perfectly positioned in the middle.
i. Replace the rear roller
Replace the end caps and rear rollers. Afterward, put the rear adjustment bolts and the motor cover back into position and secure them.
For treadmill models with straddle covers, you have to replace them. Alternatively, you can use the screws to secure the plastic side deck if they were initially fastened or stapled down.
Put the straddle cover back in place and refasten the front roller belt. Next, rotate the adjustment bolt with the Allen Wrench to tighten the walking belt. Make sure you return the adjustment screws to the position you had marked earlier before removing the belt.
k. Adjust the belt
Lift the treadmill belt with your finger in the middle to check if it has an appropriate tightness. For example, a belt with the right tension should only lift about 2 - 3 inches from the treadmill deck. If the gap between the belt and the deck is less or more than this, adjust it accordingly.
In addition, adjust the position of the treadmill belt. For instance, if it's too close to the left, turn the left side at the treadmill's rear to the right (Clockwise). And if it's too close to the right, turn the bolt to the left (counterclockwise) using the Allen wrench until it's centered.
l. Test the treadmill
After replacing the treadmill belt, plug it back on and walk on the machine at a very slow setting to examine if it's working properly. If necessary, make the needed adjustments and replace the motor hood. For instance, if the belt slips when you walk on it, turn the right and left adjustments once. Next, test the treadmill again until you're satisfied with its performance, then put its motor hood back in place.
Use a non-fraying, clean cloth between the treadmill deck and belt. To accomplish that, push the cloth between the end of the treadmill and the belt until you hold on to both sides of the walking belt. Now, drag the cloth back and forth over the length of the running belt 1 - 2 times.
Apply a silicone lubricant under the moving belt perpendicular to the motor cover about 6" from one side of the machine. Repeat on the other side of the belt. Plug in the treadmill, turn it on and walk at a moderate pace for 5 minutes until the lubricant spreads out evenly under the belt.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Treadmill Belt?
Generally speaking, the cost of replacing your treadmill belt will depend on the model and brand of your fitness equipment. Also, the cost may vary depending on whether you hire a professional or install the best yourself.
However, it's essential to check if your machine is still under warranty before you buy a new belt. Some manufacturers offer extended warranties on several treadmill parts, including the belt.
If you're still planning to buy a replacement belt, you should note that there are various options available in terms of cost and quality. In most cases, the cost of acquiring a new treadmill belt ranges from $ 50 - $200.
The same case applies to the replacement and repair fees. For example, if you hire someone to install the new belt for you, the replacement cost may increase by about $100 - $150. As a result, the total cost of treadmill belt replacement can be between $150 and $400.
Overall, replacing a treadmill belt is a relatively simple process that you can do yourself. However, if you've never done it before, it's good to seek help from someone more experienced in the task.
More importantly, check out the signs I've mentioned before replacing the belt. This will help you determine whether the belt needs to be replaced or the issue can be fixed by a simple treadmill walking belt repair. Whichever the case, it's important to regularly inspect your treadmill belt to ensure you have a safe and healthy workout.
1. Why should you change the treadmill walking belt?
Exercising on the treadmill intensely impacts various machine components, including motor and deck belts. As a result, the belt loses its lower or upper surface roughness over time, which can cause some problems. For instance, worn-out treadmill belts can break any time, leading to minor accidents or falling. At the same time, it exerts more pressure on the motor and other treadmill components, increasing its energy consumption.
2. What causes a treadmill belt to stop working suddenly?
Various factors can suddenly cause your treadmill running belt to stop working, starting with wear and tear. In addition, improper treadmill belt installation can cause the belt to come off while using the machine. Lastly, a malfunctioning motor can break the walking belt, hindering the machine from functioning properly.
3. How often should I replace my treadmill belt?
Treadmill belts start to show signs of wear & tear over time. Therefore, replacing them from time to time is important, depending on how often you use the machine. Generally, a quality running belt can handle 300 to 500 hours of use, which is about 5 - 10 years for most treadmill users.
4. What type of walking belt should you buy for your treadmill?
First, determine the size of the belt you need by measuring its length and width. The width of the belt can be in millimeters or inches, but the length is usually in inches. More importantly, the size of your replacement belt should always be the same as your old one to ensure it fits properly.
To get accurate dimensions, use a tape measure to measure the belt from its center. Alternatively, check if the current belt has dimensions of its width and length on its underside.
5. Are all treadmill belts the same size?
As I've mentioned above, you should ensure that the replacement belt is compatible with your treadmill model. Unfortunately, treadmill belts aren't universal and are available in various sizes. Generally, you can find belts 40 - 60" long and 13 - 22" wide.