A treadmill plays an important role if you are a fitness enthusiast and want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A treadmill improves your heart and overall health. You don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home.
To keep your treadmill working like new, it’s important to regularly clean and maintain it (see our complete guide here). It will also be important to make sure the belt is always at the correct tightness. The belt will stretch and loosen over time, which means you’ll need to tighten it every so often.
When the treadmill belt slips, it becomes problematic in the middle of the workout and disturbs your pace. Belt slipping is a very common issue, creating more hassles than benefits. But no worries! You can fix a loose treadmill belt by following these simple and effective steps.
Why Does A Treadmill Belt Slip?
Treadmill belts become loose and slip due to several common reasons. These three issues will happen to virtually every treadmill over time.
The Belt Is Worn Out
One of the most common causes of slipping treadmill belts is the belt has become stretched and worn over time. The friction of your feet on the belt, combined with heat and sweat produced by the workout, gradually wears down the belt’s surface. The wear and tear lessen the belt’s ability to grasp on the rollers, leading to its slippage.
The two most common types of wear are loss of texture/grip and loss of tension. When the texture/grip of the belt diminishes over time, it’s like the soles of your shoes wearing over time. They have less and less grip and eventually stop being useful.
Loss of tension happens because the belt will stretch as you use it. Higher-quality belts stretch less than lower quality (see our treadmill buying guide to see examples of treadmills with high-quality belts).
The Belt Is Loose
Often the belt slips if it’s not tight enough. This can happen due to the belt stretching, as stated above. It can also happen because the rollers that drive the belt lose tension.
A loose belt can also serve as a reason causing the treadmill to become unstable, leading to the risk of serious injury. You can check whether the belt is loose by placing your foot on the belt center and then pushing it downwards while the treadmill is running at a slow speed. If you can make the belt stop by adding pressure, it’s too loose and needs to be tightened.
Another indicator that your belt is loose can be seen when you start your treadmill while standing on it. If you hear the rollers start to slide under the belt before the belt starts to move, the belt is too loose. The belt should move the instant the machine starts.
The Belt Lacks Lubrication
Improved lubrication is another common reason for treadmill belt slippage. In this case, your belt isn’t moving much at all, and tightening it doesn’t help.
The deck, walking belt, and rollers are the treadmill’s lubrication points. No lubrication leads to friction, resulting in excess heat, wear, and tear. This extra wear can cause the belt to slip. The lack of lubrication can also cause the belt to get stuck to the unlubricated surfaces. When this happens, the rollers continue to turn but can’t grip the belt with enough force to overcome the lack of lubrication.
That’s why proper belt lubrication is necessary for a well-functioning treadmill.
Best Ways to Fix A Treadmill Belt That Is Slipping
Now that we have discussed the main reasons which cause the slipping of the treadmill belt. The next step is to discover how to stop a treadmill belt from slipping.
Identify The Problem
The first and most important step in fixing a slipping treadmill belt is to identify why it’s slipping. Use the three most common reasons listed above as your guide. If your belt is worn and slick, it may be time to tighten or replace the belt. If the belt is in good condition but seems loose on the rollers, It’s time to tighten it. And if you look at your belt and wonder if it’s even safe anymore, it’s probably time to replace it.
How To Tighten A Treadmill Belt
A slippery belt indicates that the belt has worn over time and is loose. A belt that looks to be in good shape, but is still slipping, is probably stretched and loose.
Basically, the rollers that turn the belt don’t have enough grip to move it. Tightening your treadmill belt is an easy, do-it-yourself option that will stop the belt from slipping and prolong the life of your treadmill.
Every treadmill is a bit different in the exact method of belt adjustment, but all are straightforward. The only tool you’ll usually need is the allen key that most likely came with your treadmill.
Here is the most common method of tightening your treadmill belt. Please refer to your owner’s manual for directions specific to your unit.
- First, stop the treadmill.
- Locate the adjustment bolts at the back of the treadmill. There are generally two bolts, one on either side of the treadmill deck. They are often located behind small access holes but may be protruding depending on your model.
- Use an Allen key (often provided with your treadmill) to tighten the bolts on either side of the treadmill.
- Turn each bolt 1/4 turn.
- Start the treadmill and check for tightness.
- If the belt is still loose, tighten the bolts on each side of the treadmill and repeat the method until the desired tension is attained.
- Do not exceed three full turns on the tightening screws.
- If the problem persists, contact your manufacturer for service.
How To Lubricate A Treadmill Belt
Treadmill belts can get dry with time and lead to slipping. To prevent this, it’s important to lubricate your treadmill belt regularly to extend its longevity. Lubricating can prevent the belt from slipping and reduce erosion in the machine.
Please refer to your owner’s manual for specific lubrication instructions. Lubrication points vary from model to model, and adding lubrication where it isn’t needed can harm your treadmill.
- Shutt down the treadmill and unplug it from the power source.
- Lift the treadmill belt and apply a small amount of lubricant to the deck. We recommend a silicone-based treadmill lubricant like this one you can pick up on Amazon.
- Spread the lubricant smoothly using a clean microfibre cloth over the deck’s surface.
- Lower the belt and plug in the treadmill.
- Turn on the treadmill and allow it to run for a few minutes to let the lubricant spread smoothly.
- Check the tension of the belt and adjust it if needed.
How To Clean Your Treadmill Belt and Deck
It’s important to keep your treadmill belt and deck clean to maintain its functionality. Accumulation of dirt, dust, and debris can cause friction which interrupts the working of the walking belt leading to its slippage. To avoid this, clean your treadmill regularly.
We wrote a complete step-by-step guide to cleaning your treadmill that you can read here. Here’s the short version:
- Turn off the treadmill and unplug it from the power source.
- Use a soft cloth or brush to remove dirt from the treadmill belt and deck.
- Use a vacuum to collect all dust and debris.
- Use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe out the whole surface of the deck.
- Allow the treadmill to dry thoroughly before using it again.
- Never clean the console with anything other than screen-cleaning wipes like these.
How To Replace Your Treadmill Belt or Deck
If your treadmill belt or deck is worn or damaged, it’s a signal to replace it with a new one because walking or running on a worn-out belt can be dangerous, as it may slip or break during a workout.
Following are some steps to replace a time-worn belt or deck. While this can be a do-it-yourself project, we don’t recommend it. If your treadmill needs a new belt or deck, it’s best to either buy a new treadmill or have a professional do the repair.
- Turn off the treadmill and unplug it from the outlet.
- Remove the screws that attach the cover over the deck.
- Then, raise the treadmill deck and take off the old belt.
- Install a new belt by making sure it’s tight and centered.
- Lower the deck and replace the cover.
- Plug the treadmill back into the power source and turn it on to examine the new belt or deck.
Ultimately, the treadmill is one the best exercise equipment that provides the most worthwhile and safe cardiovascular workouts. However, a common problem that treadmill users face is the slippage of belts during workouts. This article has discovered the causes of belt slippage and some best ways to fix the issue.
By following all the above instructions, you can always enjoy smooth and uninterrupted workouts on your treadmill for years to come.
Do some brands have better belts that last longer and need less tightening than others?
Yes! This is one of the biggest differences you’ll see between cheap treadmills and nice ones. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but if you buy a no-name unit from Amazon that only runs a couple hundred dollars, you’re gonna get lower quality parts across the board, including the belt.
My treadmill belt is off-center. How do I fix that?
This happens when one side is looser than the other. To fix this, use only one of the adjustment screws that tighten the belt. Turn the unit on at about 5mph. Find the side of the belt that’s closest to the edge. Now tighten that side’s screw 1/4 turn at a time until your belt is centered.
My treadmill belt continues to slip no matter how tight I make it. What should I do?
When this happens, it’s time to call a service tech. Using a treadmill that’s slipping like this can be dangerous. We wouldn’t use your tread until you have someone from the mfr. or an authorized service company look at it.