Adjusting Your Treadbelt

Adjusting Your Treadbelt:

Note: Fitness Plus Equipment Services, Inc. is in no way responsible for any damage or injury to your person or equipment resulting from the use of these instructions. If after you read these instructions, you are not sure that you can complete this adjustment properly, it is recommended that you contact a qualified professional to complete these repairs. Additionally, these instructions are not meant for treadmills with self adjusting treadbelt systems. These systems are complex and should be worked on by a qualified professional.

Treadbelt adjustment can cure many symptoms of treadmill ailment, but many of these symptoms can also be caused by other problems. With few exceptions, most treadmills have a treadbelt, also called a walking belt or running belt. Other treadmills use track based walking surfaces, or other systems. We are going to look simply at proper adjustment of your treadbelt in this article.

The Basics

The first thing we need to do is identify a few of the parts on your treadmill. When referring to parts or places on your treadmill, everything is from the view point of the user standing on the treadmill in a regular use position. For example: the user right side of the treadmill is the right side of the treadmill from the view point of the person using the unit. The front of the treadmill is the side the user faces when they are using the treadmill.

Your treadbelt rotates around two drums on the front and back of the unit. These are referred to as the front and rear rollers respectively. Usually your front roller, and sometimes your rear roller are completely or partially hidden by covers. Occasionally these rollers are held in place by the covers themselves. If your roller is not held in place by a cover you should remove the covers over the rollers now. The way these are removed vary widely from treadmill to treadmill. Your user's manual may explain this procedure.

Now that the covers are removed, we can identify your drive roller. Your drive roller is either your front or rear roller, and it is the roller that actually drives the treadbelt, or in some self propelled models, the roller that resists movement. This roller is the roller that usually has a pulley attached to the roller and a belt or strap around that pulley. Most of the time the drive roller is the front roller, but some treadmills are designed with the rear roller being the drive roller. The surface which supports your weight as you use the treadmill, and that the treadbelt runs on top of is known as your deck.

Treadbelt adjustment is all about correctly using the adjustment points on the front and/or rear rollers, so we need to first identify these adjustment points. There are many ways in which manufacturers set up adjustment points on rollers. Your rollers will have a shaft on them that remains stationary as the roller itself turns. The adjustment points are attached to this shaft, and are used to move the roller toward the front or rear of the unit. The most common way of adjusting the rollers is a bolt threaded through the shaft of the roller.

Let's Adjust!

Now that some of our terminology is defined, let's adjust the treadbelt. The first thing we need to do is start the treadbelt running at about 3 MPH. A treadbelt naturally wants to be as loose as possible, and will move to the side that is loosest. If your treadbelt has moved to the right side of your machine, then the right side of the treadbelt is not as tight as the left side. To correct this we need to tighten up the right side to the point of equal tension on both sides. On the more common bolt type adjustment systems, you'll want to turn the bolt 1/4 of a turn at a time, wait 30 seconds for the belt to move and turn again if necessary. Only small adjustments are required to move the treadbelt left or right, 1/4 turn of the adjustment bolts at a time suggested. Tightening the treadbelt requires tightening the treadbelt equally on both sides.

Congratulations, you've learned to adjust/tighten your treadbelt! Just a few comments about other issues that might cause similar problems on your machine:

  • Uneven floors can cause a treadbelt to move to one side, particularly when someone is walking on it. If you are having this problem, you should move the treadmill to a level place on the floor.

  • Slipping on a treadmill is not always caused by a loose treadbelt, you may have a loose drive belt or a slipping pulley on the drive roller causing this problem.

  • Foreign objects can cause alignment problems too: shoes, sandals, kids toys, etc. You'd be surprised what repair professionals have found inside of treadmills causing belt tracking problems as well as a host of other problems.

  • You want your treadbelt just tight enough so that it does not slip. Do not over tension the treadbelt; doing so will shorten the life of the roller bearings and/or damage the treadbelt.