How to Make the Belt Run Smoothly on a Manual Treadmill

Woman's Legs Running on a Treadmill
Close up of woman's legs running treadmill. (Image: Ian Wyatt/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Manual treadmills are similar in design and function to automatic treadmills but lack a motor unit to drive the walking belt. Instead, you push the belt backward with your feet, gradually accelerating; eventually, momentum helps to keep the belt in motion. Despite this difference, manual treadmills experience some of the same problems faced by automatic treadmills, such as belt misalignment and insufficient lubrication. In such cases, a few basic maintenance procedures will help to restore the device to working order.

Step 1

Lower the end of the treadmill's walking deck to the lowest incline setting. Step onto the walking belt and hold onto the handrails. Push off on the walking belt and begin running on the treadmill. Continue until the walking belt gains momentum, then dismount the treadmill and stand at the rear of the walking deck.

Step 2

Watch the walking belt as it moves. Inspect the gaps between the sides of the belt and the walking deck's side rails. Determine which direction you must shift the belt in order to make the two gaps equal.

Step 3

Inspect the end caps attached to the rear of the deck and locate the two rear-roller adjustment bolts. To shift the walking belt to the right, turn the left bolt to the right a quarter turn and the right bolt to the left a quarter turn. Turn the bolts in the opposite direction to shift the belt to the left.

Step 4

Turn both bolts an equal number of turns to the left to loosen the centered belt from the walking deck. Insert the tube of lubricant under the belt. Squeeze a line of lubricant across the center of the deck, from one side rail to the other.

Step 5

Turn the adjustment bolts an equal number of turns to the right until you are able to lift the belt no more than 2 or 3 inches from the walking deck. Step onto the walking belt and hold onto the handrails. Push off on the walking belt and begin running on the treadmill.

Step 6

Continue for approximately five minutes, to spread the lubricant across the surface of the walking deck; inspect the belt as it moves and recenter, if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Allen wrench

  • Silicone lubricant

Tip

Some models of manual treadmill come equipped with adjustment knobs instead of bolts, eliminating the need for an Allen wrench.

When using the adjustment bolts, turn one bolt a quarter-turn at a time, then move to the next bolt if necessary; avoid loosening the bolts too much or they may detach from the rear roller.

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