7 Reasons Your ProForm Treadmill Might Not Be Working and How to Troubleshoot It

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Image Credit: boggy22/iStock/GettyImages

If you're here, you are likely trying to troubleshoot a problem with your ProForm treadmill. First, let us say, we are sorry you are dealing with a malfunctioning machine. We fully understand the frustration and fear of a treadmill that's not working right. After all, the ProForm models range from $599 to $2,299, so spending more money to get it fixed is probably not what you want to do.

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The good news is there's hope! We did the research and talked to Jake Niedenstein, general manager at Jersey Shore Fitness Shop in Bradley Beach, New Jersey — who some might call the treadmill whisperer — to get some tips on troubleshooting your machine.

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This guide will help you with the basics of ProForm treadmill repair and maintenance. Each model is going to have its own parts and setup, so it's important to refer to your ProForm owner's manual as you work to fix your treadmill. You'll also want to check your warranty — if the treadmill is still under warranty, you might be able to get your issue fixed at no cost to you.

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Here, we'll address several common ProForm treadmill problems, including what to do when the console isn't working, the belt feels tight or slow, the motor stops working, it gets stuck on an incline or there are suddenly weird smells or noises. We'll take a look at why these issues might be happening, go through some DIY fixes and help you assess when it's time to call a repair expert.

Components of a ProForm Treadmill

First, understand the basic components of your ProForm Treadmill. "You have a belt, the deck, the console and the drive system," Niedenstein tells LIVESTRONG.com. "The belt is the moving piece of material that you walk or run on. The deck is the piece that runs along the belt."

Whether or not you can fix your own treadmill will depend on the problem itself and your own ability.

"If you're a handy person and you do work around the house — you maybe do a little bit of work on your car — I'd say yeah, maybe some of the stuff you take a shot at," Niedenstein says.

As we move through these fixes, Niedenstein says to think of the simplest solution first then work your way through the more complex issues.

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Tools to Fix Your ProForm Treadmill

Open your toolbox or junk drawer and find the following tools you'll likely need for some of these repairs:

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  • Hex key (should be provided with your ProForm treadmill)
  • If you don't have the hex key, grab an Allen wrench
  • Paperclip

Now, onto common issues and solutions.

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1. Your Treadmill Stopped Working Completely

Don't panic yet. Niedenstein says often the plug is just not all the way in the outlet. If it's plugged in properly, the ProForm user guide instructs you to unplug and re-plug the power cord. Also, a really common issue is that the safety key is loose. Make sure that's plugged in properly.

If these solutions don't work, you might be able to assess what's causing the issue by noting when it first occurred. Was it after a period when the treadmill was not in use or did it shut off in the middle of your workout?

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If you were in the middle of a treadmill workout and the entire machine just stopped, it could be an easy electrical fix. "Treadmills draw a lot of electricity when you're going fast," Niedenstein says. "You could have tripped the breaker in your house, so you'll need to go to your circuit panel and reset it. Or sometimes the treadmill itself recognizes that it's drawing too much power and shuts itself off."

This could just be an annoying glitch but a sign that you need to have the treadmill serviced. Niedenstein says that the older and more worn down the belt gets, the more electricity is used to keep the machine running. You might notice a gravel-like, rough feeling under your feet when this happens. If your machine continues to turn off while in use, you might need to lubricate the deck (information on that below) or replace the belt, which is a job for a pro.

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Now, if your treadmill stops but the power is on and the belt isn't moving, it could be an electrical issue on the internal circuit board or with the drive motor (see below for other signs it's your motor).

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ProForm advises contacting their customer service team if you suspect there is a motor or circuit board problem. They are serious about this and don't even want you opening the motor hood on your own without contacting customer service. Niedenstein says that if you're not under warranty and have some small motor repair experience, you could take a look to see if there is a solution you can handle. If you start to take the motor apart, he advises taking pictures at each stage so you can put it back together.

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2. Your Console Isn’t Working

You’re Not Connected to the Internet

One reason your ProForm console could be acting funny is your internet connection. ProForm treadmills use your home wireless network to connect to iFit, an interactive fitness training app. To fix this, use your touchscreen to go to your main menu. Select "Settings." Then select "Wireless Network Mode." If you're connected to Wi-Fi, the icon will have a green check mark.

If you're disconnected, you'll need to reconnect. Touch the Wi-Fi menu option and wait for your treadmill to search networks. If you have wireless networks available, they'll pop up. Select your preferred Wi-Fi network. If a password is required, enter your wireless password and press the "Done" button.

Your Software or Firmware Needs an Update

iFit says they're always making updates to their product to give users the best experience. Usually, your treadmill will tell you that it needs a software or firmware update, but if you notice your console isn't functioning properly, you can manually check for updates.

First, tap the menu bottom. Then open "Settings." In the next window, select "Maintenance." If you're already using the most recent version, the screen will read "Up to Date." But if not, it will say "Update Available." Tap "Update" to get your treadmill up to speed. The screen should cue you through the process.

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Don't interrupt the update it by turning off the power or unplugging the machine while you wait.

Some ProForm users have experienced a lot of issues ‌after‌ installing a specific iFit update. If your machine is out of commission after a new software installation, contact the iFit customer service team to assist you.

The Panel Turned Off or Froze

If the panel is totally unresponsive or frozen, your best bet is to try a factory reset. While this is very inconvenient because you will lose any saved settings, it's the best option to get up and running again.

According to the user manual, these are the steps to reset your treadmill:

  1. Grab a partner, this requires two people.
  2. Turn the power switch off.
  3. On the right side of the console, you'll find a very small hole — it's just large enough to fit a paperclip inside. This is where the reset button is.
  4. Grab your paperclip and straighten it so that you can insert it into the console hole.
  5. Insert the paperclip and hold the reset button down
  6. As you are holding the reset button, have your partner flip the power switch on.
  7. Keep holding the reset button down until the console comes on.

The panel should then turn off and back on again. If it doesn't do this, use the power switch to turn the machine off and then back on. Voilà, you should be up and running again.

3. Your Treadmill Belt Is Slow

The belt on your treadmill can be finicky, especially if it hasn't gotten a tune-up in a while. But have no fear, we can fix some belt issues with ease.

The Belt Is Overtightened

Maintaining the proper tension for your walking belt is essential. If your belt is at the correct tightness, you will be able to lift each edge of the belt 2 to 3 inches from the platform. If this isn't possible, you can move on to the following steps to make adjustments.

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You can adjust this using your Allen wrench or the hex key that came with the treadmill. You'll be working on the idler roller at the back of the treadmill deck (at the opposite end of your treadmill from the motor). The ProForm user guide reminds you that small adjustments to the idler roller go a long way, so don't over-adjust. Here are the steps:

  1. Unplug the treadmill.
  2. Locate the small holes that will give you access to the idler roller.
  3. Using the hex key, turn the screws counterclockwise by a quarter turn, and ensure you're tuning both sides the same amount to keep the belt centered.
  4. Plug the treadmill in and test the belt.
  5. Adjust as needed until the belt is functioning properly.

Similarly, if the belt is too loose, you'll notice it slipping and feel as though you are walking on ice. Niedenstein has a quick test you can do to see if this is the case. "Start it up and go to a very slow speed. While it's moving, just try and stop it with your foot. If you can stop it with your foot, it needs to be tightened up."

You can adjust it to be tighter by turning it clockwise.

It Needs to Be Lubricated

Like any mechanical part, too much friction can cause your belt to heat up. This can be a relatively simple fix, but not one that is advisable to try yourself. ProForm is explicit in saying not to put anything liquid on the treadmill, and that's to protect your belt.

It's best to contact ProForm directly at 1-833-680-4348. You can also consult a treadmill repair specialist to see if they can perform the required maintenance. Niedenstein has a lubricating powder at his shop that does the trick, but it's best to get an opinion on your specific machine's needs.

4. Your Treadmill Smells Like It's Burning

If there's a burning smell coming from the ProForm treadmill, it's important to figure out what is causing it ASAP for your own safety. The first step is to turn the treadmill off and unplug it.

Next, perform a thorough visual inspection. Be on the lookout for any frayed wires or misaligned parts. Interestingly, Niedenstein says this smell could be something very benign. "You'd be surprised, but it's often something just underneath the treadmill, like a gym bag, that starts to cause a burn."

Another common cause of a burning smell is friction between the belt and the deck. Check the belt tension and adjust it with the guidance in the belt section above.

The burning smell could also be caused by the motor. Sometimes the motor area just needs a good cleaning. If dust and debris are left to settle on the motor, it can cause a scary smell. You could clean the area with a dry paper towel or you could hire a treadmill repair specialist to perform this maintenance for you.

5. Your Treadmill's Motor Isn't Working Properly

One sign your motor is the problem is if the treadmill turns off suddenly in the middle of the workout. Once you've determined it's not a loose safety key, a problem with the power cord or a console problem by following those troubleshooting steps above, you can safely assume there's something wrong with the motor. Generally, you should get opinions from ProForm or hire an expert to repair any motor issue.

Erratic speeds or the treadmill not responding to the inputted speeds are also symptoms of a motor problem. If this is happening to you, it could be a problem with the signals from the circuit board to the motor or the motor itself. Again, it's best not to DIY this problem. Contact ProForm customer service and find out how they can help you get your treadmill up and running safely.

6. Your Treadmill Is Stuck on an Incline

Again, Niedenstein says to start with a visual inspection. "If you glance underneath the treadmill and there is one of your kids' toys or your dog dropped their ball and it rolled under there, it could have jammed up the whole drive system. Remove the object and see what happens."

On the other end of the spectrum, if you look under the treadmill and notice parts have literally fallen off, Niedenstein says "that could be a catastrophic failure."

But if you remove hidden obstacles or find nothing under the machine and it's still stuck on an incline or not inclining correctly, it probably needs to be recalibrated. It's actually a pretty easy fix. How to calibrate depends on if you have a touchscreen console or a machine without a screen.

How to Calibrate a ProForm Treadmill With a Touchscreen

  1. Turn on the treadmill and access the main menu on the touchscreen console.
  2. Navigate to "Settings" on the main menu.
  3. Find the "Maintenance" option in the settings menu.
  4. Look for the "Calibrate Incline" option and select it.
  5. Touch "Begin" to start calibrating.
  6. The treadmill will automatically transition to the highest incline setting and then back to the lowest point.
  7. When the calibration is complete, tap "Finish" to exit the calibration mode.

How to Calibrate a ProForm Treadmill Manually

  1. Remove the safety key.
  2. Locate the "Stop" and "Speed Increase" buttons on the console of the treadmill.
  3. Press and hold the stop and speed increase buttons at the same time.
  4. While holding the buttons, insert the safety key into the console.
  5. Release the buttons and make sure that the safety key is properly inserted. The treadmill should now be in calibration mode. Press the stop button once to prepare for calibration.
  6. Press one of the incline buttons.
  7. The treadmill will move to its highest position and then to the lowest position.
  8. When the treadmill stops moving, remove the safety key from the console to exit calibration mode.

7. Your Treadmill Is Noisy

If your treadmill is squeaky or just oddly loud, the most common issue is a misaligned belt. Grab your hex key and get ready to realign the treadmill. To do so, unplug the safety key and unplug your treadmill.

The Belt Is Misaligned

Take a look at your belt on the deck and notice if it's more right or more left. If you see it is off-center, locate the small holes that will give you access to the idler roller. These are located at the back of your treadmill deck.

If your belt is shifted to the left, use the hex key to turn the screw on the left side clockwise by half a turn. If your belt is shifted to the right, use the hex key to turn the screw on the right side counterclockwise by half a turn. Turn your treadmill on to test it. Repeat these steps until the treadmill is centered and the squeak is resolved.

A Part Is Broken

If it's more of a clanking noise you're dealing with, it could be screws rubbing together or another mechanical problem.

"If it's a constant noise and it doesn't matter if you're walking on it or standing next to it, it might be some type of bearing, whether that's in one of the rollers for the walking belt or the drive system itself," Niedenstein says. "A lot of times those rollers will go bad and they'll make a pretty loud noise. That's usually not a huge safety risk. But it is something that needs to be addressed sooner or later."

You may need replacement parts, which is another reason to contact ProForm customer service or a treadmill repair specialist.

What to Do if None of These Tips Worked

If you're experiencing another issue or your problem was not fixed by following the guidance in this article, then it's probably something that needs an expert. Being handy and fixing things yourself is awesome, but don't get too ambitious when it comes to treadmills.

Niedenstein says it never hurts to call the company and explain what's going wrong. They should take you through steps just like the ones above, but they'll know what you're dealing with in terms of your specific ProForm model.

After all, treadmills are incredible investments in your health and well-being, but they are just that — an investment. You may still be under warranty, or professional repair may end up costing less than what you would spend attempting to DIY.

Finally, once it's fixed, keep your treadmill clean and maintained. "They attract dust and they make dust," Niedenstein says. "So vacuuming the treadmill and around the treadmill once a week is a good idea."

Wipe down your shoes with each use, dust and vacuum around it regularly and splurge on the occasional tune-up. This will keep your equipment in good health for the long term.

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