While using a treadmill is a good way to burn calories, a burning smell is a sign that your machine needs maintenance. Thorough troubleshooting of the machine's main components needs to be conducted. Unplug the machine from its power source before performing such tasks. Follow the maintenance guidelines provided by your treadmill’s manufacturer to reduce the risk of a machine malfunction.
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Maintaining the Motor
The motor is a common source for a burning smell in a treadmill. Over time, the motor can become clogged with dirt, hair and other debris. Unplug the machine and remove the motor cover as instructed in your owner’s manual. Use compressed air and a vacuum to clean around the motor and the fan blades. On cheaper treadmill models, beware of excessive friction which can cause the cardboard components within the motor to overheat and smolder.
Check the Deck
Properly maintaining the belt and deck of your treadmill can reduce the amount of friction and static electricity your machine generates. After cleaning your treadmill’s motor, clean the belt, deck and underside of the machine. If your treadmill model recommends it, lubricate the belt and deck. If your belt or deck system has suffered any damage or appears worn out, replace the parts by following the guidelines your treadmill manufacturer provides.
Searching for Electrical Shorts
If your motor, belt and deck appear to be in good working order, the burning smell may be caused by an electrical short in your treadmill’s motor, console or wiring. An excess of static electricity could cause the electrical components of your treadmill to malfunction. Place your treadmill on a mat to absorb friction and to catch debris before it infiltrates the motor. If you suspect an electrical short, call an electrician or an experienced treadmill repair person
A burning smell coming from your treadmill may be a minor issue that you can fix yourself or may be a major repair that needs to be performed by a professional serviceperson. Always follow the troubleshooting guidelines provided by your treadmill’s manufacturer. If you are unable to determine the source of the burning smell, discontinue use until the treadmill can be serviced by an experienced professional.