How to Lubricate a Treadmill (Spring 2023 Update) – Fitnessnacks

    We all want to add the best equipment possible to our home gyms, but with any expensive purchase comes one very crucial responsibility — taking care of it. If you’ve bought a treadmill, lubricating the belt may be the most important component to ensuring it operates at peak performance for years. Think of it as an oil change with your car; the longer you go without changing it, the worse off your car will be — and that’s true here too. This may seem like a difficult task, but with the help of this guide, you’ll be a pro in no time. 

    Since not every treadmill is identical, some will need wax rather than a liquid or spray lubricant. So we suggest referring to your owner’s manual before diving head-first into this process. In addition to using the correct lubricant, you’ll also need a cloth to clean any potential debris and an Allen key to loosen the belt and properly lubricate your treadmill. In this article, we’ll cover the supplies needed and exactly how to lubricate your treadmill, so you can keep it in the best condition possible.

    Things to Know About Lubricating a Treadmill

    • A lack of lubrication can cause the belt, motor, and rollers to deteriorate.
    • Lubricating your treadmill allows the belt to move smoothly over the rollers and decreases the amount of friction.
    • Be sure to use actual treadmill lubricant, not WD-40 or another product designed for metal parts, as some materials can and will dissolve with chemical sprays.

    Supplies Needed to Properly Lubricate Your Treadmill

    Thankfully, there aren’t many supplies needed to lubricate a treadmill. Treadmills with a snug belt will need an Allen key to loosen it so you can reach under for the actual lubrication process. Aside from that, all you need is a lubricant specifically designed for treadmills. Most of the time, the company you purchase your treadmill from will include a bottle of their own lubricant. 

    Where To Buy Your Supplies

    The great thing about buying treadmill lubricant is that it can be done in many ways. Whether that be directly from the manufacturer, your local sporting goods store, or even Amazon, it’s easy to find the right product. You’ll often receive an Allen key with your purchase, but if not, you can always get one from your local hardware store.


    The cost of your supplies is very cheap. Those needing an Allen key can pick up a set for less than $10. The prices for treadmill lubricant can range anywhere from around $8 to about $20. So in total, you’re looking at spending around $30 on your supplies, which is much cheaper than treadmill repairs or buying a new one.

    Treadmill Anatomy

    This might be surprising to some, but the running surface of a treadmill doesn’t contain very many parts. Aside from the belt, the parts affected by lubrication (or lack thereof) are a pair of rollers, the motor, and the deck. 

    Treadmill Belt

    Treadmill belts tend to vary across the board. Most companies opt for a 2-ply belt, but sometimes you’ll find single-ply, 3-ply, and even 4-ply. Now what does that mean? A single-ply belt is the most basic, as it’s simply one piece of rubber. A 2-ply belt features a rubber belt and an underside that may consist of cotton or polyester. 4-ply belts consist of additional layers — hence the name — which may be an extra layer of rubber, cotton, or polyester. 3-ply and 4-ply belts are identical, but when you see a treadmill listed as a 4-ply belt, they include the layer of glue as one of the layers. 

    4-ply belts are the heaviest, which causes the rollers and motor to work harder, single ply belts don’t offer much cushioning, and 2-ply belts are the sweet spot. If your belt is as dry as the Saraha Desert, it can eventually crack, regardless of the thickness. 


    Treadmill rollers are a major component of the overall performance of your treadmill. The size of rollers can range from 1.5 to 3.5 inches in diameter. The smaller they are, the harder they must work to keep up with your speed setting, and vice versa. Since the belt glides over the rollers, you need to make sure there is proper lubrication, or the friction will cause the rollers to overheat.


    The motor of a treadmill is another key component, as it determines the top speed setting and the weight capacity. Simple walking treadmills often feature a 1.6 HP motor, but more running-oriented treads may have a 4.0 HP motor. Without the proper lubrication, your motor will have to work harder and deteriorate at an accelerated rate, regardless of how strong it is.


    Most companies don’t disclose the materials they use, but treadmill decks usually feature a medium-density fiberboard. This consists of recycled materials like sawdust, resin, and wax. These materials are mixed together in glue and compacted to create a solid surface. The deck is also either single, double, or triple-coated with phenolic resin, which is what you’ll find on pool balls. This coating is essential to the performance of the deck. It’s designed to prevent warping while reducing friction between the belt and deck, so the more coating it has, the more resilient the deck will be. 

    How to Lubricate a Treadmill Belt

    The actual process of lubricating your treadmill is pretty simple. Start by powering off the treadmill, wipe away any debris that may be under the belt, apply your lubricant and spread it by running the treadmill, and you’re all set. Let’s break down all of the necessary steps in further detail below. 

    Step One: Powering Off the Treadmill

    Before you start performing maintenance on your treadmill, we suggest shutting it off and unplugging it from the wall to minimize any risk of injury. 

    Step Two: Clean the Belt of Debris

    Once your treadmill is shut off and unplugged, you want to check to see if any debris is stuck under the belt. If there is, take a cloth and do your best to clean it off. We also suggest rotating the belt to clean all of it. 

    If your belt is too tight to stick your hand under, use your Allen key to loosen it. The two bolts that need to be loosened will be located at the rear of the treadmill. Be sure to make your turns identical, and alternate five turns on each side with 10 turns total for each bolt. 

    Step Three: Lubricating the Belt

    About a foot away from the hood of the treadmill (the framework at the front of the running surface) is where you want to apply the lubricant. Start on one side of the belt, lift up the belt, disperse the lubricant to the underside of the belt to the middle in a zig-zag pattern, and repeat on the other side. To best ensure your belt is properly lubricated, we suggest using half an ounce of lubricant on each side of the belt. Only apply the lubricant in this section of the belt; it’ll get spread out in the next step.

    Step Four: Spreading the Lubricant

    Once you’re ready, power on the treadmill and let it run at a slow speed for about five minutes so that the lubricant is dispersed throughout the entire belt. If you had to loosen your belt, be sure to use your Allen key to tighten it back up evenly before you start running the treadmill. If it looks like it’s pulling to one side, you’ll want to tighten the bolt on that same side to even it out. If you want to take an extra step, hop on the treadmill, and walk side to side where you applied the lubricant (while the treadmill is running) to double down on the lubricant being distributed properly. 

    Step Five: Get After It

    That’s all there is to it. Once you’ve evenly distributed the lubricant, you’re ready to get back to your conditioning. This is a pretty simple process that should only take you about 10 minutes to complete. 

    How To Know If Your Treadmill Needs To Be Lubricated

    Sticking your hand under the belt is the easiest way to tell if you need to lubricate your treadmill. If it doesn’t feel oily or waxy, it’s time to lubricate it. Another sign you need to lubricate your treadmill is if it’s making some loud or squeaky noises.

    It’s also worth noting that if you live in a hot or humid environment, you’ll likely need to take these measures more frequently as your lubrication is bound to dry out at an accelerated rate. While you won’t really know until you feel the underside of the belt for yourself, we suggest completing this process every three months or so to keep your treadmill running smoothly. 

    Can I Use Any Lubricant For My Treadmill?

    The short answer here is no. You can’t use just any lubricant on your treadmill’s belt. As previously mentioned, you want to steer clear of products like WD-40 or similar products, as they may cause damage to your equipment. Most manufacturers will provide a bottle of lubricant with your purchase and sell it separately on their website. If you want to explore another option, you can purchase a lubricant that is 100 percent silicon. The rule of thumb here is to check your owner’s manual beforehand to ensure you use the correct product. 

    Final Word

    Providing the proper upkeep for your fitness equipment, whether that equipment is free weights or big-ticket items like treadmills, is essential to the longevity of your gear. When it comes to a treadmill, you want to make sure the belt is clean and properly lubricated at all times to increase the life of the belt, rollers, and motor. Over time, the lubricant is bound to dry up, and if you don’t monitor this, it can cause serious damage and have you looking for a new treadmill sooner than you planned. 

    Lubricating your treadmill is an inexpensive and simple process that should only take about 10 minutes to complete — especially once you get the hang of it. Be sure to check the state of your belt periodically, wipe the belt off after use, and follow these steps every three months or so to keep your treadmill running in your home gym for years to come. 


    When should I lubricate my treadmill?

    The rule of thumb here is to reach under the belt to see how it feels and lubricate your treadmill as needed. While we recommend lubricating your belt at least every three months to make sure it’s performing at its highest level, that may vary from person to person based on climate and overall usage.

    Those who live in a hot and humid environment will likely need to conduct this form of maintenance more frequently as their lubricant is bound to evaporate more quickly.

    What kind of lubricant should I use for my treadmill?

    Before grabbing any lubricant for your treadmill, we recommend reading your owner’s manual to ensure you use the right kind. To prevent damage from occurring, it’s best to avoid products like WD-40, as it may cause some of the materials to dissolve. We suggest grabbing a 100 percent silicon lubricant for this process to be safe.

    How much does treadmill lubricant cost?

    Treadmill lubricant is an inexpensive purchase, ranging anywhere from less than $10 to about $20.


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