People regularly ask us what machine lasts longer than the other and the two at the top of everyone’s list is a treadmill and an elliptical. They both have wear parts but if they are treated equally, we would expect less service on the elliptical. That’s the easy answer but what we have found over the years is that how you treat your machine is going to be directly correlated with the lifespan of the machine and the service required over that lifespan.
A common question is can I place my machine outside? The answer is you either need a disposable fitness machine or plan on working on it often. If you must put it outside, we would suggest doing so in an arid climate although you will be lubricating the machine more often. The problem with putting a machine outside in a humid climate is corrosion. We’ve seen machines that are rusted through from being exposed to the elements.
Another problem with outside use is dirt accumulation. This is the most common cause of failure in fitness machines, even for those machines that are placed indoors. Putting a machine outside can make this problem even worse for obvious reasons. Keeping your elliptical clean should be your top priority. After that, making sure that all of the moving joints or rolling items and surfaces are properly lubricated is the next biggest item on your maintenance checklist. The final point is to keep your elliptical’s wear parts replaced. If you keep it clean, lubricated, and wear parts replaced, you will have a good ownership experience. If you don’t, you can easily have a money pit.
Why do people treat their machines this way? Simply, for the most part, it is a lack of education on this subject and it is also misinformation provided by the manufacturers. People want to believe that there is such a thing as a “no maintenance” machine but the truth of the matter is that if you don’t maintain it, you will either have to repair or replace the machine much quicker than if you did maintain it. To help sales, manufacturers claim that their machine is “no maintenance” so they feed the lie that you can have your cake and eat it too. There is no free lunch, especially in the fitness equipment world.
As a result of this discovery, I started doing some simple maintenance on my appliances at my house and guess what, when I take better care to maintain my appliances, they last much longer and run much more smoothly. Additionally, even with an increased workload from having extra kids, I’m replacing my appliances much less often.
So, if you want to have an elliptical nightmare, simply put your your elliptical on your back porch in a place where you have regular high humidity, then never clean the machine, never lubricate it, and never worry about replacing wear parts, especially if you use the machine every day.