One of the most common treadmill questions that we get here is, “my belt won’t stay centered…how do I fix it?” That is usually followed by what they have tried so far. Things people try are lubricating the belt, tightening, messing with the adjustment bolts at the rear of the machine, or loosening the running belt.
There are three major reasons why a treadmill belt won’t stay centered. These are:
- If you just put the treadmill in place, check the level of the floor and the level of the machine. This is more common than you would think and we always eliminate this as a possibility before making any adjustments or replacements.
- Unplug the machine and turn the walking belt by hand to the seam of the belt. Make sure the seam is even all the way across the belt. These are almost always stitched at an angle to increase the strength of the seam but belt seam separations happen. If the seam is separating, you must replace the belt.
- Check the mounts where the rollers mount. Many factories use cheap bolts and/or cheap plastic to help hold the rollers, bolts, and tensioning parts in place. If the plastic starts to fail, the bolts will start to pull through the plastic or if the plastic cracks, it can allow the rollers to shift which will make it impossible for the belt to center. You must replace the plastic parts or if you have a really common model, we will have an all-steel replacement kit that will overlay the cheap plastic and will fix the problem permanently with our fix kit.
If all of this checks out or if you have new belt on it or the treadmill is new and the floor is level, centering the belt is very easy. Almost every treadmill on the market uses two bolts at the rear of the machine. Only use the LEFT side bolt (if you are facing the treadmill from the REAR of the machine). NEVER touch the right side bolt to center the belt. It can be used to adjust for other problems.
Insert the bolt wrench into the LEFT rear roller bolt and then turn the wrench 1/4 turn in the direction you want the belt to go. Let the treadmill run for 90 seconds before making additional adjustments. NEVER turn the wrench more than 1/4 turn. Make sure to be holding the safety key when allowing the belt to absorb the adjustment. If the belt runs to the side, quickly stop power and make another adjustment.
Another common problem people have with treadmill belts is that the belt slips when people step on the belt. We will address that issue in next week’s blog post so stay tuned…