How to properly tighten and adjust a treadmill walking belt

Screen shot 2015-09-20 at 11.31.32 AMIdeally, a fitness company is there for you before and after the sale. They’re helpful before the sale to point out key information and can answer questions afterward.

When it comes to issues such as adjusting the treadmill belt, treadmill belt tension and centering the treadmill belt, there always seem to be questions. Unfortunately, not a lot of good information is out there to help troubleshoot in these areas.

That is, until now. Here’s a short Q and A session designed to inform people how to properly tighten and adjust a treadmill walking belt:

Question: Do new treadmills need a treadmill walking belt adjustment once you get them to your home or gym?
Answer: Treadmills obviously vary by model and company, but some may need to be adjusted when they’re brand new. Others will work just fine. If you are walking or running on your treadmill and the belt seems to pause, stall or slip, then it most likely needs to be tightened. Another sign that a belt might need to be adjusted is if it works fine with a lighter person, but slips with a heavier user. That’s also an instance when it needs to be tightened.

Question: What if you own an older treadmill and tightening the belt does not improve the performance?
Answer: If you own an older treadmill then it’s possible that your belt has stretched to its maximum length. If that’s the case, you may actually need to replace the treadmill walking belt and deck. In this type of scenario, consult with a trained fitness service technician.

Question: Can you over-tighten a treadmill belt tension?
Answer: Most definitely. When it comes time to adjusting the walking belt tension, it’s very important to not “over tighten” the tension bolts because it can cause damage to the walking belt. It’s recommended to only adjust the belt in 1/4 turn increments. After making each 1/4 turn adjustment, do a test walk at approximately a 3.0 speed before considering making another adjustment.

Question: It seems pretty straight forward how to correct “pausing” or “slipping.” What if tightening the bolts doesn’t work and the treadmill belt is off-center?
Answer: If your belt is not working correctly after simply turning the left and right tension bolts with 1/4 rotation clockwise adjustments, then it could be out of alignment.
If you need to align the walking belt from left to right, always adjust the left side bolt only (the tension bolts are located to the left and right side of the rear roller, inset into the rear end caps).
The simple rule of thumb for aligning the belt is this: working from the user’s left side bolt, if you need to move the belt to the right, “tighten” the bolt (turn to the right in 1/4 turns only). This will move the belt slightly to the right. If you need to align the belt to the left, “loosen” the left side bolt (turn the bolt to the left in 1/4 turns only). This will move the belt to the left.

Question: Is there a recommended speed to test the treadmill at?
Answer: Yes, as mentioned above, try it with the treadmill operating at a 3.0 speed. Also, be aware that adjustments can take up to 30 seconds to alter the position of the belt so be patient.

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