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How To Tighten a Treadmill Belt And How To Adjust It

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

Treadmill machines allow you to run uninterrupted, particularly important if you live in a built-up area. They allow you to work out whenever. Regardless of the light or conditions outside you can get quality treadmill workouts. They also allow you to be efficient with your time.

We wanted to take a brief couple minutes here to talk to you about a correct belt tension issue on residential treadmills which is the running belt is slipping or catching or grabbing. We are going to tell you how to tighten a treadmill belt easily. Let’s get started.

Some knowing how to tighten a treadmill belt
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What Does a Treadmill Belt Do and Why Is It Important?

What is the underneath side of a treadmill running belt? Most treadmills have a thin cotton backing that absorbs lubricant. When the bottom part of the entire belt rubs on the treadmill deck when you step on it, it glides along.

Why Is Your Treadmill Belt Slipping When Running?

So, your electric treadmill belt doesn’t work right when you run on it. There are a couple of reasons why that happens and why you need to know how to tighten a treadmill belt. 

You Don’t Lubricate Your Treadmill Belt

People don’t realize that they have to lubricate their running belt. As a result, the running deck gets dry. 

Not all treadmill belts are the same. But in general, if you have a residential-grade treadmill, you can apply some water-based silicone designed for tread belts underneath the belt.

If you can feel an oily residue on the deck, that’s from the treadmill lubricant, it lets you know that this treadmill has actually been maintained fairly well over its life.

So, every time you step down on the belt and your body weight pushes on the belt and deck, it catches because there is no lubricant to keep it moving smoothly. Therefore in many cases, you don’t need to tighten up the rear roller. You just need to apply some proper lubrication underneath the walking belt.

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How Do I Know if My Treadmill Belt Is Stretched?

How to know if there is a problem with the running belt on the treadmill? You can probably see that it’s running too far to the left or right. Also, if you listen to it, you can hear the side of the belt rubbing against the inside of the part. 

How to Tighten A Treadmill Belt: Simple Steps

Every treadmill on the market requires minor maintenance that’s very easy for you to do yourself. No need to have a service technician come out and take care of it for you. 

You have two rollers: a roller on the front and a roller on the rear. And you can adjust the rear roller tension bolt that goes through the back of the rear roller to move the tread belt and tighten it up. Every expensive treadmill should include a tool for being able to do this.

Step 1: Stop the Running Belt

We recommend you stop the treadmill machine because it’s safer and you don’t get your fingers trapped.

A man knowing how to tighten a treadmill belt with the right tools
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Step 2: Use a Regular Allen Key

Most treadmills include an Allen wrench for adjusting the tread belt. At the back of your treadmill, you’ve got a bolt on each side. And that bolt corresponds to where this back roller is. 

If you’re tightening the bolts, you’re tightening the belt by adjusting this roller back or in. Whatever you do on one side, you have to do on the other side. Otherwise, you’re going to cause that to be kilter. And your belts are going to start shifting to one side or another.

Make sure that the Allen key seats properly inside of the bolt and just get it lined up. To tighten the belt, start by making a 1/4 turn, clockwise, on each side. In other words, adjust that in at 12:00 and turn it to 3:00. 

If the belt is still loose, continue with another 1/4 turn clockwise. Do not exceed 3 full turns at a time to avoid overtightening! If the issue persists, contact an authorized service center

Step 3: Turn the Treadmill Machine On

It’s also possible for the tread belt to shift off-center. So, you need to put a little bit of proper tension on the running belt. To straighten the belt, turn the treadmill machine on without anyone on it and make sure the belt doesn’t move on its own. 

Start by turning the treadmill on to 5 MPH. Some manufacturers recommend between 2-5 miles per hour. Consult your owner’s manual. Then go ahead and put some nice steps on the belt. 

Step 4: Bring the Belt Central

Make a 1/4 turn clockwise to whatever side the treadmill belt has shifted to. Wait a couple of minutes, as the belt may gradually shift to the center. Repeat this simple step until the belt is centered. 

You will see the belt starting to move to the right or left. If it’s going to need a little bit more, you should put another half a turn on. Do it until you can hear that it’s gone quiet. It indicates that the belt has stopped rubbing on the inside of the edge of the treadmill cardio equipment. Make sure you don’t get that pausing or slipping anymore.

Step 5: Check the Treadmill Belt

Once the belts are running central, then we need to do a check to see whether the belt tension is correct. 

If the running belts have been lubricated, here is an effective test that you can do. What you’re going to do is with your foot just see if you can get the running belt to stall.

If you can hear the front roller is still slipping when it stalls, it indicates that the belt is too loose. The ideal scenario is that the belt is tight enough so that you can just hear the motor start to stall out. 

Common Mistakes

The most common mistake that treadmill users will make when they try to remedy that issue is that they just try to overtighten this rear roller.

Overtightening the treadmill belt may cause belt damage and can even potentially rip the seams in the belt. So, never do more than a quarter turn (from 12:00 to 3:00) at a time.

If you need additional adjustment, you could go from 3 to 6 o’clock for the adjustment but you should give the exercise machine a little bit of a run.

How to Tighten A Treadmill Belt: Our Tip

Always consult with the local fitness equipment distributor or manufacturer to find out how to tighten a treadmill belt because some high-end treadmills require special instructions and professional maintenance.

A woman at home knowing how to tighten  a treadmill belt and how to adjust it
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How to Tighten Treadmill Belt: FAQs

What happens if the treadmill belt is too loose?

It’s common for a tread belt to expand and stretch over time. As a result, the belt may start to skip or hesitate. It’ll likely cause slippage and move away from the roller. In addition, the treadmill motor will have to increase the tension and work extra hard to keep this type of fitness equipment running.

Should you tighten your treadmill belt?

If you’ve ever been on a treadmill belt and felt the belt slipped or paused underneath of you, that is something that can actually be fixed by adjusting your treadmill belt tension.
Typically, when you get it out of the box, the belt tension may need an original adjustment. And then after a break-in period, it may need to be readjusted. But it’s simple and that’s something that you may have to do every couple of years depending on how much usage you put in your exercise equipment.

How do you tighten a treadmill band?

There are two adjustments: the first adjustment is to bring the belt central and the second adjustment is to increase the tension of the belt just so that it passes the stomp test.

If you’ve lubricated the treadmill belt and it is slipping, then you can slowly turn the rear roller bolts. Do a quarter turn at a time while the treadmill is running to make sure that it stays centered and you can snug up the belt. It’s a very quick and easy treadmill belt maintenance.

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