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Slipping Treadmill Belt – 5 Potential Causes and How to Fix It

 Written by 

Ilinka Trenova

 Last updated on 

Are you experiencing a slipping treadmill belt? Tired of having to stop your workout and adjust it? As frustrating as slipping on treadmill may be, there are a few reasons why your belt might be malfunctioning. Understanding them and learning how to fix them can help you get back on track with your workouts in no time.

Why Is Your Treadmill Belt Slipping?

In most cases, your treadmill belt may be slipping due to one of the five things we’ll discuss today. You’ll have to check each one to properly assess the situation and make the necessary adjustments. If you’re unsure of what to look for, read through the treadmill manual to get a better understanding of the machine and its components.

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Treadmill Belt Is Too Loose or Too Tight

If the treadmill rolling belt isn’t properly tensioned, it can come off the roller and slip. An ill-fitting belt can wear out quickly, which leads to more slipping and the need for frequent adjustments. Not only can this hinder your workout and impair your progress, but it can also damage the machine and potentially harm you in the process.

If it’s too loose, it’ll likely move away from the roller and cause slippage. An overly tight belt may lead to stalling or an inability to move at all. Plus, the treadmill motor will have to work extra hard to increase the tension and keep the machine running. This level of strain can lead to your treadmill belts slipping, motor issues and other malfunctions.

Generally speaking, the treadmill manufacturer adjusts the belt tension before shipping. But as it rolls and takes the brunt of different user weights and exercise intensity, the tension can change. If it gets too far out of spec, you’ll have to take the needed steps to fix it.

Lack of Lubrication

There’s a specific kind of treadmill lubricant that should be applied to the belt to prevent damage. If there’s a lack of lubrication, friction and heat will build up, causing it to wear off and stretch. This leads to slippage and a decrease in performance, something you definitely want to avoid.

Over time, regular use and excess heat can dry out the belt and reduce its efficiency. Properly lubricating it every few months will help to keep the belt in good working order. Make sure to cover all parts of the belt for ultimate functionality. You should use a high-quality product with the right viscosity for your model and apply it as indicated in the manual.

You can check the manual for instructions on what is considered proper lubrication for your particular model. An electric treadmill belt will require more frequent re-lubrication than a manual one, mainly due to its higher power output and greater amount of friction. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can be if you’re looking to get the most out of your device.

Motor Drive Belt Is Worn Out

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In some cases, the motor drive belt can become damaged or worn from use. This is the part of the machine that runs between the drive motor and the running deck, in the form of a belt or chain. If it gets damaged, it won’t be able to provide enough power for the treadmill and the belt will inadvertently lose its grip. This issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible, as the motor drive belt is an integral part of the machine.

There are cases where the belt slips off and stops running, while the motor keeps providing power. In this case, it is necessary to stop the device altogether to avoid further damage and get a replacement belt. The motor hood cover should also be inspected to make sure there are no obstructions that affect the belt’s performance.

In some instances, both the treadmill deck and pulley belt may become detached from the motor. If this is the case, it’s best to call professional maintenance from an authorized service center for assistance, as reassembling the parts can be quite difficult and dangerous. Doing it on your own can lead to further damage to the machine, so it’s best to leave this task to someone with experience.

The Treadmill Roller Lacks Grip

The roller tube is located within the frame and is connected to the motor. It’s responsible for providing a consistent speed of movement as you jog or walk, providing you with a more comfortable workout experience. As you increase the intensity and adjust your speed, the tube should turn more quickly to keep up. The more it spins, the more grip it needs to create sufficient friction.

But if the grip is too weak, it won’t be able to keep up with your movement, often causing the belt to move from its original position. The more you move the belt, the worse the situation becomes. This can be caused by anything from lack of lubrication to extensive use.

Cheaper treadmills come with a rubber roller tube, which can deteriorate quickly due to the heat created during exercise. Cutting down on costs often leads to a decrease in performance, so be sure to look for one with a metal roller tube if possible.

Vigorous Usage

When you’re really going for it during your workout, excessive force can cause the belt to fall off its track and move around in an erratic way. This includes anything from jumping on the treadmill belt to pushing one foot forward with too much force. Anything out of the ordinary and too strenuous can cause slippage.

This is why you need to be careful how you move when using any kind of treadmill model. You should always maintain control over your body so that you don’t accidentally trip or cause any damage to the machine. Don’t try to take big strides or jump, as this can potentially damage the belt seam and put pressure on the motor.

Even expensive treadmills can’t take too much wear and tear, so make sure to limit your efforts and be careful. Oftentimes, it’s best to start out slow and gradually increase your speed as you get more comfortable and have more control over your workout experience.

What to Do If Your Treadmill Belt Is Slipping

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The treadmill running belt coming off the track is a common problem that can be easily rectified. Naturally, you’ll need to pinpoint the exact cause of the slipping before you can proceed with a solution. Any of the aforementioned culprits can be the root cause, so make sure to thoroughly investigate.

Adjust the Belt-Tightening Bolts

There’s a belt tightening bolt on each side of the belt, typically located beside the running deck. Loosen these two bolts and then gently push inwards on the treadmill belt to adjust its tension. Once it feels a bit more snug, you can re-tighten the belt adjustment screws.

The rear roller bolts can also be adjusted, but this should only be done after the front ones have been tightened. The ideal gap between the back roller and rear edge of the treadmill belt is two fingers wide – any more or less likely won’t provide a secure fit.

Examine the Drive Belt

If the drive belt keeps falling off, it’s possible that it’s been damaged in some way. Look for any visible signs of wear and tear such as fraying, breakage, or missing pieces. You may need to replace the entire belt if this is the case, but this is a common treadmill repair job that can be done with relative ease.

Other signs of a worn-out drive belt include poor performance, excessive noise, and uneven movement. For instance, if you’re doing a cardiovascular workout, the belt should move smoothly and quietly, so any unusual sounds are generally a sign that something’s wrong. You shouldn’t feel any jerky movements as you walk or run, either.

Avoid Rough Exercises

Let’s face it – both a high-end treadmill and its more affordable counterparts are designed to handle light-to-moderate intensity exercises, not full-blown HIIT and CrossFit sessions. To get started with treadmill workouts, you can go with some classic exercises in a gym such as jogging, walking, and sprinting intervals.

When it comes to more rigorous activities like box jumps or burpees, the belt may start slipping off its track due to excessive force. Try to limit these kinds of exercises on the treadmill unless you want to damage the machine. It won’t do you much good if you keep having to fix the belt every time it comes off.

How do you fix a slipping belt?

To fix treadmill belt slippage, first check that each belt tension bolt is properly tightened. You can also lubricate the deck to ensure it runs properly, and check that the drive belt is in good condition. Finally, avoid too vigorous exercises as they may cause additional issues.

How do I know if my treadmill belt is too loose?

You can turn off the device and try to lift the belt up to check if it is too loose. If you can easily put two fingers underneath it, then it is not tight enough and needs to be adjusted. You can also stand on the sides of the treadmill and see if the belt moves around. If it does, then you have to tighten the bolts.

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