How Tight Should a Treadmill Belt Be: A Simple Guide

how tight should a treadmill belt be

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Treadmill walking belt adjustment is something that every treadmill owner should understand. The treadmill belt is one of the main causes of performance and safety issues with this type of fitness equipment. You can get a crooked belt, or incorrect walking belt tension, for example. To get you started, we answer the question, ‘how tight should a treadmill belt be’ and how to identify potential issues with your equipment.

The Potential Problems with A Loose Treadmill Belt

Before we look at identifying any solutions, let’s look at what problems poor tension could cause. The main potential issues include treadmill belt slipping, sluggish treadmill operating performance, and potential safety hazards.

Slipping When Running or Walking

One of the main issues when the walking belt is too tight, is the belt skipping or slipping. As the belt rotates around the treadmill chassis, it may slip and not rotate properly if the belt is too tight. This is due to the increased friction. A slipping belt can affect how you walk or turn on the treadmill and greatly impact your workout.

A slipping treadmill belt is one of the most common issues with this piece of equipment. It is advised to check the tension and do a test walk on the treadmill the first time you use it. Manufacturers should righten the belt beforehand, but it may still need adjustments.

Sluggish Performance

If the treadmill belt is too loose or you have a crooked walking belt, this could affect the performance of the treadmill. A loose belt may require the treadmill motor to work harder to turn the rear roller and front roller to effectively rotate the belt.

A key sign of this is if you step on the tread belt and it immediately slows down. When you use a treadmill, if the belt is properly aligned and has the correct tension, it should not slow down at all when you walk or run on it. This is another relatively simple fix, as you will see below.

Potential Safety Hazards

While the above two issues mainly relate to performance and mechanics, the main potential issue is the safety risk. Using a treadmill with a belt that has a problem is an accident waiting to happen.

For example, if you run on a treadmill belt that is slipping due to over tension, you could potentially miss a step and stumble whilst on the treadmill. This could result in a severe injury. Treadmills can be daunting machines to use, even when they are properly maintained! Therefore, if you use a treadmill with belt problems, an accident is all but inevitable. This is why you must understand how to change the tension and check for issues.

How Tight Should a Treadmill Belt Be

You should now understand the potential dangers and performance issues from too much friction and incorrect treadmill belt tension. We can now look at how to identify an issue with your treadmill walking belt and how to fix it.

Testing for Tightness – A Simple Process

Luckily, there is a simple test that you can perform to check the tension and tightness of your treadmill belt. Although there are differences in design and systems from different manufacturers, this test should work regardless. It is widely known and regarded as a safe way to check belt tightness.

First, make sure the treadmill is turned off and unplugged. This removes any potential for the belt to start moving when you are checking it. Next, move to the side of the machine. You can check the left and right sides – it doesn’t matter which. At the side, lift the belt slightly from the middle of the deck. If the belt is tight enough, it should lift no higher than three or four inches from the deck.

If it lifts higher than this and there is too much clearance, the belt is loose. Alternatively, if you can’t lift it that high, it is too tight. Simple!

How to Tighten a Treadmill Belt

So how do you fix this problem? The solution is also quite simple. Most treadmills have a set of tension bolts at the rear of the deck. You should find the bolts on either side of the rear roller. An Allen wrench should also be included with the treadmill.

On each bolt, use the Allen wrench to make a quarter turn to the right. Allen wrench quarter turns should allow you to adjust the tension in small increments. After the initial tightening, check the belt again using the method above. If the belt lifts too high or too little still, you need to make further adjustments. It is then a simple process of repeating this process until you get the correct tightness.

Anyone can tighten the belt, and as you can see, it is not a complicated process. If you are unsure of anything or the setup of the treadmill is vastly different, we advise contacting the manufacturers. Also, make sure that you read the instructional manual. This will give clear instructions for belt tension relating to your specific treadmill model.

Tighten Your Treadmill Belt Properly

Proper treadmill maintenance is essential, as is knowing how tight should a treadmill belt be. This piece of equipment must function correctly; otherwise, you could injure yourself or damage it entirely. The treadmill walking belt is a primary area that you can experience issues with. Therefore, it is important that you make sure the walking belt tension is correct before using the treadmill.

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