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How Long Does a Treadmill Last? Average Treadmill Lifespan

A treadmill is an excellent investment if you run often. There’s no need to worry about the weather or running in the dark because you can walk into the next room and get a great training run done.

But how long does a treadmill last? Your treadmill’s lifespan depends quite a lot on how you treat it, so there’s no way to say for sure. We can make an educated guess based on the machine, the person using it, and the frequency with which it’s used.

In general, manufacturers claim that treadmills last anywhere from 7 to 12 years. If you take an average, 10 years is a good lifespan for a treadmill, but it still depends on many different factors. You can get a good idea of the expected lifespan of your treadmill by looking at the warranty.

Here’s what you should know about the factors that can influence the lifespan of your treadmill. Understanding these will help you take proper care of your treadmill so you can use it safely and effectively for many years.

Factors That Can Influence the Lifespan of a Treadmill

Multiple factors can play a role in the lifespan of your treadmill. Consider these before even buying a treadmill to get one that matches your needs.

The Quality of the Treadmill

Not all treadmills are created equal. Some are entry-level treadmills, which usually have fewer features and a smaller motor.

Budget treadmills also often come with a more flimsy build, as they’re aimed at new or recreational runners who aren’t doing serious training or hitting high speeds on the treadmill.

These machines are usually more than adequate for newer runners, slower joggers, or those who run casually. However, they’re unlikely to stand up to an experienced runner on a busy training program using the treadmill often and intensely.

On the other hand, an advanced runner who is going to be getting in plenty of miles or doing high-speed or high-intensity interval training on the treadmill needs to find a machine with a more powerful motor.

These higher-end treadmills also often have a sturdier build that can withstand heavier footfalls, allowing the user to do intense interval training much more easily.

It’s a good idea to decide what training you will be doing. From there, you can determine what kind of treadmill will best suit your needs. Choosing a treadmill that isn’t powerful enough for the running you need to do will shorten its lifespan.

How Often You Use It

The more you run, the quicker your treadmill parts will likely wear out. When you add this to the type of training you’re doing—ie. if you’re doing high-intensity training on the treadmill several times a week, your treadmill’s lifespan is likely to be reduced.

On the flip side, if your treadmill isn’t being used frequently, the parts can become dusty and dirty from not being used. This can also lead to the treadmill parts wearing out faster than they should.

How Well You Look After It

To extend the lifespan of your treadmill, you should take good care of it after every use. A few simple actions can significantly extend the lifespan of your machine, and it’s not difficult to implement them.

  • Wipe the treadmill down after each run to prevent sweat from building up on the treadmill and potentially wearing the materials away.
  • Vacuum the treadmill’s deck to ensure that no dirt or dust settles into it and clogs up moving parts.
  • Lubricate the treadmill belt as often as needed. In general, this should be done every 3 months, but you should use your discretion based on how much you use your treadmill.
  • Tighten the screws on the treadmill frame to make sure it’s as sturdy as possible. Double-check this every few months.
  • Check your treadmill belt before every run to make sure nothing is amiss. You may need to realign it before running, preventing unnecessary wear and tear.
  • Cover your treadmill when you’re not using it to protect it from dust in the air.

The Location of the Treadmill

Be careful where you place your treadmill. For example, leaving your treadmill in a dusty garage is much more likely to be exposed to dirt and dust that could get into the motor.

Placing your treadmill in a clean, dust-free spare room is a better choice. However, dirt and dust are only some of the things you need to be aware of. Heat and cold can also harm the machine.

If your treadmill stands in a spot that gets direct sunlight during the day, there’s a chance that the heat can damage the treadmill screen, the belt, and the foam handles.

But if it’s placed in a room or space that’s particularly cold, the treadmill parts may seize up if you try to run on them before they warm up.

How to Tell If Your Treadmill Needs Replacing

While taking the measures above will help extend your treadmill’s lifespan, every machine will eventually need repairing or replacing. Here are some signs to look out for when your treadmill needs to be replaced or repaired.

It Feels Unusually Slow

If your treadmill seems sluggish and like it’s not hitting the speeds it usually does, it could be a sign that the tread on the belt has worn away and it’s no longer gripping the rollers properly.

It’s easy to see if this is the problem by simply removing the belt and checking the tread. If it is the issue, you can replace the belt, and the treadmill should pick up its speed again.

However, if the tread is fine, the problem could lie with the motor. Many years of hard use can lead to the motor deteriorating over time, which means it can no longer sustain the same speeds.

You can have the motor replaced if your treadmill is still under warranty. If not, you will need to replace your treadmill, as it’s not safe to run with a compromised motor.

It’s Making Strange Noises

Any strange or unusual noises coming from your treadmill should be cause for concern. Rattling sounds may indicate a part is loose or something has broken inside the machine.

A whining or straining sound could mean the motor is struggling to perform. Any banging or clicking sound could mean something is stuck where it shouldn’t be.

It’s wise to stop running on the treadmill until the source of the noise is discovered and fixed. You may be able to find it yourself, or you may need to get a professional to come out and look at your treadmill.

The Deck Feels Like It’s Going to Give In

Some treadmill decks are made of laminated wood, which is stronger than you may think but does wear away over time. These decks are often found on budget treadmills, but it can also be hard to tell what your deck is.

Regardless of what it consists of, you should note any change in feeling on your deck. Instability, lateral movement, or give in the deck should be closely examined.

Your treadmill deck bears your entire weight. If it breaks mid-stride, you could be seriously injured. It’s wise to check your deck regularly to ensure it’s safe.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner
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