The treadmill was still on warranty when the control board gave up the ghost a couple weeks back and Expert Treadmill Service here in Winnipeg were sent out to install the replacement parts. They came out on a Saturday night (looks like a husband and wife team) and were very friendly and professional – extremely knowledgeable about all makes of treadmills and provided some great pointers on what to look for in terms of maintenance and when buying a new machine. Awesome service and I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone here in Winnipeg that is having treadmill woes.
Basically what happened was the underside of the treadmill belt was worn out (probably sooner than it should have been) and even though I was lubricating the deck well the motor was having to work harder to overcome the added friction of the worn out belt. The motor itself is well able to handle the extra work out but the control board had trouble with the added current draw and basically burnt itself out.
So now I know to watch for a few things:
- Fluff coming out of the treadmill – either in little pills or in little chunks – almost looks like teddy bear stuffing. This fluff is the soft underside of the belt that provides the barrier between the rubber/plastic of the belt and the plywood of the deck itself – once it is coming off the belt it is a sign the belt is about done. Unfortunately it appears that the manufacturer of our treadmill makes a great, solid machine but the belt is considered a consumable and the belts don’t appear to be made to last real long.
- Breaker trips – this can be an indication that the treadmill is having to drawn more current than normal to move the belt – can point to the belt wearing out as well.
Long and short of it is considering my size and the mileage and speeds I try to push on the treadmill I probably need a more robust machine. I had around 850 miles on the machine when it died (running about a $1 a mile at this point considering what I paid for it – something like a 65% off sale – very good deal at the time) and with the new belt, deck and control board hopefully I can get another 850 out of it…that does probably mean however that it will mostly be toast again by next summer. At that point it will not be on warranty any more and we will have to decide if we want to pay to fix it or replace it. Sounds like a new belt, deck, control board and installation fees would be well over what we paid for the machine in the first place. So I am thinking I will most likely have to move up to a more robust machine in the $2000 range for my next rig…who said running was cheap? Only need shoes and away you go….? This is an expensive hobby sometimes!
On a side note, I am not mentioning the make of the treadmill because I don’t want to give too negative an impression of it. For a more averaged size user walking or doing light jogging to stay in shape I really wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the machine if you could get it at the price we paid. But it does come down to that even though the frame and motor are very robust and it has good features the fact that I can wear out the belt that fast means I will need to move on to something more robust. Considering I had to buy this thing and get it up and running on Christmas Eve last year when my old treadmill died so I could finish up my training for the 2013 Goofy Challenge and I didn’t really have time to do a great deal of research – I would say the machine doesn’t really owe me too much. I will be comfortable retiring it when it gets worn out again.