Ellipticals require proper maintenance to stay in their peak working condition. Lubricating is one of the most crucial parts of elliptical maintenance. Lubrication stops the squeaky noise, dust accumulation and reduces corrosion due to repeated friction. Most people do not know where or how they should lubricate their elliptical because there are too many pivot points.
People generally use Teflon-based lubricants or liquid silicon on pivot points that have a wavy washer on them. As for the wheels and the base, people typically use spray lubricants on them and wipe the excess away with paper towels.
There are a ton of different elliptical varieties, and each has slightly different pivot points. It can be problematic for most people to find all the pivot points they need to lubricate. That is why most people do not know how to lubricate an elliptical properly. In this guide, I’ll talk about all the things you need to know to become an elliptical lubricating expert. So, without further ado, let’s get right to it.
How to Tell if Your Elliptical Needs Lubrication
The general rule of thumb for elliptical is to lubricate them in regular monthly intervals. People typically do a thorough maintenance every 5-6 months or so. It is also alright if you do not prefer to keep track of time. In which case, you need to discern whether your elliptical needs lubricating by its performance.
In the initial stages of lubricant deprivation, the first sign is the rough feel of the tread. The tread of an elliptical should feel smooth when you walk on it. You need to lubricate it soon if it shows any signs of feeling uneven or grating.
If the elliptical squeaks when you are working out, there’s around a 70% chance that it needs lubricating as soon as possible. Otherwise, the repetitive grinding will wear out the parts involved and cause permanent damage to your machine.
However, a lack of lubrication is not the only reason for a squeaky elliptical. The squeakiness could very well originate from loose bolts, dust accumulation, or improper placement on the floor.
Lubricating Ellipticals (Step by step)
There are two primary types of ellipticals on the market. One type has tread ramps and wheels, and the other is rampless. Rampless ellipticals have different pivot points than the ones with ramps and wheels.
The process of lubricating either of them is almost the same. The only difference is the different pivot point locations. Let us talk about how you should go about the process of lubricating:
Step 1: Uncover The Parts
First of all, get all the plastic covers off from the front and back to expose all the moving parts. Some ellipticals have the larger parts at the back, and some have it in front. Take off the wheel covers and other plastic overs if there are any.
Step 2: Clean All the dust
Many people think that lubricating means slapping some nice and slippery oil on something, which is one of the worst things people can do to their machinery in the long term. The correct way of lubricating is to clean the parts before applying lubricant. Otherwise, the dust and debris will mix with it and cause problems later.
Start by cleaning out all the dust from the elliptical surface, especially around the pivot points where you will be applying lubricant later. While cleaning the machine, you should pay attention to the belt connecting to the tread ramps.
The belt will slowly wear off, and the belt debris will collect at the bottom of the elliptical. It is one of the most crucial things you need to clean before applying any lubricant. The amount of belt debris indicates the condition of an elliptical. Older ellipticals should have a large accumulation of it if the elliptical has not been cleaned in a while.
Step 3: Lubricating the Pivot Points.
By now, you should have found all the pivot points on the elliptical. The pivot points are the moving joints. They usually have a wavy washer at the connecting point. Your task is to find all of these joints and apply a little lubricant to them.
Just a little bit of lubricant is enough. You do not have to drench it in the slimy thing. But try to get a dab of lubricant on any part that creases other parts when it moves. Even those that only have a brass bushing.
Step 4: Lubricate the Tracks
Once you are done with the interior, move to the outer parts of the elliptical. The tracks are crucial, as they are one of the primary reasons for creaks and squeaky noises if you neglect them long enough.
You can generally lift off the metal legs on the track. Then spray some diluted cleaner directly on the tracks. You don’t need anything fancy for this. Even the most random spray lubricant will work just fine. Once you are done, gently wipe the excess lubricant off of the track with a paper towel.
Step 5: Lubricating the Wheels
Lubricating the wheels will be easy if you ever cleaned a pair of skate wheels. The wheels on an elliptical are generally the same size as skate wheels, and the process of taking them off is also similar.
First, you would need to remove the bolts from each wheel. After the bolts are taken off, gently shake the wheel while pulling them off the mounting point. Once they are all taken off, drop a smattering of grease on the mounting point. Spray lubricant is not a good choice for the wheels. It is better to use grease in this case.
Step 6: Inspect Your Handiwork
No, I do not mean staring at your elliptical like a bum. You have all the moving parts exposed and recently oiled. It is the perfect time to inspect if they are working as they should. Just hop on the tread and start using the elliptical. Keep your ears open for any abnormal noises. Identify the location of any creaky noise and lubricate that part again.
If your elliptical is old, you should expect to find some abnormalities among the moving parts. You could even find some loose bolts or misplaced washers.
What Lubricants Can You Use on Ellipticals?
Most ellipticals and treadmills work with wavy washers and belts. The best lubricant for these things is liquid silicone-based lubricants, Lithium and Teflon-based lubricants are fine too. You should get the concentrated liquid versions for the interior of our elliptical. One of two drops on all the pivot points should be more than enough.
You would need regular grease for the wheels. It does not have to be anything special. Just get some clean grease for the mounting point of the wheel. Also, get some all-purpose cleaner for the tracks. You could use diluted bleach if you do not have anything else on hand. Just remember to wipe it off once you are done.
I hope this has helped you understand how to lubricate an elliptical. There are various kinds of ellipticals with different ramp structures, but they all have the same fundamental design. You merely need to find all the pivot points and apply the appropriate lubricant to them.
One thing to remember is to always refrain from lubricating oil-impregnated bearings. Some high-end ellipticals have such bearings in them, and it isn’t wise to mess around with those. They usually need to be lubricated with liquid silicon and should be handled by someone experienced in handling such things.