How to Align and Tension Your Treadmill Running Belt

Having trouble with keeping your running belt straight and centered? The running belt may stretch with use, causing it to fall out of alignment, shifting too far to the left or the right. This can also create unnecessary noise and wear on the running belt. Most commonly, the running belt may come out of alignment after lubrication procedures, if needed*, or when adjusting the tension if the running belt seems too loose. The loose feeling would be described as the belt feeling like it is slipping under the user’s feet, or if the running belt stops as soon as weight is applied to the belt to walk.

Don’t be intimidated by this issue. It can be resolved quickly and easily! Below, we are sharing our tips and instructions on how to center, align and tension your running belt.

First, make sure your machine and the surface the machine is on are level. If the surface is not level, try moving to a level spot on the floor, or think about purchasing a treadmill mat to help with this issue. If the floor is level but the machine is not, you may need to adjust the levelers at the bottom of the treadmill. Please refer to your owner’s manual for additional guidance with that procedure.

If all leveling checks out, then the next step would be to adjust the running belt itself. There are 2 tools that you will need. First, a Phillips head screwdriver is necessary to remove the screws that hold the rear end caps on if you want a clearer view of the bolts that adjust the running belt tension. The second required tool is an Allen wrench, preferably the blue-handled T-Wrench that came with the machine. The size of the T-wrench may vary, but generally it is a 6mm or 8mm.

Start by turning on the machine and pressing “Start.”  Adjust the speed to the lowest setting. Let the belt rotate a few times. If the running belt starts to shift toward one side, loosen the rear roller bolt on the opposite side ¼ turn clockwise. For example, if the running belt begins to shift to the left, loosen (turn counter clockwise) the right roller bolt a ¼ of a turn. The key to this is patience as you must wait five revolutions of the running belt between each adjustment. That will ensure you do not over correct the belt.

Continue this step, making ¼ turn adjustments after five revolutions until the belt no longer shifts to one side.

If the belt is still not centering after constant adjustment, then it is possible the front roller has become misaligned. Remove the front motor cover by extracting the Phillips screws attaching it to the frame. Once the treadmill roller bracketcover is removed, check the front roller bolt bracket. On the right hand side, (if standing on the machine), you should see a bolt suspended in a bracket that holds the front roller. Verify that bolt is centered in the bracket. If the bolt is too far forward or backward, adjust the bolt so that it is located right in the center of the bracket.

Next, test the tension by walking on the belt. Run the belt at a comfortable walking speed. Then, walk on the belt while holding the handlebars and step down firmly with your lead foot, trying to stop the belt with each step. If the belt still hesitates, tighten each rear roller bolt another ¼ turn per side. Once it stops hesitating, stop tensioning the belt. Over tightening can cause unnecessary stress on the rollers and belt.

Remember – a clockwise turn will tighten and counter-clockwise will loosen.

Hopefully these tips will have your treadmill belt running straight and working in peak condition. Remember to be patient as the small adjustments will work, they just take a little time.

*Note: Not all units require lubrication. Please refer to your Owner’s Manual for guidance.