Just as proper diet and exercise help human beings live healthier lives, home gym equipment repair and maintenance is the key to getting the most out of your equipment.
Clean equipment weekly. Removing sweat, dust and dirt will help the electronics and upholstery last longer. When cleaning a piece of equipment's exterior, apply a mixture of mild liquid antibacterial detergent and water only to a rag - not directly on the machine, so the cleaning solution can't leak into the machine and cause electronics to short. Do not use ammonia, bleach or acid-based cleaners. Simply vacuuming under the motor cover of a treadmill can extend the life of its belt and deck.
If a part or component needs replacing try to use only replacement parts from the equipment's manufacturer.
Install surge protectors. This will help prevent electrical damage from power spikes to equipment that is not self-powered. My incline trainer recommends you unplug it after every use.
Although specific maintenance tips may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer's recommendations and equipment workload, a few rules of thumb exist. For all motorized equipment, keeping dirt and dust away from moving parts will help reduce friction and heat that can cause motors to wear out prematurely.
Wipe down electronic displays as well as seats, backrests and handrails at least once a week - or daily for heavily used equipment. Pieces with upholstered surfaces (for example, bike seats and weight benches) should be cleaned and checked for tears at least monthly.
Treadmills: Clean the motor cover and exposed areas of deck and check the operation of the stop button every week or two. Once a month, vacuum inside the motor electronic compartment and underneath any treadmill that's on carpet. (Keeping treadmills on rubber mats can help keep carpet fiber away from the machines.)
For treadmills with automatic wax lubrication systems, check and clean the wax nozzle each month. Do not use cleaning solution to wipe the belt; this will impair the lubrication system. Every two to three months, check the belt tension and tracking, and inspect the hardware (nuts and bolts), belt and deck for wear every three to six months.
Elliptical/cross-trainers: In addition to cleaning the console and exterior, depending on the manufacturer's suggestions, remove the cover and clean the area around the alternator every two to three months and ensure that the intermediate shaft belt is tight and centered. Inspect the hardware every six months.
Exercise bikes: Check the seat attachment handlebars, pedals and crank arm every other month. Tighten pedals and handlebars as necessary. Every three months, clean and lubricate the pedal shaft and listen for squeaks, grinds and any other trouble signs.
Stairclimbers/steppers: Inspect pedals and tighten as necessary. Check hardware and conduct an audible inspection every three to six months.
Selectorized strength machines: Every other week, inspect the cable and handgrips and clean guide rods. Even minor visible damage to cables on strength-training machines is cause for immediate repair. Per the manufacturer's specifications, lubricate guide rods with a silicone spray, not WD-40. Every three months, check that bolts and screws are tight and that pulleys and any other moving parts are operating smoothly.
Plate-loaded strength machines: Clean frames monthly. Quarterly, check to make sure all bolts and screws are tight.
Free weights: Check the bolts, screws and adjustment mechanisms on dumbbells, racks and benches every other week. At the same time, make sure weight collars fit snugly and inspect the weight plates for cracks.
Gym flooring: Sweep or vacuum weekly. My garage gym floor is easy to sweep: I just open the garage door and fire up the leaf blower and blow all the dust out into the driveway!
Here's how I keep my Powertec lat tower operating smoothly:
Hold a rag behind the guide rod and spray the silicone lube onto the guide rod. Wipe the complete length of the rod. Repeat on the other side.
Spray directly into the bushing. Move the weight holder up and down a few times.
This silicone was relatively inexpensive and found at most home improvement stores like Home Depot.
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