Why is Your Treadmill Belt Slipping or Skipping? (How to Fix)

June 27, 2018

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The treadmill is one of the most preferred pieces of cardio equipment for people who want to stay fit and healthy within the confines of their home. It is a versatile piece of equipment that helps one to stay in shape and be fit without necessarily worrying about the expensive gym membership or the need to have a personal trainer. With a treadmill at home, you can jump in at any time of the day or night as your schedule shall allow and by the time you are done, you will have attained the necessary actions needed to raise your heart rate for physical fitness.

However, there are also a myriad of treadmill problems that users do encounter and these greatly hinder their experience when working out. The most common treadmill complaint we hear from consumers is, “treadmill belt is slipping”. This is something that should always be treated with a lot of seriousness as it not only interferes with the workout experience, but it can also turn out to be a safety danger (severe falls and injuries) if the belt continues to slip while the machine is being used.

Why Your Treadmill Belt Might Be Slipping?

There are several factors which may cause the belt to slip and there are also a number of ways through which you can troubleshoot this problem, depending on its actual cause.

Here is a brief look at some of the causes of the treadmill belt slippage and how they can be fixed:

  • The Belt Needs Lubrication

Lack of proper lubrication is one of the leading causes of belt slippages in the treadmills. The design of the treadmill is such that the belt usually runs over from treadmill deck to a series of rollers and for the treadmill to operate smoothly, the friction generated between the belt, deck and the rollers must be reduced.

When there isn’t sufficient lubrication between these components, it will not just be difficult to operate the treadmill but also the belt will keep on slipping every now and then, thus interfering with your workout experience.

Secondly, there are certain kinds of treadmills marketed as “no maintenance” treadmills to create an illusion that you won’t have to observe any maintenance practices after purchasing the treadmill. Well, this is nothing but a marketing gimmick and if you are naive enough to believe that you will not have to offer any maintenance to the machine, then belt slippage is the first problem you will encounter.

Therefore, if you think that the belt slippage is being caused by the lack of proper lubrication, then you must attempt to lubricate your treadmill belt with any compatible lubricant (Most of the manufacturers recommend silicone base lube as it doesn’t evaporates) to stop it from slipping.

Before you do this!, You must consult your owner’s manual for the list of recommended lubricants and also make sure not to over lubricate as it may damage the belt. If you have this “no maintenance” kind of treadmill, be sure to call for professional maintenance to ensure that the belt is properly lubricated.

  • Drive Belt May Be Loose 

Belt slippage will be inevitable if the drive belt between the motor and the front roller is slipping. If you step on the treadmill and its belt stops running but the motor is still running, then you should check out the front roller. If the roller and the pulley also stops, then this is a clear indication that the drive belt is worn out.

As such, it will always be loose and no matter what you try, the belt will keep on slipping almost every now and then. The remedy here is to not try to tighten it as its easy to over tighten which will raise the operating amps and may end up burning the motor.

The best solution is to simply replace the drive belt so that no extra strain is added to the motor. Alternatively, you can try treating the drive belt with a belt dressing spray which you can buy as an accessory from the treadmill store for a temporary fix.

Before replacing the drive belt which is present inside the motor’s hood cover, do check your owner’s manual as some manufacturers state that hood cover should not be removed unless advised to do so by an authorized service center. Performing this type of repair, if not recommended by manufacturer will usually void the warranty.

  • The Pulley on the Front Roller May Have Lost its Grip

The treadmill belt can also slip if the pulley on the front roller loses its grip. This pulley is essential in accommodating the weight on the belt and directing the belt to complete the operating cycle. In case of a slippage, there will be a misalignment between the pulley and the front roller which will also cause the treadmill belt to misalign and ultimately slip.

To determine if the pulley on the front roller has lost its grip, switch off the machine and attach a piece of colored tape on a section of the pulley which you can easily see, then attach a corresponding piece on the roller tube or you can also draw a straight line from pulley to the roller tube with the help of a permanent marker.

Now, turn on the treadmill and test to see what happens the moment the belt slips. If the pulley and drive belt continue to move while the front roller and the walking belt stops, then this is a clear indication that the pulley has lost its grip.

If you are unsure or unable to confirm what actually happens the moment the belt slips, we would recommend you to checkout if the tape or the line drawn separates. If it doesn’t, it means that the pulley and roller are turning together and the belt is slipping due to any other cause. If it does, then its for sure that the pulley is loose and it will require the pulley to be repaired or the roller to be replaced.

This may be beyond your technical comprehension and it would be a good idea to call a technician to help you out.

  • Walking Belt May Be Too Lose 

If you are still unable to find out what is actually causing your treadmill belt to slip and have checked out everything listed above then there is a chance that your belt may be loose and the tension on the belt has to be increased.

When the walking belt is loose, you can also expect a lot of slippage during operations. One of the reasons why the belt may be lose is, it may have stretched out naturally with constant use and age, in which case, by tightening up the belt, it will be possible to effectively stop the slippage.

You can confirm this out by lifting the belt from the center, if it lifts about 2/3 inches off the running deck its perfect and if it lifts higher than this then its too loose and will require to be tightened up. Depending on the make and the model of your treadmill, you should refer to the owner’s manual on how to tighten the lose belt.

We would recommend you to replace the worn out belt as its easy to over tighten. The over-tightened belt may cause damaging effects to the expensive treadmill parts.


These are some of the common causes of treadmill belt slippages along with how you can repair them, with some being easy fixes, while others being a bit complicated. But one thing worth noting is that common belt slippages can be avoided by regular care and maintenance of the treadmill, so if you have left your treadmill in a state of neglect then you should definitely consider about regular servicing of it so that you don’t run into into some other problems like treadmill belt slippage that may come in your way of workout.