Reader Mailbag – Treadmill Motor Maintenance and Cleaning


Things are going well here in Colorado at the Health & Business fitness tradeshow. The Treadmill Sensei is having much fun seeing the latest from treadmill and elliptical manufacturers. Even though I am away from the DOJO (and I dread to see the condition young Hikaru and the others leave the shop in) I still wanted to share the wisdom of the Sensei with you, my fine readers.

This week we have a note from Sandy in Australia about her treadmill motor. Take it away, Sandy!

“Hello, I just came across your site and thought you could give me some ideas. I have a York Runner 61820 that I bought about 4 years ago. Lately it has been smelling like rubber (or motor!) burning. I lubricate the mat probably too much, but I thought that may be the problem. After reading your tips for treadmill maintenence, I thought it could be because I don’t have a matt under it. Is there some way to clean the motor if it is because of the static you mentioned? I tried e-mailing York, but I never got a response. I am in Australia so I maybe I just don’t have the correct e-mail address. Anyhow, I’d really appreciate any advice you may have. I love my treadmill and will probably never be able to afford another so I’d really like to look after it.”
Kind Regards, Sandy in Australia

Thanks for your note! Just from your description of the smell, it sounds like your motor needs to be cleaned. What you can do is remove the hood that covers the motor — make sure your treadmill is unplugged first! Then you’ll probably notice a ton of dust and debris in there. You’ll need to blow it out — we use an air compressor here in the repair shop, but you can also get a couple of cans of the compressed air used for cleaning computer keyboards. It’ll probably be caught in the fan portions of the motor especially. A vaccuum cleaner works as well and probably won’t be as messy, but they take a bit longer to get the job done.

Get as much out as possible.

You might still smell the burning for a few days after as bits and pieces fall away, but it should disappear within a week. Make sure to clean under the treadmill for the first week because if you don’t the debris will get sucked back up in to the motor.

If that doesn’t solve the problem in a week or so, feel free to get back to meand we can try to work it out.

Take care.

-The Treadmill Sensei


  1. I just wanted to say thank you for answering people’s questions and would like to add that I, too, will probably never afford another treadmill and truly appreciate your help.
    God bless you!

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