Treadmill in a Cold Garage

Is it safe to keep a treadmill in a cold garage? Treadmills are big, and not everyone has an extra room in their house for one so many turn to their garages for their exercise or storage rooms. But what about cold garages? Is an unheated garage unsafe for treadmills because of their motors and intricate parts?

A recent post on Runner’s World asks:

I was all set to order a treadmill for use in my garage so I don’t have to deal with running in the snow, ice, and bitter wind of a Massachusetts winter again – then read a warning about treadmills in cold garages and how their performance might be affected: “If you are locating the equipment in a garage, porch or other area that is not climate controlled, expect problems. Since most models use lubricants that can freeze or lose their ability to properly lubricate at very high heat or extreme cold, you can run into problems on both extremes.”

Does anyone keep their treadmill in a cold garage, and have you experienced problems with the treadmill because of it? And have you come up with simple ways to deal with it to keep your treadmill happy?

With winter underway, many runners turn to treadmills this time of year to avoid running in the bitter cold, sleet, and snow. While the garage might be a convenient location for a treadmill, it does come with some precautions.

Cold garages can void the warranty

Most user guides for treadmills do come with a warning that looks something like this:

Do not use treadmill in any location that is not temperature controlled such as but not limited to garages,
porches, pool rooms, bathrooms, car ports or outdoors. Failure to comply may void the warranty.
(source: user manual of the Horizon Evolve)

Cold can do damage to a treadmill’s parts

LiveStrong published an article on the risks of storing a treadmill in an unheated garage wherein they pointed out that low temperatures can be a hazard to parts, like the treadbelt, and functions such as incline. If the temperatures are extreme enough, your treadmill belt can freeze and ultimately crack. You could run into some wiring problems and other components might seize up.

If you run on it often enough, you might be okay

Unless you live somewhere that gets ridiculously cold and could do serious damage within a matter of hours or a few days, your treadmill should be able to fight the cold as long as it is used frequently. The treadbelt and incline function are not going to have a chance to freeze if you exercise them. Sure, if they just sit there for long periods of time, the cold could have adverse effects. But like a human body, activity could keep it from freezing over and dying.

On the other hand, some experts disagree with my methodology. One Woodway expert said the following about operating a treadmill in a cold garage:

It is not recommended to operate the treadmill in these conditions. The reason is due to condensation on the electronics and motors. If the treadmill is below freezing and the circuit boards are warmed up above freezing, you will get condensation/water build up on them. This can cause a failure. Repeated freezing and thawing is not recommended.
The treadmill should be used in 50 to 105 degrees F conditions. If the treadmill was exposed to below freezing conditions (shipping or storage), It is recommended that the treadmill be exposed to room temps for 3 hours before use.

Put the treadmill in your garage at your own risk. Treadmill manufacturing companies are stingy and if something goes wrong later down the line and they find out the treadmill had been stored in a garage, that’s reason enough for them to void all warranties and leave you with nothing but a broken treadmill.

About The Author

Treadmill Review Guru is an expert on all things related to treadmills and running. He is a former cross country runner and soccer player and hopes to soon be able to run a marathon. He loves training on his treadmill whenever he gets the chance. Check out his recommendations and see what he thinks are the best treadmills.