Do you want to know how to disassemble a treadmill without destroying the thing?
You’re in the right place. There are a hundred wrong ways to take apart a treadmill because many resources think you’re trying to dispose of it without having to move the whole weight of the treadmill at once.
We’re going to disassemble a treadmill so that it can be put back together without impacting performance or usability. Whether you need to replace parts, clean the track, or you’re just moving to a new house, this is what you need to know.
Reasons to Disassemble a Treadmill
So why would someone even want to disassemble a treadmill in the first place if the intent isn’t to throw it out? We have a few reasons.
- Moving: Yes, it would be convenient to have the treadmill enter your new home or apartment 100% completely as it was, but that’s not realistic for some people. You could be moving into a small apartment with narrow hallways and see no way to bring it up, or you could simply not want it to rock around and damage your boxes during a hundred-mile drive in a box truck. Either way, this helps you move it in a safer way than if you left it completely intact.
- Replacing Belt/Tread: Your belt is often housed directly underneath your tread. They’re like two pieces stitching together, so to speak. If you have to replace one, it’s likely that you have to replace the other. Disassembling a treadmill allows you to get into the running deck and move the pieces you need while leaving the others in place.
- Deep Cleaning: Your tread gets dust on it when you’re not using it. Dust falls all the time, so even if you used your treadmill yesterday, it’s likely that dust has already fallen on it since. Then you turn the treadmill on, and it rolls through the track and sticks to the electrical components inside of the treadmill as the tread runs around in a loop. That dust buildup can kill your motor and mess with your track’s smoothness.
- Saving Money on Repairs: You know something’s wrong, but you don’t know what. You can disassemble the treadmill to save time on the repair (which means saving money) if you call a repairman. This can also be a great way to identify the problem, have confirmation when someone comes to repair it, so that way you can tackle it again next time without spending the extra money.
What Tools You’ll Need
You can’t just yank the screws off. You’re going to need a small arsenal of tools. For most treadmills, this should be enough to get you through disassembly, but be sure to check with your treadmill owner’s manual. It’s rare to see proprietary screws in something like this, but it’s important to know ahead of time.
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Treadmill rod (may or may not come with your treadmill)
- Socket wrench
- ½” wrench
- Plastic bag
- Permanent marker
- Allen wrench kit (just to be safe)
You may not need all of these tools, but it’s one of those situations where it’s better to have too many than not enough.
#1 Unplug and Move Your Treadmill
Most of the time, people put their treadmill with the wall right behind the roller (the back of the treadmill). This is fine, but not during disassembly.
To be careful, we want to completely unplug the treadmill and move it out into the center of a large space. While removing certain pieces, you could hit and damage your walls. We want to avoid this.
#2 Start at the Rails
The rails are the next step. Remove these so we can access the rest of the console for disassembly.
You’ll notice small bolts on the external sides of the rails. They’re usually ingrained in the plastic in a small hole, hence why we need the socket wrench.
Once the rails are removed, place the pieces into a plastic bag. If you want to ease your pain during reassembly later on, put them in a separate bag from other pieces. Label this one “rails” and place it somewhere you won’t lose it.
#3 Remove the Console
The console is likely just sticking straight up from the front end of the treadmill. Most bolts are on the external side of any columns coming up from the tread/running deck.
If not, your bolts may be on the bottom of the machine. This is unlikely since it can interfere with incline adjusters and the feet of your treadmill, but it’s an option.
These bolts will be similar to the rail bolts. Just remove them and place them into a bag. You can label it “console” and put anything else that belongs on the console in this bag for safe travel.
#4 Pull the Motor
Your motor will be connected to the belt, and the belt is likely connected or attached to the interior of the running tread.
Without the console to hold it down, the motor (usually located in the front) should be able to come straight up. Be careful: there will be a fair amount of tension coming from the belt.
The belt runs on the roller towards the back of the running deck. If this isn’t coming up, it may be held in place by external bolts on the left and right sides of the running deck.
If this is the case, gently place the motor back down without putting it into place. Go to the left and right of the running deck and inspect for bolts. Remove them, bag them, and tag them.
#5 Disassemble Remaining Pieces
Depending on your treadmill design and model, you’ll either have a few plastic sidings to pull up, or there will be more pieces integral to your treadmill’s function.
Whatever the case is, these pieces can be put in a box as is, or put over to the side. It’s recommended that if these pieces look like they’ll come apart that you take a photograph for reference.
In the event that parts shift around while moving, this will help you piece it all together when it comes time to reassemble it.
#6 Wrap and Pack (Optional)
This isn’t directly relevant to the disassembly phase, but since the most likely scenario for disassembling a treadmill is that you’re moving, this information is important.
Electrical components are susceptible to damage. These should be double bubble wrapped and put away for safekeeping.
Boxes that hold electrical components, such as the motor or console screen, should have clear fragile labeling on the box and be placed in a restrained area. If you have a back seat you can place boxes in during your move, put these there and strap them in.
For packing, you want:
- Bubble wrap
- Thick cardboard boxes
- Plastic wrap (to protect wiring)
- A blanket
You can use a blanket to wrap the bottom of the treadmill (running deck) during storage. There’s a slight chance that the tread could tear or dent from shifting around a lot in the moving truck.
Last but not least, keep your pieces together, such as screws and anything else you need for reassembly. If you can spare it, put the tools in those plastic bags, and tape them to the outside of the running deck box so you don’t lose them when you arrive.
Can You Ruin Your Treadmill?
It’s possible but unlikely. If you’re disassembling your treadmill and waiting for the pieces to get loose and have some give to them, that’s good. As long as you’re not ripping the pieces off aggressively, you should be fine.
The main thing you have to worry about is wiring. Electrical components are the most susceptible to damage, and if you aren’t careful, you can surely damage them. If you’re planning on disassembling your treadmill for a move, be sure you have safe packaging for any electrical components.
Should You Call a Professional?
It depends on what your goal is with disassembling your treadmill. If you’re just moving, you should be fine to do it on your own. It’s packaging that you have to be careful with.
The only time you would need a professional to disassemble your treadmill for you is if it’s a speciality device. If you have a very large, intricate machine and you’re not confident in taking it apart, seek the help of a professional.
Overly large treadmills might be more difficult to disassemble, and if your time is best spent doing something else (especially during something hectic like a full move), hiring a professional is a good option.
Do Whatever You’re Comfortable With
That’s how you do it. We wish we could say it’s like riding a bike, but it’s pretty specific. Be sure to bookmark this page for later so that you can reassemble your treadmill when the time comes.