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Treadmill Slows Down When Stepped On – Causes and Solutions

Last Updated on November 4, 2021 by Jeff

Treadmill Slows Down When Stepped On

Treadmills are almost essential in most households now due to the convenience and health benefits they bring. You might be someone who’s completely reliant on their treadmill workout daily and doesn’t have the time to go to the gym. 

Several treadmills such as the Nordic track c700, Cadence g 5.9, C990 treadmill, and NordicTrack c990 treadmill guarantee reliable performance for years, and these treadmill reviews back their quality. But even with good measures and care, all treadmills tend to malfunction at some point. 

When treadmills slow down as you step onto them, the problem usually comes down to a few factors that you can resolve relatively quickly if you know what you’re looking for. So, continue reading to troubleshoot what could be wrong with your treadmill belt. 

Reasons Why Treadmills Slow Down

There are a few typical reasons why a treadmill may not be working as before, causing it to slow down as you step on to it. Some of them are:

  • Damaged walking belt: Worn out from usual wear and tear.
  • Belt tension: The walking belt or motor belt may be too tight or loose.
  • Belt lubrication: The belt may need some oiling.
  • Misaligned rollers: The rollers that run the belt may need unbolting and realigning.
  • Motor drive: The motor may need some new brushes. 

Here are the solutions for each of these problems:

Damaged Walking Belt treadmill slows down

Begin by unplugging your treadmill and then check the conveyor belt for any signs of damage. Most probably, you’ll notice tears. This could have weakened the belt, which is why it’s not performing the way it should. You can buy a replacement belt easily from an online vendor. 

Another way of checking a worn-out belt is to use a DC or AC amp draw to test its power. But if you don’t have one of these, you could download or fish out your user manual, go to the troubleshooting section, and look into the belt troubleshoot instructions. 

Usually, your user manual will instruct you to put the treadmill on its low incline setting and walk on the treadmill at about 3 mph. You should then pull your red safety key and see how many steps it takes to stop the machine. Ideally, it should be about 2-3 steps, but if it’s not, then there is something wrong with the AMP of the motor. 

Another test is to put your treadmill on its highest incline and walk on it at about 3mph. If the treadmill operates fine at its maximum incline but starts slowing down at minimum incline, this indicates you need a new belt. 

Belt Tension  treadmill slows down when running

If you’ve noticed your belt slipping a little or you’ve recently adjusted your belt, it might be that it’s either too tight or loose, causing the slowing down. Though tighter belts seem better, they can cause the drive system to work harder to keep the belt running. 

You can test if it’s too tight by first unplugging your machine and then lifting the edges by holding both sides of the belt. If it’s properly aligned, it should be possible to raise the belt’s edge about 3 inches above the walking panel. If you can’t, it means the belt is too tight. If you can lift it way past 3 inches, the belt is far too loose; this can cause slipping, so tighten it. 

Motor Belt  

For good measures, check your motor belt too, because it may be too tight. You should be able to turn this by hand to a 90-degree angle from its starting position. You can then loosen the belt if it’s too tight. 

Test it once you’ve adjusted it for any signs of slipping for extra safety. If you find that your motor belt is damaged, you can replace it quite easily too. 

Belt Lubrication 

If you found the belt tension is fine but the treadmill isn’t performing as well as it should, you might need some belt lubrication. This aids in the belt being able to move smoothly across the walking board. It’s often the case with older treadmills.

Make sure you look in your user manual for information regarding the lubrication process, but you can do it yourself, so no need for a professional. You can purchase a lubricant formulated explicitly for treadmills; it’s usually silicone-based. Then, lubricate the rollers on both sides and the deck belt. 

Adjust the Rollers  treadmill rollers

The belt rollers may need adjusting if the distance between them isn’t sitting right. It could be that the belt has outstretched, making it lose grip over the rollers or that the movable roller at the back of the walking panel has shifted.

You can fix this by first switching the treadmill off and then adjusting the bolts holding the two rollers. All you’ll need is a spanner, which may have been supplied when you first bought your treadmill. 

You can then loosen and move the back roller into place and also tighten it. Remember, you can only adjust the roller at the back of the machine, and you’ll find the bolts to be located under the plastic overheads.

Turn your treadmill on to test if your belt has tightened up. If not, try turning the bolts a little more and check again. 

Motor  treadmill slows down

If you’ve tried configuring everything with your belt and still had no luck, then try testing the motor. The first thing to remember is not to use any body part to handle the motor as it can cause immense injury, so proceed with a long pole-like object. 

Check the spin direction of the motor. If you’re struggling to work it out, look for a tag that points out its movement direction. 

Using your pole, move downwards, adding pressure to the flywheel in the direction the motor is meant to run. If you’re able to slow the motor down with your pole-like object, you will need some brush replacements for your motor. 

The next thing to do is check for demagnetization. Disassemble the motor first by removing the bolts holding the motor core. Once the bolts are out, slide out the core from its motor casing. 

If the magnets inside the casing make it difficult to remove, it means the magnets are in good working order. However, if the magnets don’t attract the motor core, the motor will need to be replaced.


It’s normal to face some issues when owning a treadmill, as all machinery requires maintenance. In order to prevent big issues with your treadmill, always keep it in a good condition, wipe it clean after using it, and place it under a mat to protect its parts. 

Treadmill replacement parts such as belts should be replaced before using the machine again, so don’t risk continuing to use faulty or damaged parts, as accidents can occur. It’s always good to go through the troubleshooting phase yourself so that you understand your treadmill better and care for it more effectively.