What's That Burning Rubber Smell?


So the last few runs that I have done on my treadmill, I have noticed a bit of a burning rubber smell. I have lubed the belt every time that the treadmill display requests it and now it is requesting a lube up before every run for the past week and the smell is getting worse.

I don't want to wreck my 'saving grace to winter running' (aka treadmill) so I went off and googled more about care and maintenance of my machine.  Since my treadmill manual was no where to be found, I googled for one and found a scanned copy of one here which helped me out.

After reading the treadmill manual I started wondering when was the last time the treadmill cover was opened and cleaned... what lies underneath that cover could be a HUGE reason for a burning rubber smell.

I figured if I was really going to give it a good clean too I needed to google for a couple of websites for some cleaning and maintenance tips for treadmills.  One I found that was more geared to my brand was at stanstips.com.

I then went and gathered my supplies:

(I also used a micro fibre cloth to do my final wipe down)

  • **MADE SURE TREADMILL WAS UNPLUGGED** Safety key removed, and display was blank.
  • I started my process by folding up my treadmill and vacuuming underneath on the floor and the treadmill itself, and then wiped the treadmill underneath, including the running belt, with plain water and a cloth before unfolding it back down.
  • Then I wiped the rest of the treadmill down where ever I could get to and then finally the top part of the running belt.
  • It was now time to remove the motor cover...

  • Um, yeah... (this is embarrassing) I think I found out why I was smelling burning rubber. :( 
  • So I took the vacuum and vacuumed where ever I could reach to being very careful not to knock anything out of place.
  • I used the compressed air to spray the small areas and electronic wire connections.
  • Wiped with paper towel carefully, and one piece of paper towel that was ever so slightly damp (dealing with electricity parts here) and then sprayed the air again to dislodge any more hair or other stuff.
  • Then I used the micro fibre cloth to get any remaining dirt, particles and hair out of the area.
  • Ending result was WAY better. :)


  • Not embarrassed now. ;)
  • I put my motor cover back on and gave that another wipe.


  • Now I went through the treadmill making sure that all screws and such were snug
  • Loosened the running belt, gave the base one good lube of silicone, tightened the belt back up, and then ran the treadmill slowly while checking to make sure the belt was in the middle and adjusted as necessary.
  • Then I walked on it for a good five mins at 3 mph to make sure all the lube was spread out properly and that there were no weird sounds or smells coming from the treadmill.



Now I have a happy treadmill :)

What have I learned from this?
  • Not to ignore the area under the motor cover - I usually do this but must have forgotten in the last long while... 
  • Follow scheduled treadmill maintenance. 
  • I really should have a mat under my treadmill and not carpet - just have been lazy there
  • Need to cover treadmill when not in use - keep animal hair away more
  • Not to ignore weird smells coming from treadmill
The true test will be my scheduled run today and see if everything with the treadmill is back to normal.

Now, hopefully by admitting my lack of maintenance with my treadmill, it may encourage the odd person to follow through with their treadmill maintenance schedule and NOT to forget about under that motor cover.


When was the last time you maintained your treadmill if you have one? Or maybe another piece of workout equipment?

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4 comments:

Krista @ Read. Bake. Run. Repeat. said...

Oh dear... I should probably do this soon... Thanks for the info!

Crystal Rhyno said...

Too funny!! Ha ha glad it did not catch on fire. Run lots! Ha ha

Girl Goes Running said...

Oh I had a similar experience with my dryer this summer! Embarrassing!!!! LOL.

Heidi Tania said...

Krista, Happy to remind someone! :)

Crystal, I have no excuses not to run now. lol

GGR, now dryers are even scarier fire hazards! And yes, VERY embarrassing! ;)