Routine service: cleaning, inspection, and lubrication following manufacture's recommended schedule. Is it worth it?
We need to devote an entire blog to just this subject of service and repair of fitness and exercise equipment, but, for now, here's something to go on.
The short answer is an easy, "Yes".
All fitness and exercise equipment should be routinely serviced and maintained. It's just like a car, truck or any other mechanical equipment: proper maintenance extends its functional life, lowers total cost of ownership, get's the most out of the initial investment.
But it's expensive and the equipment is running fine! We can get by without it.
Yes, that is absolutely true. A Full Commercial Treadmill will run non-stop, 24x7, for a very long time, with absolutely zero maintenance, cleaning, or anything. Then, one day, probably years from now, it will die.
Let's look at the numbers for two treadmills, both purchased brand new, both in the same exact user environment. Treadmill A does not get routine service. Treadmill B does get routine service.
Let's also assume a 6 month service interval, and maybe 500 miles/month use.
Treadmill A Treadmill B Miles
Initial Cost: $5,500 $5,500
6 mo service 000 $65 3,000
12 mo service 000 $65 6,000
18 month 000 $65 9,000
24 month 000 $65 12,000
30 month 000 $65 15,000
$500 replace belt, flip deck
$200 replace worn elevation assy parts
36 months 0000 $65 18,000
Cost @ 3 yrs $5,500 $6,590
Hidden Costs: $500 (new belt) 000
$200 (elev assy) 000
$500 (new motor) 000
$400 (troubleshooting) 000
???? lost use 000
??? upset residents 000
??? LIABILITY FOR NOT MAINTAINING EQUIPMENT THAT COULD INJURE OR KILL PEOPLE!
So what's the cost of not doing routine treadmill service and maintenance on Treadmill A?
It has the same use as Treadmill B, so it still needs a belt replaced, $500.00. It still needs the deck flipped, $200. Treadmill A, was still cheaper to operate. The owner could have skipped all the routine stuff and just replaced the belt and deck in three years.
Hidden costs. Hidden failures. The heart of any treadmill is an electric motor. The two biggest enemies of all electric motors are heat and dirt/filth. With treadmills, especially if they are in a carpeted room, dirt builds up on the electric motor housing, internal parts, bearings, connections. The dirt acts like an insulator, allowing heat that should be dissipated
to build up. Overtime, motor performance is degraded by excessive heat build up. Excessive heat can literally cook the grease out of "lubed for life" motor and shaft bearings. Faulty bearings are noisy and require a lot more energy to turn. When the motor has to work harder to do the job, it draws more amps (power). When the motor draws more amps, it creates more heat, which adds to the problem.
Then we have what we call a "major component failure". Off the cuff, I'd say that's $500 to replace that motor. Then we have to troubleshoot and figure out what else got torn up when that motor failed?
While we are working on getting the "burned up treadmill back to life, it is inoperable. Residents and guests can no longer use the treadmill, plus maintenance guys are running around, doing major repairs, interrupting their work out. Everyone is upset, except the service tech, drawing $65/hour to fix the machine (Actually, he is upset too, because all of this could have been avoided by proper, routine service and maintenance of that poor treadmill).
Let's keep everyone happy and maintain that fitness and exercise equipment.