Why Does My Treadmill Motor Gets Hot and Smells?

Treadmills need maintenance and when they aren’t given proper attention, their motors can get hot and even smell. But there is more to the story. 

Fast, efficient, and extremely effective, treadmills make for one of the most amazing gym machines out there.

But like before, treadmills are no longer limited to gyms only; many people have them at their homes too. But keeping treadmills at home isn’t always easy, there is a catch. 

You have to pay extra attention while placing a treadmill. A little bit of carelessness can cost you a great deal and land you in some serious trouble.

Treadmills can get really hot and even catch fire, so whenever your treadmill motor gets hot and smells, remove the plug instantly and let it cool.

That’s not all, there are a few simple steps you can follow to fix a treadmill motor that is working bad.

Why is my treadmill motor getting hot? 

Like a computer, a treadmill is made of many delicate parts that make it whole. A problem in one part makes for a problem in all other parts. So you have to tread carefully.

Here are all the reasons why your treadmill motor gets hot and smells. 

What happens if I do not lubricate my treadmill belt?

Lubrication can be a game changer for all gym machines. When you don’t lubricate your belts timely, what happens to the treadmill is not what you are looking for.    

The belt and the surface underneath rub against each other and experience an immense amount of friction. This can put a lot of strain on the motor and cause it to heat up. 

Moreover, the excess heat may also burn through the rubber and cause a burning smell in the treadmill.

In a worst-case scenario, the increased friction can also create static electricity and destroy the electrical components of your treadmill. To avoid this, you should unplug your treadmill the minute it gets too hot, or you smell an unusual smell coming out of the machine. 

How to Lubricate a Treadmill?

Contrary to what people think, treadmills don’t need to be lubricated all the time. You should lubricate your treadmill once or twice every week.

Moreover, you should always place your treadmill on a mat and away from any cloth to ensure it absorbs all extra static electricity. 

Also, remember that some treadmills like Nordic Track c990 do not need to be lubricated as their manufacturers have already added a lubricant coating. So make sure you check the manual before you proceed. Lastly, if lubrication doesn’t help and your treadmill still gets hot, you may have to replace the belt or the deck. 

Why is my treadmill motor getting hot?

Excessive and improper use of a treadmill can result in the treadmill getting hot and smelling, especially if the treadmill is not maintained properly. 

Another reason for your treadmill motor getting hot is the increased tension in the motor belt.

Every treadmill comes with a fixed load capacity. If you put too much pressure on the machine and exceed its set weight limit, you will strain the motor, causing it to get too hot and ultimately falter. The motor ends up requiring additional power. Since your circuit board tries to fill the gap, it heats up further and melts, leading to a burning smell. 

How to save the motor from getting hot?

If you intend to use your treadmill for extended hours,  make sure you don’t exceed the load capacity of a treadmill. The weight limit is usually specified in the user manual. 

You should read the usage capacity/limit of the motor to avoid any hassle later.

 Why does my treadmill smell like rubber?

The motor is the heart of the treadmill. If the motor is not functional, the rest of the treadmill won’t be either.

The motor controls the functions of the treadmill and ensures you get a pleasant experience. However, tiny particles of dust and dirt as well as hair can clog the cooling fans in the motor.

When the motor gets clogged, it overheats and ultimately produces a usual smell like rubber. The problem becomes more severe if you have pets who shed hair at home.

How to unclog the motor?

You can simply unplug the treadmill and clean the motor with the help of a compressed or small vacuum. The pressure will help remove any small debris and dirt that is accumulated around the motor.

Moreover, make sure to clean your motor once or twice every year to avoid this issue in the future. 

 How tight should a treadmill drive belt be?

This is as serious as it sounds. If the treadmill motor heats up indefinitely and burns, it will produce a burning smell. So it is inevitable to make sure that the treadmill belt is properly adjusted. 

Most motors burn when they undergo extreme friction and an inadequate power supply. For fixing the tensioned belt, Allen Wrench will help for adjusting the rear roller bolts to loosen the belt as per requirement.

Such minor things should be taken care of because most cheap machines come with components that are unable to take any strain, resulting in the treadmill motor getting hot. 

What’s the Fix?

If the motor is burned you don’t have any other solution but to get a new one. 

How to fix if my treadmill smells hot? Tips for all situations

Whenever your treadmill gets hot and smells, you should run quick troubleshooting. There are a couple of things that will get your treadmill running again in no time. 

Fix Dysfunctional Treadmill Motor

One of the most common sources of a burning smell in a treadmill is a dysfunctional motor. Over time, motors can be clogged with dust and debris and may produce a lot of heat.

You should hence unplug the machine and clean the motor every now and then to ensure it doesn’t clog frequently.

Moreover, be cautious of friction between the surfaces (belt and deck), as that can also result in the treadmill motor getting hot. 

Checking the Deck

Maintaining the belt is another crucial part of protecting your treadmill from burning smells.

To reduce the extra static energy buildup in your treadmill, clean the belt and the deck with the help of a compressed air vacuum. As suggested above, you can also lubricate the treadmill to make up for any wear and tear. 

Search for Electrical Shorts

If all the different components of your treadmill like the belt, deck, and motor appear to be in ideal shape and the burning smell still persists, chances are that there is something wrong with the wiring or the console.

You can place your treadmill on a mat to absorb friction and prevent the accumulation of static electricity. Moreover, this helps debris before it damages the motor. If you feel any electrical shorts, call an electrician to help repair the machine. 


Why does my treadmill smell like burning?

If your treadmill smells like burning, the problem could be with the motor, inadequate lubrication, increased static electricity, or faulty wiring. 

Is it dangerous if my treadmill feels hot?

Burning smells should not be ignored, especially if they are coming from electrical equipment like a treadmill.

Although the treadmill fuse offers some protection, it is better to unplug the power cord from the wall and do some quick troubleshooting. 


When it comes to a treadmill, prevention is better than cure. Treadmills rarely require maintenance.

You can protect them from all kinds of damage if you clean them properly and keep the motor running smoothly without putting much stress on it. So the next time your treadmill smells hot or produces a burning smell, you know exactly what to do. 

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