How to Lubricate an Elliptical
Elliptical machines are a common alternative to treadmills as a form of cardiovascular exercise. This is partially because ellipticals are extremely low impact and therefore easy on knees and other joints, unlike running on a treadmill or on the road. Like virtually all pieces of exercise equipment, ellipticals require regular maintenance in order to ensure smooth, quiet, ongoing operation. Lubricating your elliptical is just one such form of regular maintenance.
Refer to the owner's manual that came with your elliptical for specific instructions about maintenance, including when and how to lubricate the machine. Most ellipticals should be lubricated every six months, more often if they produce a squeaking or scraping noise while in use.
Locate the lubricant that came with your elliptical. If you've lost the bottle, or if your elliptical did not come with lubricant, call the manufacturer of the elliptical to order a replacement bottle or at least receive a recommendation for a specific lubricant to use.
Visit an automotive store or fitness machine dealer to purchase lubricant on your own if the manufacturer is unable to offer replacement lubricant or advice, such as if they've gone out of business. The grease fittings of your elliptical likely call for white lithium grease, while the joints likely require red lithium ball bearing grease. This same grease or a common 3-in-1 household lubricant can be used on the rails.
Lubricate the rails by applying a small dollop of the appropriate lubricant to a soft cloth and running the rag along the rails. Use the elliptical as you would normally to work the lubricant into the wheels, particularly in places you can't reach with the cloth directly.
Locate the bearings, typically located near the fly wheel, and inject grease into them using a grease gun. Blow out any dust using a can of compressed air prior to applying the grease.
Locate the elevation screw, typically found in the plastic front housing of the elliptical, and apply lubricant to it. You may need to use an appropriate screwdriver to remove the front housing before gaining access to the elevation screw.
You may need to lubricate your elliptical more often than every six months if you use it very frequently.
Visit the website of the elliptical's manufacturer if you've misplaced the manual. Many manufacturer websites offer manuals for current and discontinued models as a PDF download.
Don't use a harsh lubricant like WD-40 as this may damage your elliptical.
Kevin Richards has been a writer and editor since 2009, specializing in fitness, health and nutrition, as well as technology, finance and legal issues. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan.