Why Is My Elliptical Making a Clunking Sound?

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Exercising is healthy and therapeutic, especially when you do it during the peaceful morning hour. However, if it makes clunking sounds leaving out the peaceful experience, you will be constantly worried about what part of it will come out.

The good news is there are few ways to address this issue. Usually, it happens when one or more parts are out of order or when the machine is not placed on level ground.

Also, moving parts need proper lubrication, and regular cleaning as the entire operation of the machine depends on them.

By fixing the loosened parts and applying the required lubrication, you can fix or at least reduce the noise from the elliptical. This clunking sound drives users crazy if not addressed quickly. Below given are some very useful tips on doing it.

Wear and Tear on Ellipticals

Ellipticals do get noisy as they become old due to excessive use. The heavy wear and tear in their moving parts are one of the main reasons for the clunking sound or little oddities they have from time to time. The continuous torque causes a torsional force, making it lose stability.

As the pedals twist around an axis continuously, there are high chances of it being subject to deterioration of the metal. Similarly, the arm rotator can come loose and knock against the plastic housing, causing weird sounds.

Consistent use roughens them over the years, and some parts might need more than just lubrication or tighten up. They might need a replacement. Just check if any part is too out of order to function properly after you have gone through the routine maintenance process.

Replace it and check. If it fixes the issue well and well, consider buying a new elliptical.

Elliptical Noise: Problems and Solutions

Let me admit that new ellipticals are not immune from the clunking sound, but the reasons here are completely different from the above one.

First of all, check for the most common possible issues to find a plausible solution, and they are as follows. The first thing to check for is lubrication.

New ellipticals are not lubricated enough, sometimes fearing the lubricant dripping during transport. Sometimes the lubricant dries up or catches dust due to poor storage. Your initial step is to lubricate it well before you try anything else.

This issue can occur right out of the box or after a few uses. Just check the owner’s manual for the right kind of lubricant, and if you are allowed to lubricate, go ahead and follow the instructions. Once the joints, gears, and rollers are well greased, they run smoothly.

This should eliminate the noise which would otherwise have resulted in chipping, eroding, or cracking of the components due to excessive wear. Put in generous amounts of lubrication, ensuring you get every joint gear and rollers.

Another good indicator that your machine requires lubrication is if it is hard to accelerate, indicating it dries out gears. The inner bearings need more effort to move such a machine and face greater damage in this process.

The next common issue is the uneven weight distribution due to placement on uneven land. Usually, ellipticals come with leveling rubber pads to keep them balanced when you set them up. Use them to level the machine properly.

Leveling can be an issue when you place your elliptical on an extra-thick carpet. If you should place it on a carpet, then put a piece of OSB, i.e., oriental strain board or similar aid, under it to keep it well balanced.

The unbalanced machine makes grinding noises and wears the machine unnecessarily, not to mention the injury it causes to your body. So, fix this issue as soon as possible to avoid further problems.

Sometimes even a wrong setup can also cause issues. If this is the case, taking help from a professional is the right thing to do.

As you are already aware of the high torsional force on an elliptical, you need to check for the loose joints and screws that might be the reason.

You should keep checking them for a few days consistently to make sure you have got them all fixed since each one of them might come loose on a different day.

Do not mistake overtightening them as a precaution but attend to them when they seem out of order.

It can be a serious safety hazard if you leave it unattended as the parts can come loose, and the machine can fall apart, leading to serious injury. So, it is better to be safe than sorry and fix things in time rather than waiting for them to be broken.

If you are unsure of any part of the assembly, it is useful to call for help and get a proper installation. This keeps you away from any possible injuries due to the wrongful assembly of the machine. It is good to take professional help when in doubt.

After you have gone through these steps and still could not fix the noise issue, then there are a few other things you need to inspect. You will examine it completely for the broken parts. Not only the loose screws but every nook and corner of the machine.

From gears to belts, rotators to joints, check every part thoroughly and look for signs of breakage or cracks. They might even be snapped sometimes. Any damage is very dangerous, and if you find any, just stop using the elliptical and immediately call for attention.

Get it fixed by appropriate personnel and avoid complete malfunction of the elliptical by not using it right from the time of your discovery. Any noticeable issue ought to be fixed immediately as it can lead to bigger issues.

Also, try lubricating the bearings along with the gears and joints. Unless a special lubricant is recommended for your machine, you can use the high-quality all-purpose lubricant usually available at most mechanic shops.

Though it seems repetitive, just remember that having a professional help you when in doubt saves you a lot of hassle in the future. Finally, it is best to call the manufacturer when you have gone through all the steps and have no clue why your elliptical is making a sound.

Additional Elliptical Noise Problems and Solutions

The above actions should help you with the sound, but still, that does not mean there are no other unseen issues. Sometimes they may be not as loud as a clunk but just an ignorable squeak. You do not find them too disturbing, but you need to be on the lookout for them regularly.

If you check for usual issues that might arise when using an elliptical, you can avoid such problems becoming a hazard in time. Squeaking occurs due to a lack of lubricant on pivot points which are important for rotation.

A high-quality grease can fix this issue, or a silicone spray lubricant, whichever is recommended for your machine; use an apt lubricant,t, and that must make it go.

Sometimes it can also be as easy as using a dab of petroleum jelly or synthetic grease in case they are the only readily available resources. However, it is always important to check your warranty terms, not to void them in the hope of saving a few bucks.

Lubrication is well done when you can take apart the pedal arms and handlebars to better reach the joints you are about to lubricate. Another important issue is loose handlebars that sabotage your effort as they do not offer enough support and even undermine the resistance.

All you need to do is to tighten a screw to fix this issue. But if they are damaged, then you should consider replacing them right away. The probability of handles being damaged is high when you use your elliptical regularly.

Sometimes pedals might get stuck in a certain setting, and it becomes impossible to change the resistance. In another case, if your elliptical is programmed for dynamic resistance, it alters from downhill to uphill in settings, but you do not physically feel the difference.

These issues are indicative of a defect in the motor. But before you conclude that the motor is the issue, try altering the resistance settings manually and check if it is working. If it works, it points to another direction from the motor to check for, i.e., your console.

Another test you can perform after manual verification of resistance is to verify the power supply. If using batteries, check for their voltage and replace them if necessary. Even a dim console or a dead one indicates an improper power supply.

When using a direct power outlet, it can be the result of poor current or connection. Unplug the wire and check the power cord for indications such as wire exposure, tears, or other damage forms.

If you find any such signs during your inspection, then it is important to replace the cord as soon as possible. If it is working on batteries, replace the batteries and check the console by turning it on. If it still does not turn on, it might need a replacement.

However, before considering replacement, call the manufacturers to understand if you need to do something else to turn it on or if they will be sending a professional to look at it for you. Once they check and confirm that it needs to be replaced, you can go for it.

Another issue you may face is the display of incorrect speed values on the console. It can be due to several reasons, such as problems with the reed switch, faulty console, or wiring failure.

A reed switch comes attached to the frame of the elliptical. This switch senses the movement of the magnet present on the rotating pulley and transmits the speed signal to the console.

The speed value so obtained is displayed on the console, and if any of the equipment involved in this process is faulty, loose, or not functioning to its fullest, you can find discrepancies in the speed. Remove the plug from the power outlet and inspect the position of the reed switch.

It should be close to the magnet, and if it seems too far from the pulley, adjust it. Once it is in place, the magnetic signals should be detected appropriately, and you should get the right speed reading.

Check the wiring if you find the reed switch in the correct position.

Loose wires or damaged wires might be causing the issue. If you find any wires out of place, put them back in place. Finally, if nothing works, it’s time to call a technician.

Proper Maintenance to Prevent Causing Noise

Nothing can beat good maintenance. Most machines last longer than they were intended to with proper maintenance.

So, you can avoid most issues if you keep them in check from time to time and detect them at an early stage to prevent them from causing any serious damage.

Make sure that you assemble the elliptical carefully as the original assembly, if not done properly, will cause more damage. Even small errors such as a loose belt or poor mounting can result in devastating results.

So, better contain your eagerness to work on it and focus on assembling it correctly. Moving on to cleaning it from time to time, though it might seem tedious in the beginning, as you see how much difference it makes, you will keep doing it.

Using a feather duster, dusting off an elliptical can work sometimes, but it does not relieve you from sweat and oil build-up.

So, it can be a quick clean-up sometimes when you are in a hurry but do not skip the wiping down with a damp cloth with mild detergent clean-up for a long time.

When you do it after every workout, your machine keeps looking new for years to come. Not to mention that it stays clean from dirt and grim.

Based on the frequency of your use, you should keep up with the maintenance checks proportionally.

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