Workouts & Exercises

What To Do When Your Elliptical Is Making A Clunking Sound

Ellipticals are a great way to get your heart rate up while taking it easy on your joints. They take up less room than most massive workout equipment would, especially if you’re lucky enough to get a compact one like the stamina In-Motion elliptical. Yet, they still offer one heck of a workout.

Ellipticals differ from stationary bikes in that, they work most of your body while stationary bikes target your lower body.

They offer many benefits; are great for cardio exercise, are a perfect fit for seniors and beginners, and like virtually any other workout, an elliptical trainer offers you enough exercise to increase metabolism.

These benefits though don’t come without some issues. One common gripe that people with ellipticals face, is a clunking noise that comes from the base of their unit.

Fortunately, this problem is fairly easy to troubleshoot, and can be fixed at home with only minimal tools and mechanical experience.

Why Is My Elliptical Making A Clunking Noise?

Why Is My Elliptical Making A Clunking Noise?

There are a few common causes for a clunking noise on your elliptical. The following video by Livestrong Fitness does a great job of troubleshooting the issues, and walking through the most common fixes.

Give it a watch while you’re reading this article.

Top Causes Behind Your Elliptical Making A Clunking Sound

What Causes Behind Your Elliptical Making A Clunking Sound

Elliptical noises typically boil down to two general categories. Wear and tear, and alignment issues. Over time, use of the elliptical can cause parts to get thrown out of wack – often the case if you’re fond of getting in some cardio after your workouts and your elliptical is the only cardio machine you have, hence you use it almost on daily basis.

Try checking out the following areas of your elliptical to see if you have one or more of these issues. We should have you back up and running silently in the next 15-30 minutes.

Issue #1: Elliptical Base Is Out Of Level

What Are Elliptical Base Is Out Of Level

This is the easiest thing to check, and fix. There’s a chance the leveling pads at the bottom of your elliptical can be out of alignment.

If they are not all at the same level, your elliptical can make a clunking noise due to internal components hitting each other. Try screwing/unscrewing the leveling feet until you’re sure your elliptical is level.

If this fixed your issue, congrats! No need to keep on reading.

Issue #2: Loose Bolts In Elliptical Arms

 What Is Loose bolts in elliptical arms

The arms of your elliptical are always moving, and take a fair amount of weight and stress as you put them through their phases when working your hands. Try getting your elliptical up to speed, and listening at each joint in the elliptical arms.

If you can narrow down your clunking noise to one of the arms, take a look at the other side and see if both sets of nuts and bolts are in the same condition. If you’re lucky, it may be quite obvious to you where your noise is coming from.

To fix this problem, you may need to order new hardware for your elliptical arms.

Issue #3: Lack Of Grease

 What Is Lack Of Grease

There are several main areas of your elliptical that use grease to keep things moving along smoothly. Refer back to the video linked above, and inspect your elliptical.

Grease is not often the root cause of a clunking noise, not only in your elliptical, but also in other space saver exercise machines out there…but this can often exacerbate other issues in the system.

Issue #4: Guide Rails Out Of Alignment Or Loose

What Is Guide rails out of alignment or loose

Your elliptical uses guide rails underneath to allow the wheels to glide smoothly back and forth. These rails can sometimes come loose, or come completely undone and cause a clunking noise.

Assess your guide rails to see if the clunking is coming from them. If so, determine what hardware is loose or out of spec, and tighten it up.

Issue # 5: Console Mast Bolts

What Is Console Mast Bolts

The pillar in the center of your elliptical that holds up the interface screen is called the console mast. Sometimes, the bolts at the bottom of the console mast will come loose.

This can cause a clunking noise, that is easily fixed by tightening them down.

Is My Elliptical Safe To Use When It’s Making A Clunking Sound? 

Is My Elliptical Safe To Use When It’s Making A Clunking Sound?

Yes, they are completely safe to use whether they are clunking or not. The clunking represents something that is out of alignment, but it does not usually cause critical failure of the elliptical.

I actually had an elliptical in my home backyard gym that made a clunking noise for over 2 years. I found that my music drowned the noise out and it never really bothered me.

Eventually, my wife made me fix it, so here we are!

Should I Buy A New Elliptical If Mine Is Making Noises?

Should I Buy A New Elliptical If Mine Is Making Noises?

Hopefully, with our guide above, you will be able to fix your elliptical and prevent it from making any more noise! Most elliptical noises can be fixed with a few wrenches, some grease, and an hour of your time.

If you go through our troubleshooting guide, and still cannot fix it, I’d recommend getting a technician to come over and evaluate it. As long as you’re happy with your elliptical, there’s no reason to prematurely get rid of it, especially when the fix could be as simple as some of the issues listed above.

But if you really want to buy a new one we recommend either the Schwinn 470 or the Sole E25 they are very durable and are known to have few problems. Overall though, you can find a budget-friendly elliptical and several other affordable cardio equipment on the market if you dig deeper – just in case you intend to go easier on your elliptical.

Do All Ellipticals Make Noise At Some Point In Their Life?

Do All Ellipticals Make Noise At Some Point In Their Life?

I asked this question of a gym owner friend of mine, and he said that it’s actually fairly common. Ellipticals by nature have a lot of moving parts, and they push their weight in all different directions.

It makes sense then, that they will need maintenance at some point in their life.

If your elliptical is making a noise, don’t fear! Use our troubleshooting guide above, and get to know your machine.

There’s a high likelihood it’s a simple fix, and that your elliptical will be used for years to come.

This is common among these exercise machines, I know people who who have experienced similar problems when running for hours on their treadmills, and yes, some of them are high end treadmills like the Sole f63 or the Bowflex bxt6. And apparently, this happens for both beginners and seasoned fitness buffs, both of whom attack their cardio machines with varying degrees of intensity.

So the bottom line is pretty obvious here, all these machines require maintenance from time to time.

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