Why is My Elliptical Making A Clunking Sound?

Ellipticals are considered the most popular machine for working out from the comfort of your own home.  That is because they offer a cardiovascular workout to the full body, are compact in size and provide a low impact training.  Machines that offer low impact training do not make loud sounds unlike other home workout machines like the treadmill. However, because ellipticals have moving parts it will inevitably make some noise. 

Has it ever happened to you that when you finally have the time to exercise on your elliptical, but as soon as you start to pedal, the elliptical starts to make a loud and disturbing clunking sound? Well, this happens to lots of elliptical owners and is considered one of the common troubleshooting that an elliptical goes through. Have you ever asked yourself if this clunking noise is normal and why is my elliptical making this noise ? 

This unnecessary noise is definitely an annoying distraction when you are  working out. When pedalling on your elliptical, there should be a smooth motion without any sound.

Keep on reading our article to understand why your elliptical is making this clunking sound. This article will also propose some solutions on how you could fix it. 


Causes behind the sound

There are several reasons and causes behind why an elliptical is making a clunking sound such as lack of lubrication, broken parts, loosened joints or even accumulation of dirt. Let us dive deep into these causes. 

Levelling Issues

It is essential to check the floor level where the elliptical is placed.  Try checking that  the elliptical is placed on an even floor with no bumps or holes . The noise could be the result of  unnecessary stress on the moving parts because the elliptical is placed on an uneven surface. 

Another levelling issue is caused by the rubber paddings. When you first bought your elliptical you must have realised  the rubber paddings while placing the elliptical down. There’s one padding for each side, the paddings purpose is to provide balance when you are using the elliptical. If not placed properly when you first set up your machine, it will cause levelling issues for your elliptical. To explain it further, without the paddings the weight will not be distributed on both pedals equally when you step on the machine. Therefore, the whole structure becomes uneven. and by putting more pressure on one side, the other side is lifted and that is what causes the little grinding sound. 

Need for Lubricants

Another common reason why your elliptical could be making sound is because the gears are all dry and in need of lubrication. The repetitive grinding of the gear caused by lack of lubrication will wear out the parts involved and may even permanently damage your machine. 

When setting up your elliptical  if you don’t luricate the nuts and bolts you will feel that it’s much harder to pedal and accelerate and you will need to use more force to engage the inner bearings. Consequently ,  if the gears are dry and you forcefully try to engage them they will produce that clunking or squeaky sound. 

Lubricating  the elliptical will increase it’s the longevity and will also reduce sound made by the ellipse motion of the machine. Many people are not aware that elliptical machines, just like treadmills, must be lubricated from time to time. The problem with ellipticals , unlike treadmills, the areas that require lubrication are not always obvious and the types of lubricants used are not always obvious too. 

Loosening of Bolts 

You usually receive your elliptical disassembled with its parts. If a mistake is made when assembling your elliptical this could cause loosening of bolts and nuts of your elliptical.  In many cases, the clunking sound is an alarming sign that the bolts are loosening. Such warnings require immediate attention , because these bolts hold the machine together and without them the machine could fall apart that can cause serious injuries. 

But how does loose bolts make a noise ? Any loose bolt can affect the alignment of other parts of the elliptical, this lack of alignment is what causes the clunking sound.  

Make sure to perform regular maintenance checks on any loose bolts and nuts. The majority of manufacturers include a toolkit with the machine that can be used to tighten any loose bolts.

How to Resolve the Clunking Sound in Your Elliptical?

  • Examine your machine:  when you first hear  a clunking sound, read the maintenance guide and check if anything is out of place.Most likely, you’ll find some inconsistencies . Carefully figure out what they are and try to fix the problem. Please note, Call a technician if necessary.
  • Tighten the Bolts and Joints: After many uses it is inevitable that your bolts and joints begin to loosen. Carefully examine the bearings to determine the loosen bolts. Follow the instructions and use the correct screwdriver to tighten the necessary bolts. 
  • Lubrication : if the clunking sound persists after tightening the bolts, it is likely that your elliptical is in need of Lubrication. 

Here is our guide on how to Lubricate your elliptical to avoid that clunking noise: 

  1. Go back to the elliptical owner’s guide or manual. There you should find instructions about  maintenance and how to lubricate the machine. Usually, ellipticals should be lubricated at least every six months and more frequently if they make a clunking noise.
  2. It is best if you use the lubricant that came with your elliptical.  If your elliptical did not come with a lubricant or you simply ran out, try contacting the  manufacturer of the elliptical and ask for their recommendation for a specific lubricant to use. 

    Here is another recommendation : use a multipurpose grease spray or marine grease 
  3. Apply Lubricant on the rails using a soft cloth, running the cloth along the rails. After application, use the elliptical as you would normally spread the lubricant to the wheels and places you can’t reach with the cloth directly.
  4. Inject lubricant into the bearing located near the flywheel using a grases gun or spray. Make sure to clean any dust with compressed air before applying the lubricant. 
  5. Apply lubricant to the elevation screw, usually located inside the front frame of the elliptical. Note that you may need to use a screwdriver to unscrew the front frame. 
  6. Apply grease beneath the pedals, around the roller arms and on the bolts connecting the lower arms and handlebars.
  • Replace any broken parts. Some parts of your machine could be worn out and are in need of a replacement or a repair. 
  • Check the flywheel : If the clunking sound still persists, although it happens on rare occasions, it could be a result of troubleshooting of the flywheel itself. There are many reasons for a flywheel noise,  one common reason is the wheel that attaches to the stride handle can crack. Unless you are capable of doing so yourself, Call a technician to do an analysis of the flywheel. 

Other Reasons 

  • Accumulation of dust : Over time, a collection of dust could cover the moving parts of your elliptical trainer especially if it hadn;t been used for a while. The dust may clog the area where the belt meets the wheels. The unwanted sound could be a result of the friction caused by the accumulation of dust. You can avoid this by regularly dusting around the elliptical. 
  • Age of the machine :Older elliptical models are usually noisier and typically have a knocking loud sound. It is manufactured in such a way that the rotating arm inside the flywheel compartment keeps knocking against the plastic. 

In conclusion: 

There are three main reasons why your elliptical could be making this clunking noise. Whether it is lack of lubrication, loose joints and bolts or levelling issues, these are all fixable. Make sure to follow our guide to understand how you may fix these issues to get rid of the clunking sound.  Please make sure to understand when the issue is beyond your abilities and contact a qualified technician to fix the problem. 

We hope that these tips have been helpful and you are now able to fix the problem.If you have any questions related to this topic or something else, just leave your comment below. It will be our great pleasure to assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to fix the clunking sound made by my elliptical ?

In order to eliminate the sound, you must first understand why your elliptical is making this sound. There could be one of several reasons behind this sound such as loose joints, accumulation of dust or lack of lubrication. Read our guide above to understand the cause and follow our solutions to getting rid of this sound. 

Should I worry if my elliptical is making noise ?

There is no need to worry, try to determine the cause behind the noise first and find the solution . Also try not to use your elliptical till you understand the cause to avoid injuries. 

How to apply lubricant on a squeaky elliptical ?

Use a multi purpose lubricant spray or a marine grease. Apply lubricant using a soft cloth along the rails. Apply the grease on the flywheeling, on the elevation screw,  beneath the pedals, around the roller arms and on the bolts connecting the lower arms and handlebars. Follow our guide for more details. 

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