When you go into a commercial gym, you’re not seeing the maintenance and troubleshooting that owners must go through. Machines, especially cardio machines and vibration plates, are put under a lot of stress.
The vibrations can lead to components and fasteners loosening over time.
Routine maintenance can help you extend the lifespan of your vibration plate and make it much safer to use your plate.
Every owner should have a basic understanding of what they can and can’t do to maintain their vibration plate. Vibration plate maintenance and troubleshooting starts with knowing how to prep the unit for usage.
What to Do Before Working on a Vibration Plate
If you plan on working on your vibration plate, remember to follow one basic principle: safety first. You’re working on a machine that is electrical and can cause serious death or injury if you don’t take proper precautions.
The one step that you need to take is to remove the unit from the mains.
Always remove the power source if you’re working on cardio machines or fitness machines because that’s where your risk resides. You’ll want to:
- Unplug the power source
- Allow the unit to stay unplugged for one to five minutes
Once you’ve disconnected the power, I recommend finding the right tools for the job while allowing the unit to sit to ensure there’s no power to the unit.
View all of the fasteners and be sure to find the appropriately sized tools for regular maintenance. The right tools allow you to properly fasten the fasteners and keep your vibration plate sturdy and squeak-free.
I also recommend locating your instruction manual, the support page or forum from the manufacturer. You can find a treasure trove of great information on these pages that will highlight basic maintenance requirements.
You’ll also want to look for warnings.
Every manufacturer is different, but BM Fitness claims that their units do not have serviceable parts. The company outlines basic maintenance that can be used to extend the unit’s lifespan, but you won’t be able to open the machine and swap out parts.
Now, let’s look at the regular maintenance that you can follow with any vibration plate you’re using.
What Regular Vibration Plate Maintenance is Needed?
There a lot of basic maintenance tasks that can be done with every plate whether it’s new or you’ve been using it for years. Before going into component maintenance, let’s take a few minutes to talk about cleaning your machine.
Cleaning is vital for keeping dirt and dust from entering any components.
Dirt and dust can cause electrical components to wear prematurely and are one of the easiest ways to maintain any vibration plate.
How to Clean a Vibration Plate
Cleaning is fast and easy. You may need to perform basic cleaning tasks once a week if you use your plate daily, or once a month if the plate doesn’t get as much use as you’d like. The cleaning tasks should always be performed with the mains disconnected and will include:
- Moisten a cloth to wipe down the machine.
- Use polishes on the plastic that were designed for plastic.
- Clean the mat with a soft brush.
- Use a dry cloth to wipe down electrical components.
It’s important to never use hard bristles or acid-based detergents to clean your unit. A lot of vibration plates have a lacquer finish, which can quickly become damaged with one of these hard brushes.
Spraying any solution directly on the machine or components can cause significant damage.
Always wet a cloth with it, slightly, when wiping down. When you reach electrical components, it’s vital that you use only a dry cloth to prevent any electrical components from being damaged.
If you do use a liquid cleaner or you spill water on the plate during a session, shut off the unit and step off of it. Unplug the unit and allow the components to dry completely before going back on. The drying process may take a day or two, but be sure to allow enough time to pass to avoid possible injury or damage
Once you’ve started and maintained a good cleaning schedule, it’s time to consider routine checks.
Vibration Plate Maintenance Basics
It’s ill-advised to start unfastening your vibration plate and to work on the internal components. You risk damaging your plate and potentially breaking your unit beyond repair. The best thing you can do is follow the basic rules of inspection and fastening.
- Inspect. Every month or so, you’ll want to inspect your plate fully. The idea is to look for any cracks or breakage. You’ll also want to make sure all fasteners are in place and none are missing.
- Tighten. Use your fingers to determine if a fastener is tight enough or not. If you find a loose fastener, tighten it using the appropriate tools. You can also choose to go to each fastener to make sure they’re all sufficiently tight.
Since there are no moving components, like we see with an elliptical, you don’t have to lubricate your machine. Lubricating against the manufacturer’s recommendations can cause more harm than good.
Instead, leave the enclosed components be to allow them to maintain the grease and lubricants put in place by the manufacturer.
If you hear squeaking or rattles from inside the unit, be sure to call customer support. The support team member can provide solid advice on how to properly diagnose and fix your issue.
Luckily, the most common issues of vibration plate maintenance and troubleshooting are well-documented.
Troubleshooting Common Vibration Plate Issues
If you have any of the following issues, you may be able to troubleshoot and fix your own vibration plate.
- Console not working. If the console is not working, make sure to check all power sources and plugs. If the issue persists, unplug the unit for a minute or two and plug it back in to see if the issue was corrected.
- Console works, but no vibration. Your console works, but the plate is not vibrating properly. Unplug the unit and check to make sure all exposed connections are in place. Some machines will have a wire going to the motor, which can come loose.
- Clicking noise. The vibration will cause some of the fasteners to loosen over time. If you hear a clicking noise, unplug the unit for a minute and check the screws fastening the platform itself in place. If your unit has handles and a large display, it’s often a loose fastener on the handle that leads to the continual clicking noise.
- Rattling noise. A rattle is much like the clicking noise in that a component is loose. If your unit has a bumper on the base, this is where you’ll want to check first to ensure that it’s properly tightened. A loose bumper is a key reason for rattles. You can also take this time to locate any loose fasteners that may cause rattling. If all components are properly tightened and you still hear rattling, it may be time to call a technician.
- Shaking while in use. All vibration plates shake, but when the shaking is excessive, you’ll want to check your flooring. Uneven flooring is the main culprit here and will cause your vibration plate to shake a lot. The carpet will often cause a side to side shaking which gets worse as the vibrations travel up the handles of the machine. Try relocating the unit to a hard surface to see if the shaking subsides.
- Handle connector issues. The handles are meant to help you balance while on the vibration plate, but the handles often start coming loose or out of their plastic connectors. The main reason that handles start having issues is that people do squats on their vibration plate. Squats are a great exercise, but if you’re pulling on the handles too hard, you may cause the handles to break or loosen over time.
- Balancing issues. If you can’t place your vibration plate on solid ground or there are wobbles, it may be time to rebalance the unit. Plates that have legs should have the legs screwed in all the way. Slowly unscrew one leg at a time, searching for the ideal balance for your machine. Once you find that perfect balance, tighten the lock nuts on the unit to ensure it stays balanced.
Some issues are going to be too difficult or dangerous for the average person to correct on their own. You don’t want to open up the area where the motor is located and start working on the internal components unless you’re able to source parts from the manufacturer and are allowed to work on the machine.
Activating A Plate’s Warranty
Most manufacturers have robust technical support teams and will help you correct common issues with a vibration plate.
You may also have a warranty on your vibration plate, which allows for a replacement or repair free of charge. When you can’t repair an issue yourself, tech support may be able to recommend a technician in your area that is authorized to work on vibration plates.
The maintenance that you do, which we outline above, is all that you need to do to keep your plate in working order.