Should I buy this used treadmill?
June 20, 2011 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Should I buy this used treadmill?

My brother and his wife spent $4,000 on a commercial grade treadmill several years ago (maybe 5?). We're looking to buy a treadmill. Win - win, right? Well, while I'm not concerned about the level of use (they are not marathoners or anything), I wonder whether I should be concerned about degradation of the rubber conveyor belt from time rather than use. Thoughts on this? Anything else I'm not considering?

I don't know what make and model yet, and will definitely do some model-specific research if I decide to pursue this idea. For purposes of the question, assume a good solid commercial grade make model.

Also, I assume it would need to be transported as is rather than disassembled. If anyone has tried disassembling and re-assembling a treadmill, please let me know how that went! The thing is god-awful heavy and we haven't figured out logistics of moving it fully assembled.

Lastly - any ideas for a fair price?
posted by lvanshima to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
I wouldn't worry too much about the treadmill deteriorating, those things are kin to industrial conveyor belts, and quite robust.

As to price, I'd say that treadmills and bread-making machines are among the most-discarded working items in the trash pickup in affluent neighborhoods. They are bulky, and they seem like you'll use them more than you do -- more aspirational than practical -- so I'd expect a pretty big markdown.

How about you tell them you'll move it for free, and they can use it whenever they want, which will likely be never?
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:02 PM on June 20, 2011

I think your main question (Should I buy this used treadmill?) depends on whether you need a $4k-caliber treadmill. If such a machine is overkill for your purposes, then it won't make sense for you to pay a 'fair' price for it.

Once you know the make & model, check eBay for typical sale prices. Like StickyCarpet, I'd guess it will have depreciated sharply. If your bro is hoping to recoup something close to the original price because the machine is Like New! then I suggest you steer clear of this deal, since any price that's fair to you will disappoint him. It's not worth the grief.
posted by jon1270 at 1:08 PM on June 20, 2011

Yeah, I suspect the price that can be demanded for a used treadmill is nowhere near the price that would be necessary to avoid petty familial grudges of the sort that routinely ruin Thanksgiving dinners and funerals.

As with cars, probably best to deal with strangers for such things.
posted by Naberius at 1:14 PM on June 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's unlikely the rubber will degrade, but you should look at the board underneath that conveyor belt. Is it plywood or particle board (you'd be surprised--even on expensive treadmills). When was the last time they had it serviced? The belts do need to be tightened occasionally. Really, the purchase price has little to do with it's present value. I'd look at comparable treadmills listed on craigslist or ebay.
posted by mattbucher at 1:39 PM on June 20, 2011

Reduce the price by 25% per year. So a 5 year old treadmill would be worth (0.75^5)*$4000 = $950, but that can vary a bit based on the condition.

If you can get a decent deal, get a certified technician to come and look at it (preferably before you buy) and give you an estimate on maintenance and/or parts replacement. Budget in a few hundred dollars for that.

Moving a treadmill is like moving a piano. It's heavy and awkward. Measure your doors and hallways to make sure it will fit, and make sure you have a few strong people to help you out.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:23 PM on June 20, 2011

If it is like most treadmills, it essentially only breaks down into two pieces. One of those pieces will be extremely heavy even more so because it is a commercial grade machine (they are built like tanks to take an all day punishment). You should look into seeing what if any warranties come with the product that might assuage some of your concerns. With that said, we have a Landice L7 which is the home version of what they sell for gyms and it runs like a Honda Civic. On top of that, it comes with a lifetime warranty for parts.
posted by mmascolino at 2:56 PM on June 20, 2011

Yeah, pass on this one. If you gave him a fair offer, he'd be insulted. Let him try to sell it, and after that buy one of your own (in an aw, shucks, sorry I didn't want to buy one a bit sooner kind of way).
posted by miyabo at 8:35 PM on June 20, 2011

When buying from family, let the seller state the price. It is easier for the seller to get upset (during or after the fact) when they feel like they took your offer than if you accepted/declined their offer.
posted by dgran at 6:23 AM on June 21, 2011

Thanks all - once I figure out whether it's a make/model I would want I will ask him to suggest a price. Also, I'll check the board underneath the belt and the warranty. I also will consider having a technician look at it.
posted by lvanshima at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2011

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