Strength equipment is an investment, and keeping it in top shape is important so the value of your investment is maximized. At some point, however, your equipment is going to need to be replaced. How do you know when that is? Here are some tips on what to look for during your regular inspection rounds.
Speaking of which, we recommend inspecting machines daily. This way, you can be on top of any issues that may require repair or replacement, which in turn limits the chances of injury thanks to an equipment malfunction. It may mean a few extra minutes at the end of the day, but it is worth it to ensure your workout space is safe.
Impaired functionality is the number one thing you need to look for when you do your machine inspections. If your machine is not functioning correctly, athletes or gym members can injure themselves, and that’s the last thing you want. Check each machine’s movement, inspect pins on selectorized equipment, and make sure any adjustable or removable parts seat correctly. Observe for unusual vibration and/or noise during use as well. If there are any issues, put an “Out of Order” sign on the machine and look at what needs to be done to repair or replace the machine.
The best way to ensure your machines maintain their functionality is to make sure the people using them know how to do so properly. Improper use of machines can severely impact their functionality, so educating your athletes and staff on acceptable usage is important.
Torn or Cracked Upholstery
Upholstery is a wear item, which means the more it’s used, the greater the likelihood of damage. While torn or cracked upholstery may be more of an eyesore than a safety issue at first glance, tears and cracks can harbor bacteria and other gross things that no user wants to come in contact with. If you do notice tears or cracks in your upholstered items, we recommend reaching out to a member of the Legend Fitness team to discuss what options there are for replacing the damaged items.
To best maintain upholstery and help keep it from cracking, we recommend perspiration and body oils be cleaned off, which can be done throughout the day and at the end of the day. A solution of 10 percent household liquid dish soap mixed with warm water and applied with a damp cloth will remove most soiling, but the same solution can be applied gently with a soft bristle brush for more difficult grime. Wipe away the residue with a damp cloth, and your upholstery should be nice and clean.
You can also clean upholstered items with standard vinyl upholstery cleaner or use a lanolin-based hand cleaner, which will lubricate the Naugahyde and help maintain its natural flexibility. To restore luster, a light coat of spray furniture wax can be applied. Let it sit for 30 seconds and follow with a light buffing using a clean white cloth. Never use window cleaner, antibacterial sprays, multi-purpose cleaners, or similar products as they will dry out and crack the upholstery.
Avoid alcohol or bleach-based cleaning solutions as they rapidly age and degrade the elasticity of upholstery, causing discoloration and premature cracking.
Cable Wear and Cracked Pulleys
Cables and pulleys are essential to pin select machines and some plate-loaded equipment. Like upholstery, cables are a wear item, so they may deteriorate or get damaged over time. For this reason, it is important to inspect cables and pulleys on a daily basis.
When inspecting cables, look at both the length and the ends. Close attention should be paid to the area going over the pulleys and cable end fittings. Damaged cables may have cracked or broken nylon coating, which would expose the inner wires, may be kinked, or may have ballooned points. Pulleys should also be visually checked for things like surface damage, hairline cracks, and damaged bearings. Excessive noise and vibration are also signs of damage to a pulley. A machine with cables or pulleys exhibiting any of these characteristics must be removed from service immediately to prevent injury.
To maintain cables and pulleys, it is best to check the tension of cables and adjust as necessary, or replace at the first signs of wear. Nuts, bolts, and fasteners should be inspected to ensure they are tight – we recommend using Loctite Threadlocker 242.
While some damage to the finish on equipment frames may be cosmetic, other damage can be an indication of serious issues that must be taken care of quickly. Cosmetic issues are things like scuffs and surface scratches on the powder coating. More serious things to look for include chips in the powder coat finish, rust, dents, or cracks in the frame itself. These things can indicate that there may be significant damage to the frame, and equipment exhibiting any of these things should be taken out of commission immediately and a qualified maintenance person should be contacted to fully inspect the machine.
While making sure people are using it correctly can help prevent some damage to strength machine frames, most cosmetic damage can be avoided by properly maintaining the finish on the machines. On a daily basis, machines should be wiped down with a damp cloth, and a mixture of liquid dish soap and water can be used for a more thorough cleaning. Machines should always be wiped completely dry. Perspiration is corrosive and can cause damage to the finish and even rust. Each week, the finish on strength equipment can be protected using a high quality automotive wax. Never use ammonia, bleach, solvents, lacquer thinner, acetone, or abrasive materials to clean cages or other fitness equipment, and these types of cleaners can cause serious damage.
Since welds hold the equipment together, especially in the case of our fully-welded pieces, a weakness at this juncture can be catastrophic if the machine is placed under load. Legend Fitness guarantees welds on all products for 12-15 years depending on the product line (find details on our warranties here), and cracks in welds are rare, but serious. If a crack in a weld is discovered or suspected, the machine should be labeled out of order immediately, and you should contact Legend Fitness.
If you find damage or parts that need replacing during your inspection rounds, you can reach out to Legend Fitness via our website. Replacement parts can be requested here, and a service request form can be obtained here.
Preventing damage to your strength equipment is as much about making sure the equipment is treated properly as it is about regularly inspecting and cleaning the upholstery, fixtures, and all of the attachments. Making sure athletes know how to use your equipment and working with your staff to outline a regular cleaning and inspection schedule will help your equipment stay in top working shape for years to come.