Concept2 Rower Maintenance

Concept2 Rower Maintenance

We know, we know: it’s not easy getting through a workout and the last thing you want to do afterward is clean. But if you maintain your rowing machine on a regular basis, it’ll last longer and require fewer repairs. Meaning you can continue to get more workouts in for your money. 

How To Maintain Your Rowing Machine

Rowing is a big deal, and if you want to get the most out of your rower, it’s important to keep it in good condition. Here’s what you need to know about maintaining your rowing machine:

  • Cleaning the flywheel periodically is essential for keeping your machine running at peak performance. This can be done with a rag lightly soaked in soapy water or by using a soft brush to remove dirt and dust from around the circumference of the flywheel.
  • Checking chain tension is another important maintenance step that should be performed frequently—at least once per month—to make sure that everything is functioning properly. If there are signs of wear or if any parts feel loose or broken, they need to be replaced immediately before they can cause further damage to other components of your machine!

Let’s look at these aspects a bit more closely. 

Cleaning the Flywheel

Follow these steps to clean the machine flywheel:

  • Use a damp cloth to wipe the flywheel.
  • Alcohol is an excellent cleaner for the flywheel but uses it sparingly, as it can be damaging to your hands and skin if you wear gloves or touch-sensitive areas of your body (think: face, private parts). If you choose to clean with rubbing alcohol and end up getting some on yourself afterward, don’t worry too much—just wash off any residue right away!
  • Never use chemicals or solvents on a rower by yourself. Take all necessary precautions when using these products. You might want to consult a professional mechanic before attempting anything like this at home so that they can give advice on how best to avoid any potential harm from doing so incorrectly.”

The Chain and Handle

The chain and the handle are two parts that you should keep clean. The Chain is the engine that drives your rowing. Over time, it will pick up dust and dirt, which you can remove by wiping it off with a damp cloth.

The chain is affected by sweat, but it can also get grease on it from oily hands. To clean this part, use a damp cloth to wipe down the chain and dry it with another cloth.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also apply a light coat of silicone spray or 3-in-1 oil to the underside of your rowing machine’s chain. This will make for easier movement when rowing and help prevent rusting over time!

If you notice any rust or fraying in the chain, it needs to be tightened. If you have a power meter on your machine (which will display information about how hard and how fast you row), make sure to check its accuracy after tightening the chain so that everything is working properly again!

Chain Maintenance Steps

This step is essential to maintaining your rower. When you put on a little oil, it helps keep the chain lubricated and prevents it from getting too dry and tight.

You can use either silicone spray or 3-in-1 machine oil—just make sure that you choose something without WD-40 in it. If you decide to go with machine oil, make sure that the chain is clean before applying the product.

  • The first step is to apply a light coat of silicone spray or 3-in-1 oil to the underside of the chain. 
  • Next, work the chain (i.e., pull on the handle) until you have covered the entire length of your rowing machine at least once. 
  • This will lubricate any parts that may become stiff from wear and tear over time—this includes pulley wheels, shuttle cams, and other moving parts inside your machine.
  • Look for any loose links, and tighten them. This will help keep your machine running smoothly. Check for fraying or rusting that may indicate a loose chain link. Tighten any loose links according to the instructions in our manual.
  • Wipe off any excess oil with a damp cloth so as not to attract more dust or dirt.

As with other machines, it’s best to wipe off any excess oil with a damp cloth so as not to attract more dust or dirt. Don’t use chemicals or solvents on the machine, as these may cause damage. Also, avoid using water to clean the rowing machine; if you’re concerned about its appearance, just wipe off any excess oil and leave it at that. Finally, don’t use paper towels either—they can leave lint behind!

The Seat Roller & Track

The seat roller is the main source of friction on your machine, and it’s where you’ll find most of the grease. It’s also not uncommon for a rower’s seat to move around slightly as it rolls along its track. 

If this happens, then you may experience some drag in your stroke as the rollers catch on each other. If you’re lucky enough to have an indoor rower with a smooth track (and clean wheels), then this won’t be much of an issue—but if your outdoor rowing machine has a rough or uneven surface and/or dirty wheels, then it will only get worse over time.

To avoid any potential problems with friction while you’re exercising, check out these tips:

  • Clean off any dirt or grime from both sides of your machine before using it again after cleaning up after yourself or leaving for an extended period of time
  • To protect your floor and reduce resistance during your workouts, keep the bottom of the roller clean by wiping it with a damp cloth at least once a week. 
  • Rubbing alcohol will help remove any sticky materials that may build up over time.
  • If you notice damage like cracks or peeling chrome plating on your roller, contact your rower’s customer services to order a replacement roller and track assembly.

Another important part of rowing machine maintenance is keeping the foot straps dry and clean so they don’t corrode or rust (which could result in you getting injured). If you use rowing machines in an area where there’s excessive moisture in the air (like near an indoor pool), make sure to wipe down these areas with a towel after each use to prevent corrosion from forming on these surfaces over time.

Safety Considerations

  • Don’t use chemicals or solvents to clean the machine. Chemicals and solvents can damage the plastic components of your rowing machine, which can cause them to crack or break.
  • Don’t use harsh cleaners like bleach or ammonia. The same goes for abrasive cleaners like steel wool—the friction caused by using these types of products will wear down parts of the machine more quickly than their intended lifespan, resulting in higher repair costs down the road.
  • Also avoid using power washers, dishwashers, and cleaning chemicals on any part of your rowing machine (unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer). These methods can cause cosmetic damage that you may not notice until after they’ve been used!
  • Disconnect the monitor from the machine before cleaning.
  • If you use your rower outside, don’t leave it in direct sunlight or in a hot or humid area. This can lead to overheating and damage of internal parts like the monitor.
  • The same goes for leaving your rower outside in freezing temperatures during winter (or anywhere else for that matter). Your rowing machine may not survive being left out on its own all year long!


If you learn how to take care of your rowing machine, it will last longer and won’t require repairs. Keeping these tips in mind will help keep your machine running smoothly as well as protect both yourself and other people from injury while using it! It may seem like a lot of work at first, but it will only take a few minutes each month and will keep your machine running smoothly for years to come!

Sam Watson


Sam is a CPT, Functional Movement Specialist, and content writer. As an ex-collegiate rower, Sam is an expert in the field of rowing and is passionate about helping people move more freely. With a dedication to excellence, Sam is a respected authority in the fitness and wellness community. When she's not working, she enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, and spending time with her two beloved dogs. Sam's expertise and personalized coaching make her an invaluable asset to the Start Rowing community.