A few precautions can greatly extend the life of your machine.
Use a non-slip, impact-resistant mat underneath - it will also protect your floor.
Always use on a flat surface.
Make sure you have enough room for you and the rowing machine.
Don't let anyone use the machine over the manufacturer's recommended weight limit - this can damage your machine and will void your warranty if they find out.
It's worth mentioning that you should store your rowing machine in a dry room to prevent corrosion. We once received an email from someone complaining about the condition of their machine, and it turned out they had left it in the laundry room
Check it regularly:
Be sure to do a quick inspection of your machine before training. Here's a checklist.
Slide your hand over the seat on the track - does it feel smooth? Are there any clicks or unusual noises? If it "bumps" or the rollers make a clicking sound, wipe the rails and clean the seat rollers.
Shake the seat - does it feel secure or does it shake when installed? Tighten the screws on the seat shell to fix it.
Keep an eye out for loose screws, wires (i.e. console connection, seat) and support legs.
Check that the handle is securely attached to the chain/string - you really don't want it to come off during a sprint!
If you have a hydraulic machine, check for leaking cylinders - if one of them is leaking, you may notice a change in the movement of the machine.
Finally, when you start training, check that there is nothing under your machine or too close to the knock.
If your machine starts making unusual noises, or if the action suddenly changes - stop immediately and perform the above checks. If any part is faulty or damaged, consult the manual and contact your supplier as appropriate.
Depending on how much you use the machine (check the manufacturer's guidelines for more advice), you may need to do the following once a month or every two months Apply the manufacturer's recommended oil to the moving parts, including the chain (again, refer to the manual).
Check and tighten all screws.
Wipe down the frame and chute with household cleaner - dirt can interfere with the smooth operation of the rowing machine.
Check all movable parts for wear and tear - replace any that look worn or damaged.
Check that the chain (attached to the handle) is well lubricated, using only the manufacturer's recommended lubricant. Note that this does not apply to models that use fabric or plastic cord.