What’s a “Spa Treatment” and should I get one for my longarm?

February 21, 2023

Many of us are familiar with the advice to take our domestic machines in for service annually for a check-up and cleaning. Does that advice apply to longarm quilting machines as well?

APQS machines are built to industrial standards so that they can stand up to the rigors of factory and workroom use, yet they require simple, minimal daily maintenance to provide peak performance for several years. In fact, that’s why we can offer a lifetime warranty on our new machines—we build them to last! However, just like all machines, eventually some parts wear down after repeated use and need some love and attention.

APQS has three different options when it comes to “Spa Treatments” for your machine: a comprehensive overhaul, and two “Spa in a Box” options. (We use the term “spa treatment” lovingly. You can essentially think of it as a preventative maintenance session.)

For the full-service Spa Treatment, machines are shipped to the APQS factory in Carroll for a complete overhaul that takes about a week. The appointments are scheduled with a member of the Service Team. If you don’t think a complete overhaul is necessary, the “Spa in a Box” treatments may be the best option for you. You can choose between the Mini Spa Treatment and the Deluxe Spa Treatment.

Does my machine need a spa treatment?

Your machine can run for years if it’s well cared for, but if you’ve noticed a change in your machine’s performance, you might need a spa treatment.

Typically, we start seeing machines for Mini Spa in the Box treatments after 3-6 years and Deluxe Spa in a Box treatments after 8-10 years. However, there are many things that factor into these ranges, such as usage, how well it’s maintained and the environment.  Your machine should be seen on the earlier end of the range if:

  • you use your machine multiple times a week.
  • you’re a free-range parent and only clean or oil when the machine complains.
  • you use a lot of linty cotton thread and/or batting.
  • your environment has fluctuating power, static electricity, a lot of pet hair or is very damp.

Your machine can wait longer to be seen if:

  • your machine sees light usage.
  • you clean and oil regularly.
  • you haven’t noticed any degradation of performance.

Which Spa in the Box treatment is right for me?

Comprehensive Spa Treatment

If your machine hasn’t been serviced in quite some time, a comprehensive spa treatment at the factory in Carroll will help ensure it remains in tip-top shape.

We want to give your “baby” the utmost attention it deserves. Therefore, we schedule service by appointment. Since each machine’s service needs are unique, your “appointment” actually encompasses a full week at the factory as we give your machine its “spa treatment.”

During your appointment week, our technicians will thoroughly examine your machine, checking parts for wear and tear as well as examining any parts that have been causing problems. Our team will identify repairs that are both “necessary” as well as “recommended but optional” during the evaluation. However, we will always get your authorization before completing any repairs that are not part of the Comprehensive Spa Treatment.

Once your machine is repaired, we do a thorough “sew off” with it to ensure that everything is working properly before we send your baby back to you.

Most repairs can be accomplished during the appointment week, and then your machine will be back on its way home. Of course, if we encounter any sort of delay when working on your machine, we’ll let you know so that you don’t worry about your baby while it’s away!

Deluxe Spa in a Box

This treatment is done by certified technicians at APQS retail locations. It is best suited for machines that have been in service for a number of years and have been heavily used, increasing the chance for more wear and tear on parts.

The Deluxe Spa in a Box takes the guesswork out of long-term machine maintenance by ensuring that key wear components on your machine are not just “evaluated”—they are automatically replaced. Then the machine is adjusted and fine-tuned to restore it to factory settings. New parts mean many more years of worry-free happy quilting.

Note that a spa treatment is different from a repair. You can certainly have them done at the same time but talk with your technician about anything that’s not working right so they can be prepared to order parts and give an estimate on any extra labor.

Mini Spa in a Box

Like the Deluxe treatment, the Mini Spa in a Box takes place at APQS retailers by a certified technician. It is ideal for quilters who may not quilt every day but have had their machine a few years and would feel better having everything “checked out” at some point by a Certified Technician to ensure everything is working properly.

As part of this process, your technician will evaluate your machine, check components, clean it thoroughly and only repair or replace items that show significant wear that may compromise your machine’s performance. The machine is tuned-up and ready for your next quilting project.

Hot tip: a spa treatment is a great time to have any upgrades done for older models, such as getting M&M wheels or a true ¼” foot installed.

How do I purchase a Spa in the Box?

If you’d like to, you can complete the Spa in the Box treatments yourself. To purchase one, give the APQS Parts Team a call and they’ll be happy to assist you. You can call 800-426-7233 ext. 212 or email carla@apqs.com.

How do I find a Certified Technician to do a spa treatment?

If you’d prefer to have a certified tech complete the treatment you can do that, too. APQS has an easy search tool on its website where you can search by state or zip code to locate dealers near you. To find someone to help you with a spa treatment, simply look for the badge icon indicating “Certified Technician.”

Contact the Certified Technician to see if they can come to you or if you should bring the machine head to them. If there’s no nearby technician, you can ship the machine to APQS, but it is generally less expensive and faster to work with a Certified Technician.

How should I care for my longarm quilting machine?

Your APQS machine is built to last, and you can do your part by keeping it clean, dry, oiled and plugged into a surge protector or Uninterrupted Power Supply (especially if you have Quilt Path).

This blog post will take you through the basics, or APQS has many support articles and videos on its website, https://www.apqs.com/support/.

Please let us know if you have any other questions or problems… please send any Service-related e-mails to service@apqs.com or call us at 800-426-7233!