Your trusty BBQ grill has cooked many meals for you and your guests throughout the years. From summer cookouts to birthday BBQs, your grill has been a dependable sidekick when it comes to grilling up delicious burgers, veggies, and more.
Unfortunately, all grills are susceptible to wear and tear. Even the most high-quality grills break down, their once roaring heat dwindling down to a single flame. What’s a hungry grill master to do?
If your BBQ grill isn’t working how it used to, you face a choice: restore your old grill or buy a new one. And while repairing your grill may seem simple enough, sometimes the costs are comparable to buying a new one.
In this guide, we’re walking you through how to determine whether it’s worth it to repair your broken grill or replace it instead. Plus, we’re including additional tips to help you out — no matter which route you take.
Fix it or Nix it – Is Your BBQ Grill Broken?
There are multiple signs that could indicate that your BBQ grill is either damaged or broken beyond repair.
Often, the first sign that something is wrong is if your grill isn’t cooking your food as it has in the past. If you are used to quick, roaring heat, and your grill is down to but an itty-bitty flame, it may be time to determine the cause.
Here are some common indicators that your BBQ grill may be in need of repair or replacement:
- Grill won’t light
- Low flame
- Gas leaks
- Large flame coming from the sides of the burner
- Yellow or orange flame
- Broken regulator (controls flow of gas)
- Lots of smoke
- Hoses/fuel lines cracked
- Uneven heating
- Damaged or dirty venturi tubes
- Low temperature
- Severe grease and debris buildup
- Severe exterior damage
- Other gas burner issues
If your grill is experiencing any of these problems — or anything else that hinders its performance — your next step is to assess the damage. In some cases, the fix may just require a replacement part. In others, you are beyond warranty and might as well buy a new grill.
But before you get to shipping, it may be useful to know how long your grill is supposed to last. This can help you determine whether just a few repairs will be enough to breathe life back into your grill.
How Long Do Gas Grills Last Anyway?
On average, Americans will throw their grill out after only three years. However, we assure you that they should last much longer than that!
In reality, most gas grills last between 5 to 15 years before needing to be replaced. This depends on the level of care the owner takes in maintaining their grill.
You can prevent wear and tear and make your gas grill last longer by cleaning it before and after each cooking session, keeping it safe from the elements, and replacing broken parts as needed. It’s best to make small repairs rather than waiting for them to build up.
When to Repair Your Grill vs Buy a New One
Here at The BBQ Depot, we are strong proponents of proper grill maintenance and BBQ repair. But, unfortunately, sometimes wear and tear will get the best of your grill and it will no longer be in working condition. Then you are faced with the choice of either repairing the grill or buying a new one.
Weigh the Costs
We recommend first considering the costs of the repairs, plus how long it will take for you to make the repairs. If the cost and inconvenience outweigh the cost of just buying a new grill, that may be the smartest route. Plus, note that many replacement parts are not covered by the warranty.
Buying a new grill is a huge financial investment, so it is important to consider your options. If you determine that repairing your grill is feasible and affordable, here are the next steps you should take.
Finding the Right Replacement Parts
Right off the bat, there are some features of your grill that may need some replacing: the ceramic briquettes, the grates, deteriorated burners or the ignition. There are several parts to your grill and while, at first glance, it may seem complex, barbecue repairs are easier than you might think!
The good news is, practically any part of your gas grill can be replaced or restored at an affordable cost. Parts are manufactured according to the brand and model number. Or simply knowing the dimensions of the part, you can browse our wide range of low-cost grill parts for a variety of brands.
Ceramic briquettes are often used because they provide an evenly heated surface and last a long time. Gas grills can also use ceramic tiles or lava rocks for heat distribution within the grill.
Or, you may even have charcoal briquettes. These run at a lower cost and give your food a smoky taste.
Gas grills can use any of the above and you are welcome to change out one option for another when doing your repairs. Briquettes usually go for anywhere between $30 and $100.
Grill grates are an important part of your grill. It is the surface where your food meets the heat.
Like briquettes, the material is generally determined by what was manufactured in the grill; some options include stainless steel, cast iron, and porcelain, just to name a few. Different types of grill grates will absorb oil differently.
If is safer to grill on new grates versus rusted, dirty grill grates. They also go for about $30 to $100.
Burners and Ignitor
The source of your fire lies in your burners and ignitors. Generally, ignitors can be replaced for under $20. On the other hand, burners will be more expensive and sometimes come with a price tag of over $100.
Note: If it is your burner that needs replacing, the decision to buy a new grill entirely may be tempting after all rather than just a simple barbecue repair.
How to Fix Your BBQ Grill in 5 Steps
To repair your grill, you will have to dismantle the grill to examine the condition of each part and to see how each operates. Luckily, your grill is no car engine. It comes apart easily. One can verify quickly what works and what doesn't.
Once you have identified the issue(s) and have purchased the right replacement parts, you can follow the steps below to make the repairs.
Step 1: Disconnect the Gas or Fuel Line
Before doing any work on your grill, make sure to disconnect the fuel line for your protection. You should also wear gloves to protect yourself from cuts and grease stains.
Step 2: Remove Grate, Rocks, and Flame Bar
Next, remove the grate, rocks, and flame bar to effectively clean/de-grease the grill. If the grill rocks are covered in grease, replace them with new rocks or briquettes. Remove the vapor bar or flame spreader (the component that protects the burner from grease spills)
Thoroughly clean the interior of your grill to remove excess grease and debris. You can do this by using a damp rag. Avoid scraping your grill with a sharp edge, as this can cause further damage.
Step 3: Check the Ignitor
Once you have removed the above components and have cleaned the inside of your grill, you should check the igniter for a spark. If you push the ignitor button and it does not ignite the gas, this may indicate that your ignitor is broken. You can cover any exposed wires with electrical tape, or, if that doesn’t work, replace the entire assembly.
Step 4: Remove and Clean/Repair the Burner
If your burners are still functional, it may just take a quick clean to get them working as good as new. You can simply remove the burner and venturi tubes to clean them and remove rust/debris. You can use a small wire brush to remove rust from the burner holes.If the rust is excessive or if the burner holes are completely clogged, you should replace your burner(s).
Step 5: Make Exterior Repairs
Last but not least, if you are going to replace and repair the inside, you might as well make the grill look new from the outside as well.
A flexible putty brush can easily wipe away any gunk that is stuck on the outside. A wire brush can rid the outer shell of any oxidation. Wipe it down with an alcohol wipe to clean off remnants of oil and dirt. Heat resistant spray paint can make your grill look just like new!
We also recommend applying a spray primer and rust converter to any bare metal areas.
Note: Make sure to protect the control panel from any spray paint! Holding the paint can 10 inches from the surface with long, broad strokes will get the job done.
Need to Buy a New Grill? Here Are Some Tips…
While basic gas grills are quite simple to repair, there are, of course, grills that are more complicated to fix. If you find that your repairs are too intricate (or expensive), you might want to look into purchasing a new one altogether.
The average grill, if kept in good condition, can last up to 15 years or more! Here are some tips for buying the right new grill for you:
+ Consider Your Budget
Obviously, your budget should play a role in what grill you decide to buy. While you may be saving money in the long run by buying a new grill, that doesn’t mean you have to put yourself in a tough financial spot. We recommend going for a grill that has most, if not all, of the features you want at a price you can afford.
+ Shop Around
The best way to find an affordable grill that offers the features you need is to shop around. Do you want a built-in grill or a portable one? Do you want a basic grill or commercial style? With so many grill types available, it’s worth it to take your time and weigh your options.
Another thing to consider is what heat source you want. Do you want briquettes or heat plates? What about an infrared grill? This is a grill that you may have for the next 5 to 15 years, so you should consider your own preferred cooking style and the types of foods you make.
You can shop around online by checking out the wide variety of grill brands and styles we offer at The BBQ Depot.
+ Find a Brand You Like
Not all grill brands are created equal. You’ll want to choose a brand that has a reputation for manufacturing high-quality grills. You should also look at their online reviews regarding customer service, pricing, and repairs.
At The BBQ Depot, we are proud to stock over 200 highly regarded grill brands. Browse all grill brands here to choose the right one for you.
BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a metric that quantifies how much heat energy a grill can produce within an hour. The higher the BTU number is, the faster your food gets cooked. If you want to churn out lots of tasty meals, fast, choose a grill that has a high BTU.
+ Consider Ease of Assembly
Not a professional chef? No worries. You’ll just want to find a grill that’s easy to put together and doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out. Fancy grills can take hours to assemble. If you don’t have that kind of time or patience, consider buying a grill that’s super easy to put together.
Plus, a simple grill will be easier to disassemble if or when it comes time to repair it.
+ Look at the Warranty
Most often, burners and other grill parts are under warranty. A burner warranty can last as long as 10 years or even lifetime! Make sure to check your warranty before buying a new part or a new grill entirely. Also, check the durability of the new grill by shaking it a bit to see if the parts are of high quality.
+ Pick Your Special Features
Every grill master is a little bit different. Your cooking style may be more down-home country than fine dining — and that’s ok! Knowing your style and the types of food you want to cook will help you choose which special features are right for you.
For example, some grills may come with LED lights so you can cook at night. Others have side burners so you can heat up baked beans and other sides. Or maybe you want a warming rack so you can make big meals and keep your other dishes warm. Your personal preferences should play a role in what kind of grill you choose to buy.
Best Replacement BBQ Grills
We recommend going over the tips above to determine the right grill for you. However, we want to highlight some of our favorite grills that are worth considering if you plan on replacing your broken grill.
In fact, we’ve compiled a list of the Best Freestanding Grills Under $1000 to help you save even more money on your swap!
Broil King Regal S420 Commercial
The Broil King Regal S420 Commercial grill was just released in 2019. We love the design!
The open cart features 4 Dual Tube Burners with a total of 50,000 BTUs, heavy-duty 9mm solid stainless-steel cooking grates, and state-of-the-art flavor wave plates.
The Regal S420 is $999 and is backed by a lifetime warranty on the cook box; 10 years on the burners, cooking grates and flavor wave plates.
MHP WNK Grill
MHP has been manufacturing grills since 1960 and is one of the best brands in the business. The WNK has 40,000 BUTS of high temp grilling power. This grill is one of the easiest to maintain and repair. It may not have have all the bells and whistles of many grill in the market but what good are all those features if they break and cost additional money in repairs or parts?
The WNK is a two-burner grill that features 642 square inches of total grilling area and lifetime warranty on the burners and cooking grates. Did you know MHP invented the outdoor gas grill?
Phoenix Black Grill
Our third pick is the new Phoenix Black Gas Grill. It features a total of 25,000 BTUs and 400 square inches of cooking area. Other features include dual gas burners, stainless steel cooking grids, a stainless-steel drip pan, and 2 additional side shelves. It comes on a convenient patio/deck mount.
You can find the Phoenix Black Grill for sale at The BBQ Depot for $999.00.
Browse more replacement BBQ grills at TheBBQDepot.com.
Gas Grill Repair or Replace – Ask The BBQ Depot
Broken grill? No problem! You have loads of options when it comes to repairing or replacing your BBQ. We hope our maintenance tips and checklist have helped you weigh out the pros can cons of buying a new grill vs. repairing your old one – and have given you some ideas on which grill may be best for you.
If you're looking to purchase grill parts or have any questions about buying a grill, don't hesitate to contact us. Happy grilling!
The article “Barbecue Repair vs Buying a New Grill” was originally published May 2017 but has since been updated to reflect new information.