The average gas grill lasts only 3.6 years, according to a recent survey by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of 9,000 gas grill owners. But replacement parts and instructions are readily available from most manufacturers.
Regular maintenance and some savvy fixes could save you hundreds or even thousands over buying a new grill, especially if the one you have is pricey. “But it’s probably not worth putting $100 in parts into a $200 grill,” says Leslie Wheeler, of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Here’s where to start—and when it makes sense to save your summer sizzling for a new model:
Inspect the firebox. Take a good look at the interior and exterior. You can typically remove light corrosion with a stainless-steel brush, but extensive rust or cracks usually mandates a new grill.
Replace fasteners. Push gently against the grill in different directions. If it bends or shifts, see if the problem is a missing or corroded fastener. If so, you’ll typically find the part number in your owner’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website.
“Our customer-service department will do what they can to send you a single screw, if necessary,” says Sean Tegart, vice president of product marketing for Weber-Stephen Products LLC, the maker of Weber grills.
Check burner tubes. If you see cracks or holes, check your owner's manual or the manufacturer’s website for the right replacement. Some companies like Char-Broil make universal burners that fit multiple models. The Features & Specs section of our new gas grill Ratings, available to subscribers, notes which models have burner warranties of 10 years of more.
“Burner units are our most popular replacement item; they average about $25”, says Michelle Zeller, vice president of marketing for Char-Broil. She adds that while the company doesn’t send out instructions with replacement parts, consumers can refer to the owners’ manuals on Char-Broil’s website for instructions.
Keep grates in shape. Cracked or rusted porcelain-coated grates must be replaced. Bare-cast grates needs to be periodically oiled to prevent rust; Weber recommends a thin coating of lard. Char-Broil maintains a video library on how to clean, season and maintain grates, while Weber’s online Help Center and iPhone and iPad apps include text information on grill care and grate seasoning.
Check hoses and regulators. This is an important safety check. Spray soapy water on the propane tank tank’s gas line and regulator. If you don’t see bubbles but still smell gas, most manufacturers offer new hoses and a regulator for around $20.
Don’t overlook drip pans. Check for cracks and corrosion, and replace if necessary. Don’t try to get away with lining them with aluminum foil, which can cause grease to accumulate and cause a fire.
Leave some fixes to the pros. Weber’s Tegart warned that the corrugated gas hoses inside Weber’s grills should be serviced only by a professional. For other brands, check the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer directly to see if these parts are user-serviceable.
When only new will do: If you’re grill can’t be saved, see our new Ratings of gas grills and the buying guide video below.