5 signs your gas grill needs new parts or replacing

Consumer Reports tests grills, brushes

SAN ANTONIO – It’s time for the summer sizzle. But before you fire up the grill for summer cookouts, Consumer Reports said you should give a thorough safety check.

“Deep clean it and look for any parts that need to be replaced,” Consumer Reports home editor Paul Hope said.

Here are five signs your grill needs new parts or if it is time to buy a new one:

  • If your firebox is cracked or overly rusted, it is unsafe and will not cook well. If your firebox is damaged, it’s time to replace the grill.
  • If a burner is producing yellow or uneven flames, there is likely a clog. Consumer Reports recommends cleaning the holes in the burner tubes with a toothpick. If the flames go back to blue, it’s fixed. If not, try new burners.
  • Flaking or cracked grates need replacing because the flakes can get into your food.
  • Cracked hoses and connectors need replacing immediately. A gas leak near a flame is dangerous.
  • If the ignitor is not working properly, it should also be replaced immediately. Gas can collect inside the grill and lead to a fireball.

If it’s time for a new grill, Consumer Reports’ testers have evaluated grills all year and can help you choose.

“For gas grills, testers look at pre-heat performance, how evenly the grates heat up, whether the grill can cook over indirect heat, and how broad the grill’s temperature range is,” Hope said. “Testers also look at the convenience and sturdiness of every grill.”

Consumer Reports also surveyed its members on their experience with different grills. Weber grills consistently earn high marks for owner satisfaction and reliability. The Weber Genesis Smart Grill EPX-335 35810001 for $1,400 gets their recommendation as the top-performing midsized grill.

If you’re on a tighter budget, the tests have also found that you don’t need to spend thousands to find a high-quality grill. While not as sturdy as the Weber, the Monument Grills 25392 for $420 performs just as well for hundreds less.

To keep your grill running at peak performance, you need to keep it clean. Consumer Reports tried out different grill brushes to see which ones cleaned up the mess, such as stuck-on chicken skins, salmon skins, and melted cheese, foods that typically stick to grill grates.

The metal Grill Daddy Steam Cleaning Grill Brush, which costs $100, made light work of our messes; however, it’s pricey. The Room Essentials Nylon Grill Cleaning Brush is an alternative costing $10. A nylon bristle brush also gets the job done, but you’ll need to replace it more often because Nylon can melt on hot grill grates.

If you want to keep foods from sticking to the grates, preheat your grill for about 15 minutes before cooking.

Always wipe down your grill grates after using a metal bristle brush because the bristles can break off and end up in your food. A damp cloth will do. Use an oiled cloth if you have a grill with bare cast-iron grates.

About the Authors

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.

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