How to Replace a Broken Gas Grill Igniter.

Replacing a grill igniter is two of my favourite things – cheap and easy. Plus of course, there’s nothing more satisfying than a push button to start ANYTHING.  So when it’s broken, life gets a little bit sadder.

BBQ- Hot Dogs Frenchs Mustard

 

My 85 year old mother Betty diagnosed, ordered the part for and fixed her own propane BBQ last week. It involved a screwdriver, swearing and cocktails. If that doesn’t sound like FUN then don’t worry. Because in this case, where your ignitor isn’t working, I’ve done the diagnosing and figuring out for you; all you have to do is follow the instructions and mix up a Mai Tai.

Betty’s problem was a bit more involved than an ignitor that doesn’t work.  

How do you know if your igniter isn’t working? You don’t hear the click, click, click sound it normally makes when sparking.  No click, click, click means no spark means no way for the propane to ignite.

The Two Reasons Your Grill Igniter Isn’t Working

If you don’t get the “click, click, click” when you press the button on your BBQ igniter there are two possible reasons:

  1. The batteries inside it are dead and need to be replaced, or
  2. The igniter itself is worn out and the whole unit needs to be replaced.

 A new igniter (or ignitor as some people spell it) can be bought online or at your local big box store for less than $10 in the U.S. and around $15 in Canada.  It only takes 5 minutes to replace. 

I understand. You’re alarmed. You had NO idea it could just be the batteries and you feel like an idiot. Don’t worry about it. We all feel like an idiot at least 25 times a day. 

You’re also intrigued by the possibility that this is an easy fix with a $10 part that you can quickly do in secret and then reveal on grilling night to accolades, applause and maybe even someone fainting. 

I don’t blame you.

Replacing a Grill Igniter

Replacing a Grill Igniter

Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

How to replace a push button BBQ igniter will cost around $10 and take just 5 minutes.

Materials

  • A Universal BBQ Igniter* see notes
  • AA battery

Tools

  • wrench

Instructions

  1. Unscrew the ignition button of the starter. (the thing you push to start the bbq) Inside there will be a battery. Remove it and replace it with a new one. THIS little thing might just fix your igniter. If after installing a new battery the igniter still doesn't work, move on to Step 2.
  2. Unscrew the ignition button again and pull the entire starter out from the back of the front BBQ panel.
  3. Make note of how the grill wires enter the starter.
  4. Remove the wires by pulling them out of the old igniter.
  5. Install new igniter by plugging the wires into the same holes.
  6. Reattach new ignitor to the BBQ by pushing it through the back, slipping in the battery and then screwing on the push button.
  7. Test the igniter.
  8. Grill up a hot dog. Or whatever you like.

Notes

* Before you buy your new igniter you'll need to check to see which kind to buy. There are 2 types of igniters, 2 wire and 4 wire. Just count how many wires there are running into your igniter. If it has 3 wires running into it you need a 2 wire igniter, if it has 5 wires running out of it, you'll need the 4 wire igniter.

If the igniter you bought is too large to fit through the hole in the front of your BBQ, you can easily just drill the hole out to make it a bit bigger.

Recommended Products

I'm an Amazon affiliate some I get a few cents when you buy something I've linked to.

 

To replace the igniter button you have to remove the old one by unscrewing it from the BBQ housing and unplugging the wires that lead to the burner tubes.

You install the replacement part in reverse by attaching the burner tube wires and then screwing it all into the front of the BBQ again.  That’s it!

This video is the real deal, a live walk along with me as I install a BBQ ignitor in real time.

 

If your new universal igniter doesn’t fit into the hole in the front of your grill, don’t worry about it, you can resolve that with a drill.  Just drill the hole bigger with a metal drill bit so it can accommodate the new, larger igniter.  Strong snips could also be used to do this. If you do use a drill MAKE SURE YOU WEAR SAFETY GLASSES.  Very few people can pull off an eye patch.

If you like grilling you HAVE to try this Indian Street Corn. It’s basically as life changing as being able to start your BBQ with the push of a button.

Make this one of those little start of summer jobs like washing the patio furniture or building up a flip flop toe callous.  Fix it now and u can click start your way through grilling season.


Link to Amazon US Universal Igniter

Link to Amazon Canada Universal Igniter


 

How to Replace a Broken Gas Grill Igniter.

20 Comments

  1. LOIS M BARON says:

    OK, did the guy naming these parts not know how to count OR WHAT? “If it has 3 wires running into it you need a 2 wire igniter, if it has 5 wires running out of it, you’ll need the 4 wire igniter.”

  2. Alan says:

    If one or more ignitors are working, but one or more are not, the problem could be broken porcelain insulators on the ignitors. On my BBQ half the insulator is in the flame area and half is not, so thermal stress (an apparently unknown phenomena to the designer) cracked the insulators right at the metal bracket.

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  4. Christine says:

    Thank you. This is my favorite DIY because it was just a battery change to fix mine!

  5. janet says:

    hi karen i have a large wooden mirror that i would like to spray paint silver i think i know how to do that… what i am looking for is some ideas on how to dress the mirror os it not just plain silver. i like butterflies

  6. deborahinPS says:

    Hello Karen,
    Today was the day I found your blog site and have perused it for the best part of the day. Good thing Sundays are mine to do as I please! I have to say I’m more than impressed :)
    I have a terrific tip for food encrusted BBQ grates…Always keep a piece of tin foil pressed down on the grates after each use. Keep it on while preheating the next time you BBQ, or leave the BBQ on for an additional 10 minutes after cooking (not my recommended way, as I forget to return to turn the BBQ off!)Viola! The tin foil and heat combination reduce the stuck food bits to dusty ashes :)

    p.s. The foil piece can be re-used time and again.

  7. I JUST got your exact same grill on craigslist yesterday and the ignitor did not work, replaced the bat and still did not work. There was a spring on the inside that the bat went inside, i pulled that up and stretched it out a bit and it worked like new. Funny I stumbled on this one day later.

  8. The Itty Bitty Bag Company says:

    You are fantastic! I think I became empowered after watching my mom feel so powerless with most jobs around the house. My dad of course would never fix a thing. Recently, I repaired my front brick steps, we had a few fallen bricks. I love setting a great example for my girls that women can do anything! Thanks for reinforcing that belief. I look forward to following you. Now to fix that damn ignitor. Arggg…

    • Karen says:

      :) The ignitor is easy! You may have a bit of figuring out to do but you’ll do it. LOVE your ittybitty bags by the way. The burlap ones are my fav.!

  9. A says:

    I only 3 hours ago found this blog, and I have a general comment, not specific to this post (although I did recently inherit a grill with a broken igniter).

    This site is the Eames-chair-side-of-the-road-find of my internet life. You are every thing I want to be in life. Except Canadian.

    • Karen says:

      A. That is one of the nicest comment I’ve ever received. Plus the most clever! Thanks. Hope you keep visiting! – karen

  10. Langela says:

    Looks easy enough. I actually made the mistake this week in helping to fix our hay baler. Now I can no longer fake ignorance. In that anyway. I still have no idea how to fill my car’s gas tank! ;)

    • Karen says:

      Amnesia. Claim amnesia.

      • Langela says:

        What I usually try in a situation like this is to say, ” I just don’t (fill in the blank) enough to remember how to do it. Sorry, Honey. I wish I could help. I’ll just sit here and hand you your tools.” Funny enough, though, my oldest daughter (9) now says, “Dad, your poor wife can’t do that, she’s just a woman. Here, let me help.”

  11. earthpuppy says:

    You should have your own tv show!

    • Karen says:

      Kay, um … I feel a bit silly here … ’cause I don’t know if you’re joking or not. But I kindda do have my own show. :) Currently on W Network in Canada! That one’s done, tho … so if you have another show for me to host, let me know! :) Go to http://experts.wnetwork.com/Entries.aspx to have a look at a quick little webisode from the last show. Or maybe you were joking. Uf. Feel like a dolt either way! :)

      • earthpuppy says:

        Oops! Sorry-I’m not in Canada so I wasn’t aware. Glad you do. Just wish I could watch it!

      • Karen says:

        Hah! That’s O.K. I have a single line in my “About” section so I didn’t know if you had seen it and were joking.

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