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5 signs your gas grill is over the hill

If your grill has seen better days, now's a good time to buy a new one

Published: August 27, 2014 05:30 PM

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Even if you keep your grill clean and covered, parts can wear out. If your grill is still under warranty, fixing it is a no-brainer. Otherwise, compare the cost of new parts and the grill’s  overall condition with the cost of a new one. Here are five signs that your old grill might be a goner plus some top-rated replacements from Consumer Reports’ gas grill tests.

A rusty or cracked firebox. A little rust can be removed with a stainless-steel brush. If the box has extensive rust or cracks, it’s time to get a new grill.

Yellow or uneven flames heat. Those are clues that you need to clean the burner tubes or ports; try using a toothpick. If the flames are blue and even when you turn the heat back on, the burner is fixed. Before you buy, check your warranty. Many grill burners come with a 10-year warranty or longer.
Cost: $40 to $150

Flaking or cracked grates. Scrub encrusted stainless-steel grates with a wire brush before tossing them; new ones cost $30 to $250. Coated cast-iron grates that are flaking or cracked should be replaced because flakes of coating can stick to your food.
Cost: $40 to $180.

Cracked hoses and connectors. Replacing a cracked gas hose is a safety must. Do the bubble test: Mix a bit of dishwashing liquid and water in a spray bottle, then spray over hoses and connections to the gas tank. Bubbling is a sign of a leak.
Cost: $15 to $80, including the regulator for propane or natural gas.

Iffy igniter. One that’s integrated into the burner controls, such as those on gas ranges, is harder to replace than an igniter that’s separate from the controls.
Cost:
$10 to $40.

Char-Broil Red 463250511

Top-rated gas grills from our tests
Now’s a good time to be on the lookout for grill sales. But even if you don’t have a lot to spend, we’ve found some grills that offer good performance at a good price and named them CR Best Buys. Here are several to consider:

Mid-sized grills. The mid-sized Char-Broil Red 463250511, $400, sold at Home Depot and two similar models, the Char-Broil Gourmet TRU-Infrared 463251713 and the Char-Broil Gourmet TRU-Infrared 463251714.
Large grills. The Kenmore 16136, $600, sold at Sears. If this model isn’t available, the Kenmore 16156 and Kenmore 16157 are similar.
Master Forge 3218LTN, $650 sold at Lowe's.
Small grills. None of our recommended grills earned a CR Best Buy but the Broilmate 165154 is only $200 and has very good performance overall.

—Kimberly Janeway

   

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