How to Check a Grill Ignitor

The ignitor on a gas grill triggers a spark to light the burner inside the appliance in preparation for cooking.

Troubleshooting the ignitor gets you closer to that grilled burger.Troubleshooting the ignitor gets you closer to that grilled burger.
Ignitors typically work with a wire from a spring-loaded push button on the grill control panel to the ignitor component installed on the underside of the grill. Pressing the button sends a small electric charge to the ignitor, which produces a spark that lights the gas around the perimeter of the grill burner. If you are having trouble with the ignitor, there are several ways to troubleshoot the problem.

Push the black wire firmly onto the terminal on the back of the ignitor button where it is mounted on your grill control panel, using needle-nose pliers. The wire is installed with a metal clip that connects to the post on the back of the ignitor.

Push the other end of the wire onto the ignitor module, which is mounted below your grill under the burner. The ceramic ignitor cylinder resembles a spark plug.

Rub a small piece of steel wool over the tip of the ignitor under the grill to remove any grease or dirt that could prevent it from operating properly.

Turn the knob on the gas tank clockwise to shut off the fuel while testing the ignitor.

Press the red ignitor button on the front of your grill control while peering below the grill to watch the ignitor beneath the burner. With normal operation, you should see a spark flick off the tip of the ignitor when the button is fully pressed; it should make a sharp clicking sound. If these tests fail to produce a spark, the ignitor may be bad. Replacement ignitor assemblies are available at grill shops and hardware stores.

Things You Will Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Steel wool

About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.