There are a few things that always seem to be the norm to prepare for the summer season. We book the beach house rental, map out the next epic road trip, gather up all the camping gear, buy a new swimsuit – also new flip flops because we can only find one – and bust out the backyard grill. While we make grand plans for vacation, the best vacation of all is right there in the backyard.
Yes, the summer was meant for outdoor cooking. But before you get to cooking, have you checked the status of your grill? No doubt over the winter months it took a hit of hard weather. Don’t worry, we’re here to get you back on track with these seven maintenance steps from Sears.
Because this infographic was so informative, we wanted to dive a little deeper into proper grill maintenance. Whether you use your grill all year long or just pull off the cover on the first warm spring day, your machinery still needs some fine-tuning to work the best.
After all, you give your car an oil change and check your kitchen sink pipes out every so often, are you taking care of your grill, too? Let’s check out the steps.
Step 1: Clean Your Grill
Did you clean off the grates before you stashed the grill away for winter? Probably not, but even if you did after it sat for months without use it could use a little sprucing up. To begin, be sure the gas is off. Once you’ve check, it’s time to clean off the grill grates. Typically, a wire grill brush designed to clean a grill is the go to option, but be cautioned when using these tools. Those wire brush bristles have been known to break off.
To avoid this, there are various other brushes out there designed for the grill like a wood grill scraper. You can also stick to good old aluminum foil. Ball up the foil and use tongs to scrap down a hot grill to remove any excess gunk. While you’re at it, grab some stainless steel cleaner or warm soapy water and clean all the steel surfaces on the grill. My bet is that it needs it.
Step 2: Inspect the Gas Line
While the grill may have worked just fine and dandy the last time you used it, it’s an excellent idea to double check the gas hose. A leak in the hose will not only waste propane, but it can be dangerous. Inspect the seal and the gas line for any cracks or damage. If you don’t see any problems up front, double check with the soapy water tests.
To do this, take a glass of soapy water and brush around the seal. If bubbles start to form, then you have a leak. In this case, your seal will need proper repairs. Unless your mechanically inclined, talk to the manufacturer about repairs and replacement parts.
Step 3: Check the Igniter
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Without an ignition, you won’t get any flame. Check the igniter to make sure it is functioning properly. If you don’t hear a click or see a spark, you’ll have to replace the battery.
If it’s not a battery operated gas grill, you may simply need to clean the igniter. In this case some sandpaper or a scrubber pad will do. Use wither one to remove any rust or debris that could be causing the igniter to fail.
Step 4: Lube the Hinges
A well oiled machine works best, and in this scenario, the grill is your machine. Like all machines, after a while they can get a little squeaky. Since the point here is to ensure the grill is running at optimal performance and to lengthen its life, a little WD-40 is in order. Spray the hinges to make sure everything maintains a fluid motion and to prevent any future damage from rusty hinges.
Step 5: Tighten the Wheels
This is often a feature that’s overlooked. When we tend to think of grill maintenance, usually cleaning the cooking grates and dealing with the propane tank gas supply is where the upkeep stops. The wheels, however, are just as important considering a loose wheel can lead to a tipped grill.
When you roll the grill out of the storage area, make sure the wheels are in proper working order. The last thing you need is to be flipping a burger and flipping the grill at the same time.
Step 6: Repair Parts
This may sound like a no brainer, but it’s an important step nonetheless. If you’ve noticed anything else rusty or damaged at this point, it’s best to get it replaced before firing up the grill. By doing so at the start of the season, you’ll prevent feature meltdowns when you’re in the middle of entertaining guests at your backyard barbecue bash.
Step 7: Keep It Covered
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When you’re not using the grill, put the cover back on. It may sound annoying, but things like weather happen – I found that out the hard way. A simple step like putting on a cover can go a long way to preserving the life of you grill.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get grilling! Here are some cast iron skillet steak recipes to kick off the grilling season.