Spring BBQ Grill Maintenance: How To Get Your BBQ Ready for Grilling Season

It can be tempting to fire your grill up as soon as spring arrives, but after sitting idle through the winter, your BBQ will appreciate a little TLC before you stoke the flames.

Before you let those flames loose, a little springtime grill maintenance will not only extend the life of your barbecue, but also elevate the quality of your culinary creations.

In this post, we’ll walk you through essential grill maintenance steps to prepare you for your first spring BBQ (and the rest of the upcoming grilling season), including:

  1. Testing for gas leaks
  2. Checking your burners for blockages
  3. Making sure your igniter battery is full
  4. Checking your propane tank
  5. Cleaning your grill

Don’t let your grill be the forgotten hero of your backyard—let’s get it ready to sizzle!

1. Test for Gas Leaks

Gas leaks can be caused by something as simple as a loose connection or a damaged gas hose—two things that can easily develop over the winter. To check your grill for gas leaks, follow these steps:

  1. Mix a 50/50 solution of soap and water.
  2. Brush the solution onto your gas hose and any connection points.
  3. Open your gas supply. If there are leaks, you will see bubbles forming at the source of the leak.
  4. Close the gas supply.

What To Do If You Have A Gas Leak​

If you see bubbles, the next step is to determine where they are coming from:

  • If they are coming from the hose, replace the hose.
  • If you see bubbles coming from a connection point, disconnect and reconnect your hose to make sure things are fitting properly and that the connections are not cross-threaded. Run the test again. If you still see bubbles, tighten the gas hose and regulator. You can hand tighten the regulator to the gas tank, but you should use a wrench to tighten the gas hose to the manifold.

2. Check Your Burners

Before you light your grill, remove your burners and inspect and clean them. During the cold winter months, spiders like to make a warm and cozy home in your grill’s venturi tubes. These tubes supply heat to your burners, and if spiders or other insects have infiltrated your grill, they can obstruct the flow of gas and cause uneven flames or even flashback fires.

GRILL SPOT TIP: Spiders actually like the smell of propane! That means it’s fairly common for them to find their way inside a burner through your grill’s air intake. Even if the spider has moved on, their webs can block the free flow of gas. Learn more about cleaning out spider web blockages from your BBQ burners.

Common signs of a blockage in the burner are:

If you find a blockage in your venturi tubes, you can clean them out using a special venturi brush. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off the gas supply.
  2. Remove the burners from the grill. Depending on the type of burner and how it is secured to the burner box, you may need to remove one or two screws with a screwdriver, or pull out the cotter pin before you can remove the burner.
  3. Clean the burner tube with a venturi brush.
  4. Replace the burners, and move onto step 3!

3. Make Sure Your Batteries are Full

The grill igniter is what creates the spark that lights the gas supplied by the propane tank or natural gas line.

Not all igniters are battery-powered, but if yours is, take a moment to test your igniter’s battery before you start your grill for the first time. Batteries discharge more power in colder temperatures, and it’s common for them to die over winter and require replacement in the spring.

If you hear a constant clicking noise or a hard snap when you press your igniter button or turn the igniter knob but there is no flame, your igniter is working and there’s no need to change the battery.

If your igniter isn’t working, the solution may be as simple as replacing the battery. If a new battery doesn’t get things going, check that the electrodes are secure at the back of the igniter button and the ignition module, and that there is no damage to the igniter wires.

Still having trouble getting your grill to light? Read our troubleshooting guide for gas grills that won’t ignite.

4. Check Your Propane Tank

Do you remember how much propane was left in your tank at the end of the last grilling season? We certainly don’t! The next step in your spring BBQ grill maintenance routine is to check your propane tank.

To check if your propane tank is full, place it on your bathroom scale. A full 20 pound tank will weigh between 37-38 pounds, while an empty tank will weigh closer to 18 pounds.

You can also check your propane tank using hot water:

  1. Pour the hot water over the side of your propane tank.
  2. Touch the tank from top to bottom to find the point where it transitions from hot to cold—the propane will absorb the heat from the water, so the hot area will indicate where it is empty and the colder area will show where it is filled with propane.

Or, better yet, invest in a propane gauge so you always have an accurate measure of how much propane remains in your tank.

Shop for propane gauges:

5. Clean Your Grill

The last step in your spring grill maintenance routine is a thorough cleaning. Your grill always needs a good scrub before you light it up for your first spring BBQ—especially if you didn’t clean it before you stored it away for the winter.

Here’s a quick guide to how to clean your BBQ:

  1. Scrub the cooking grates, heat plates, and warming racks with a grill brush, then wash with warm, soapy water. Dry thoroughly. Apply a coating of vegetable oil to your cooking grates to create a non-stick coating. This is especially important for cast iron grates, which will rust if you don’t protect them properly.
  2. Remove the grease tray and wash with warm, soapy water.
  3. Wipe down the inside of the grill cabinet to remove any food particles or other debris.
  4. Rinse the outside of your grill with a solution of vinegar and water. For tougher spots, use a specially designed grill cleaning solution.

Read our guide to the Right Way to Clean Your Gas Grill for detailed step-by-step instructions.

Got more grill cleaning questions? Check out our master list of grill cleaning FAQs.

Get Grilling!

Once your grill is in tip-top shape for spring BBQ season, there’s nothing stopping you from creating culinary masterpieces all summer long.

Grill parts designed specially for your grill brand can help prolong the life of your grill. Grill Spot carries replacement parts for over 175 grill brands. If you need replacement parts, find your brand.