Troubleshooting Guide: Gas Grill Won’t Stay Lit

The Complete Guide to Troubleshooting Gas Grill Issues is your source for step-by-step instructions on how to diagnose and fix the most common gas grill issues. Whether your grill isn’t heating properly, won’t stay lit, or simply has rusty parts, we’ve got the answers you need to get your gas barbecue firing on all cylinders.

You’ve got your burgers ready and your grilling station set up. You fire up your grill, and, just as quickly, it goes out. You light it a second time, and it goes out again! Is there anything more frustrating than when your gas grill won’t stay lit?

If your barbecue ignites properly but will not stay lit, don’t worry. A gas grill that won’t stay lit is usually caused by a few common issues with very easy fixes:

  1. Insufficient fuel levels
  2. A clogged burner
  3. Your grill is in bypass mode
  4. There’s a gas leak
  5. A malfunctioning regulator

In this section of the Complete Guide to Troubleshooting Gas Grill Issues, we’ll explore the reasons why your gas grill won’t stay lit and how to get your grill working again.

Let’s get cooking.

5 Reasons Your Gas Grill Won’t Stay Lit

1. Insufficient fuel levels

If there isn’t enough propane in the tank or there is a problem with the tank itself, this can result in low or sputtering flames that may blow themselves out. This is most likely the culprit if your grill eventually stops lighting entirely.

Check that the fuel gauge is giving you an accurate read by weighing it on a scale. A full tank of propane weighs close to 38 lbs, whereas an empty tank is closer to 18lbs. If it has enough fuel in it, check the tank for its expiration date, dents, and rust. If the tank is expired, dented, or badly corroded, switch it out for a new one.

Shop for fuel gauges:

2. A clogged burner​

If there’s gas in the tank but the flames are blowing themselves out after properly lighting, you should examine the burner tubes for obstructions and proper alignment. If your burner tubes are not obstructed or out of alignment, you’ll see even blue flames coming out of the burners.

Realign any misaligned components, clean out any obstructions (and consider using spider exclusion screens to protect against future obstructions while you’re at it), and then fire up your grill to see if the issue is resolved.

3. Your grill is in bypass mode

Gas grills come with a safety feature called an Overfill Prevention Device (OPD), also known as an Flow Limiting Device (FLD). If the OPD detects an overfill of gas (i.e., a gas leak), it will immediately reduce the amount of gas passing into your grill, resulting in a low flame (or sometimes no flame) and a grill that can’t get hotter than 250-300 degrees.

There are a few things that can trigger bypass mode accidentally, resulting in a low flow of gas:

  • Opening the valve too quickly.
  • Turning the burners on before opening the propane tank.
  • Turning the propane off before the knobs.
  • Leaving the control knobs turned on after grilling.

The good news is that you can quickly reset your OPD and restore normal flow by following these steps:

  1. Open the grill lid.
  2. Turn off the gas at the propane tank.
  3. Disconnect the gas line from the tank.
  4. Turn all the control knobs up to high, including your side burner if you have one.
  5. Wait for one full minute, then turn all the control knobs off.
  6. Reconnect the gas line to the propane tank and slowly turn the gas on at the tank.
  7. Light your grill.

After following these steps, your grill should light and operate normally. If it’s still not maintaining a flame properly, you may have a gas leak or a malfunctioning regulator.

4. There’s a gas leak

A grill that won’t stay lit could be experiencing a gas leak. Gas leaks are most often caused by a loose connection or a damaged gas hose. After confirming you haven’t accidentally triggered bypass mode, 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.

If you see bubbles, determine the source:

  • If you see bubbles coming from a connection point, disconnect and reconnect your hose. Run the test again.
  • If they are coming from the hose, replace the hose.

Shop for replacement hoses:

5. A malfunctioning regulator

The regulator is responsible for controlling the flow of gas from the source (propane tank or natural gas line) to the grill. If bypass mode hasn’t been accidentally triggered and there isn’t a gas leak, but you still can’t get your grill to stay lit, your grill’s regulator may be malfunctioning.

Thankfully, replacing a regulator is pretty straightforward:

  1. Ensure you have a new regulator that fits your gas grill.
  2. If it isn’t already off, turn off the gas to the grill.
  3. Remove the existing regulator—most simply twist off, but consult your manual if you aren’t sure.
  4. Install the new regulator.
  5. Check for leaks using soapy water.


If your gas grill will light but can’t maintain its flame, it is likely caused by one of the following issues:

  1. Insufficient fuel levels
  2. A clogged burner
  3. A grill in bypass mode
  4. A gas leak
  5. A malfunctioning regulator

These issues are easy to fix once identified and can typically be resolved in just a few minutes, getting you back to grilling in no time.

Still struggling with your grill? Learn more about different grill problems, what causes them, and how to solve them in our Complete Guide to Troubleshooting Gas Grill Issues.