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How long should bbq grills last?

We've got a fairly inexpensive bbq gas grill that's 4 years old. We just had to replace the gas regulator valve (it was leaking), the electric starter looks like it might be shorting out, and the grate plate (above the burners, below the ceramic grill) is either being burned away or eaten through from food drippings.

Structurally, it's fine. The burners still work, the cover still works, etc. So, what I'm wondering is: are there items on a grill, regardless of brand and price, that you have to replace anyway with heavy use? Even if we had a $2,000 grill, would some components still just wear out?

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  1. I think value does matter - one might hope that a $2k grill was made with higher quality materials, so that said grill would last longer than a cheaper one.
    The piezoelectric ignition buttons do wear out over time, but again, one that was made better will last longer will cost more...
    My philosophy is just to keep the grate clean and the fire hot. The rest will fall apart over time, and then you can get a new one.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jtpeters

      So I should expect to replace the grill after several years no matter what I buy? The only part that's really falling apart on our current grill is that thin metal "shield" that sits above the burners. The grate itself is study and fine.

    2. They've all got parts that wear out...I think one of the benefits you get from the more expensive grills are readily available replacement parts.

      1. All grill or make that gas grills that are exposed to high heat long enough will need some part replaced. In the upper end grills the shields over the burners will at some point break down. The electric starters will eventually need to be replaced. In cheaper grills the frame will rust out over time and if the burners are not stainless steel then they often need to be replaced. I was buy cheap grills before buying my Weber. The frames use to just rust out quickly. I have seen an improvement in standards recently and even the cheaper ones are being made better these days.

        1. The key to longer life of your grill is to buy a cover and always use it. Protect it from the sun, wind, rain and snow and its parts will function much, much longer.

          4 Replies
          1. re: GeezerGourmet

            We do cover our grill, which is probably why it hasn't gotten all rusty. I guess since all grills have components which wear out, we'll keep the grill and replace just the eaten-through metal plate. When the whole grill finally gives out, we'll probably invest in a better system.

            1. re: leanneabe

              Those metal plate things also fell apart on my grill....And I think I take very good care of it. Here's whatcha do: Go to a home center, buy 2 6' sections of angle iron (maybe called angle bar stock in other regions), anyway the stuff without holes. Cut them to fit where the metal plate thing was, use more as needed. They'll outlast the grill. I paid $12 for this little upgrade last year

              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                Hmm... do you know what section of the store they'd be in? Certainly not the bbq area.

                1. re: leanneabe

                  L -In places like depot or lowes, they usually keep it in the hardware aisle with nuts, bolts, screws, rope, stuff like that. I used a sawzall to cut mine up, but a regular hacksaw will do. A small hardware store may even cut them for you if you bring them the dimensions.

          2. My friends and I believe you should "bite the bullet" pay a lot and buy WEBER - hi cost, hi value, particularly with Charcoal grills and smokers. Now is the time to buy a Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker at Amazon - $200 SHIPPED

            2 Replies
            1. re: rich in stl

              Amen. I am only on my 2'nd Weber in 25 years and the original is still my backup.

              1. re: currymouth

                I have a Weber Smokey Joe that is probably 15 years old and still looks like new. It lives on my covered patio 12 months of the year but the only part I had to repair was the rivet that holds that vent plate on the bottom.

                Rich, Thanks for the note about the Smokey Mt sale, as that has been on my shopping list for ages.

                Does anyone know if you can get a extender ring to raise the closed lid height for the Smokey Joe? I'd like to do items like beer can chicken and similar, but the lid on the SJ grill doesn't provide the necessary clearance.

            2. I have a Weber Silver Genesis... bought it in 2000, paid about $450.

              I keep it in the garage, covered, when not in use. But in the summer I use it a lot! And so far, nothing has had to be fixed or replaced and it cooks like new.

              So I don't know. I guess I expect at least 15 years out of a grill.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Jennalynn

                I've had mine going on 10 years and have replaced the flavorizer bars and electric starter twice. I replaced the grates but didn't have to.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  The best I can get from a grill is 4 yrs from a silver genesis, but I live on a barrier island with a ton of salt in the air. I had replaced the flavorizer bars & grates, but the rails that the bottom portion rusted out & I ordered new ones, but the screws were coroded so much that I could not get them out to install the new rails.

                  1. re: beteez

                    I'm about a mile and a half from the Gulf of Mexico but that's still different than living directly on the water.

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      We have the atlantic on one side & marsh on 3 sides I am presently 2oo yds from the atlantic & was 200 feet from the marsh at my last location so needless to say there is a ton of salt in our air.

              2. I had a Broil King, made in Canada, that lasted about twenty years with only a burner replacement.

                Then I got a Napoleon, also made in Canada, sometime around seven-eight years ago. The casting is in perfect condition and it still cooks reasonably well. However, there have been constant problems with various parts: dead burner, dead gas valve, two rusted thermometers, dead igniters (expected, but replacement proved physically impossible), broken shelves, and more. OTOH, the company has provided all new parts, under warranty, with never a quibble, and has talked me through repairs over the phone.

                This BBQ was vandalized recently and I began shopping for a new one. The overall quality level seems to have dropped drastically. Webers, made in the US, used to be the most durable, but are of noticeably lower quality than in the past.

                One of the problems is China. Stores are now full of made-in-China stainless steel barbecues, with what appear to be high end features, for very little money. Unfortunately, (political issues aside) stories of poor quality control and impossible to find replacement parts are too frequent to ignore.

                Having developed a relationship with someone at Napoleon (unfortunately, due to all the problems I've had), I gleaned some very interesting information. Their standard BBQ that meets my needs (natural gas, two tube burners, one infra red burner, infra red rotisserie) is about $1600 in Toronto. They came out with a lower cost line, also made in Canada, that tries to compete with big box BBQ prices and offers the same features for about $700 less. While it still has a good warranty, the poorer construction quality and other shortcuts they took are obvious. What's scary is a new third line they make. They built their own factory in China. They ship parts from Canada to China, build the barbecues there, and ship them back to North America. The construction quality seems higher than that of their lower cost Canadian made line. The made in China models even have some features not included in the Canadian models. Even with all the additional shipping costs, these sell for less than all of the comparable Canadian made units.

                I have since learned that Chinese labour costs pose a universal problem. Broil King, the other major Canadian brand, is also building some units in China, and apparently considered bankruptcy their only other alternative. Weber bought Ducane, which is now made in China. Vermont Castings went bankrupt a few weeks ago.

                If you can't afford a $2000+ BBQ, things aren't looking good, durability wise, down the road.

                1 Reply
                1. re: embee

                  I grill only with charcoal, so can't speak on the build quality of gas only grills. My last purchase was a Weber performa, which starts baskets of charcoal with a 5lb bottle of propane, I use it 365 days a year, and sometimes I even cover it. It's been 7 years now and I have only replaced the igniter once.I still have to put my faith into Weber products. BTW..Another CH thread had a poster reporting that the weber performa was still only $299.00.