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Aug 24, 2010 08:40 AM

Complaints about my viking range

I have a basic Viking Range, 4 burner, 30" VGIC, all gas (has gas convection). I can't tell you how much trouble we have had with it since we bought it in 2001. We bought it, of course, because we wanted a high performing, solidly constructed range that we could count on for years--we cook a lot and need high heat for some of what we do. We have had this oven serviced at least 4 times since we have owned it. The oven ignitors fail and have needed replacement several times, and when the failure starts to happen, the oven can take over an hour to reach 350 and it never heats to higher temps. It is happening yet again and I am feeling especially annoyed about it. It costs A LOT every time it needs repair, of course, and it is hugely disruptive to my busy kitchen not to have a functional oven. The other thing we noticed happened this time, in addition to a failed ignitor: the pan-like burner cover that sits on the oven floor has failed, too! The spot welds holding the flame covers onto the burner cover gave way and the two pieces covering the flames are just dangling there. We bought Viking because we thought it had solid construction and would be bullet proof. We maintain it, clean it, etc. and it seems this should not happen. The other thing is that the numbers and markings on the knobs to adjust the heat for the range top and the oven have worn off, completely in some places. I have been very careful when I clean them to do so gently, using only with warm water, soft sponge, and mild soap, per Viking instructions. This routine cleaning has taken off the markings. Viking has not responded to my request that they replace my oven knob (the others I can live with but I need the markings for the oven control knob--they are expensive to buy and I don't think I should have to pay for it). I think of the old General Elec. range I had in an apartment years ago that was wholly reliable for the many years I used it. I have been so unhappy with this viking and I will never get another one. We also have a companion range hood--nice looking and works well and all but a fiasco to take apart and clean. Don't know if others have had troubles with Viking products. Is it just me???

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  1. You are not alone... 5 years ago, i did some work on the kitchen and replaced the stove. In my research looking for a 48' stove i heard many horror stories about Viking products. I decided on the Wolf and have only had one small issue, and it was covered.

    1. I, too, have had igniters fail in both the oven and burners. I believe I have the same model.

      1. I'm a happy Viking customer. Our Viking cooktop was also bought in 2001. Never had a service call. The igniters for the burners do "click" after the stove has been cleaned, but this is from water or air that has entered openings. The clicking stops within a minute and does not impede ignition. The markings on the knobs have not degraded at all.

        8 Replies
        1. re: masha

          The ignitors, or pizzos are prone to high heat and moisture failure. Most ranges, ovens and grills have a port for using a match to light as an alternate ignition method.

          1. re: masha

            I find it hard to believe you....or you just don't cook often.

            1. re: chiacchio

              We cook dinner at home on average 6 nights per week, typically using 2-3 burners each night (more in winter, less in summer since we tend to grill in the summer), plus lunches and breakfasts that use the cooktop with less frequency. It's been 3 years since my earlier post and the markings are still fine. NB the product that we have is a cooktop, not a range.

              1. re: masha

                Here is the pictorial evidence.

                1. re: masha

                  Hi Marsha,

                  Nice pic.

                  After replacing the igniters on the cooktop, I haven't problems other than the continual clicking and sparking of all burners and have learned to be patient and let it click awhile and eventually the burner will light. Of course, my cheap gas ranges I have had in the past, never had this problem.

                  MY BIG PROBLEM, HOWEVER, is that I have a range and we do use the oven frequently. My wife makes the best chocolate cookie that you have ever tasted. I enjoy making stews, baked chicken recipes, lasagna and slow cooked meats. The problem is that to hold a temperature in the oven the burners must be constantly re-ignited in the oven. I have replaced the igniters multiple times and need new igniters now. It is really disturbing to hear a loud "poof" when the burners finally re=ignite. I bought a slow cooker at Costco ($29) which is a big help for slow cooking some things, but doesn't help for cookies.


                  1. re: NadoChef

                    I feel the same way and only wish that I had been warned before I bought mine. It's unreliable.

                    1. re: ronalynne

                      I believe, for those who still support Viking, that if you read and believe in Consumer Reports, you will find they their polls of users show that Viking has one of the worst repair histories among all brands. Also, in the past few years, in rating ranges, they have found that the performance of the Vikings is not very good. That said, it is hard, i think, to find another range, outside of actual commercial kitchen brands, that has 4 large burners, and all burners that can be reduced to a very low simmer. As for repair prices, I have done a lot of repairs on the top burners and oven myself, and I would say that the exorbitant prices mentioned in some of the comments on this topic, are the result of dealer price gouging - not the parts prices. I buy parts at the same prices as the dealers, and they are quite reasonable. Very comparable to other brands. But, charging $300 labor for installation of two $36 glow oven igniters, a job of about 15 minutes, is outrageous. In the end, if i were not able to do the repairs myself, i would have junked the range a long time ago. Just for kicks - here is a list of most of the things i can think of that i have replaced - the top burner spark plugs, the top burner reignition module, the top burner wiring, two burners and their attached pipes, all of the igniter switches for the top burners, a top burner gas valve, the top panel whose lettering washed off, was replaced at no charge, and a second top panel (whose lettering washed off), all of the porcelain (some was replaced by the distributor under warranty - it was such obvious junk), and a second go-around on the porcelain, in which i finally gave up retouching the flaking porcelain on the edge of the oven door with heat-resistant paint, and re-skinned the entire range with stainless, the top grate supports, the middle piece of porcelain between the pairs of burners, the oven bottom, and a few sets of glo-bar oven burner igniters. Looking at the list, actually, amazes me. Oh - and there was a wiring error made in my range, that caused the top burner re-ignition module to keep on clicking for several minutes before it stopped (that took me an hour and a DVM to finally diagnose, and I was shocked, literally, to find the wiring error). Truthfully, though - what alternative range would I buy now? None of the recommended ranges in CR has the all-large burners that all lower to a simmer, huge oven, and plain controls on my Viking.

                  2. re: masha

                    We got our Viking in 1993, so maybe they were different then. The first year, while under warranty, there was some kind of small gas leak under the front panel, I noticed it was hot enough to burn me while I was cooking. That might be more the installation than the stove? Either way, fixed free. Then it was delivered with very slightly bent top panels, and burner bottoms, and they sent us a whole new set for free.

                    The clicking thing, it does take a minute or so sometimes, but never to the point the flame is going to shoot up five feet when it ignites. One back burner ignitor stopped working long ago, but I just use a Bic long lighter when I need it (not often, two or three burners is my max except maybe Thanksgiving).

                    All the paint has indeed worn off, probably the intense cleaning products I use, but it didn't happen until I was totally familiar with it so again, no biggie.

                    Otherwise, I dread the day we move and I have to leave it behind. It's the workhorse of my kitchen, and also the star. On the other hand I don't think I have computer panels, and I definitely don't have self cleaning or convection (cheaped out) so maybe that ended up a good thing?

                    Oh there is now some kind of problem with the oven occasionally making a whooshing sound, a little scary, after my husband fixed something else in there. I think one side wasn't lighting, he replaced something himself. He is now out of commission so I'm living with it. Hasn't blown up yet (we're talking maybe 10 years)! The oven works fine, if a bit uneven, as long as I set it 25 degrees higher. But the original repairman told me all gas stoves are like that, not as exact as electric.

            2. Any manufacturer can turn out a lemon. The mark of quality includes how they deal with that when it happens. It sounds like they failed on that count.

              I'm sorry you've had these kinds of troubles. It's so painful when you spend that kind of money on something special that you've planned and waited for and then it goes toes up like this.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ZenSojourner

                Taken together from these posts, it sounds like Viking ranges get mixed reviews on both ends of the spectrum. In response to what you've said--that the mark of quality includes how they deal with problems if they arise--I cannot agree more. I have gone around with them for days on this and learned today that they will not sell me the part I need for the oven floor. The part is one that is easily set into oven without the need for any special skill to do so (my husband slid it out and then back in himself, which is how we identified the problem initially). Viking tells me that this part is one that requires an authorized service dealer to "install" for "safety reasons". There is no installation needed, really. It is not attached to a gas line or anything else that could be dangerous. It simply slides in the bottom of the oven over the burners, which are working fine except for the fact that the flame shield welds failed and the piece fell on top of them. It has been quite frustrating. The service provider, in addition to the $265 we will need to pay for the failed part that should not have failed, will charge us another $150 for a half hour visit to install the thing. Viking actually told me that it is my "choice" to have the part replaced by the service provider or not. You can imagine that I was furious with such a condescending response. This is not choice on my part (a) if I want my oven to work or (b) unless I am willing to throw away the range entirely and buy a new one. When I asked to speak with a manager or supervisor, she refused and told me she would not "escalate" the call because she had done all she could. Customer service? I am not done with them.

              2. Happy, satisfied Viking customer here - 48" cooktop and a pair of ovens. Eight years of heavy use and they're purring along happily. No issues except a minor installation glitch which was remedied immediately.