How-To

Traeger Won’t Ignite (This Fix Worked On Most Grills!)

A Traeger that won’t ignite is not an isolated case, but a common problem that affects this versatile wood pellet grill. The good news is, troubleshooting and fixing a Traeger that won’t ignite is not that big a deal!

The most common reason a Traeger won’t ignite is a dirty Fire Pot. Confirm your Fire Pot is clean, then make sure the hot rod is producing heat. If it isn’t, replace it. If it is, adjust the hot rod so that it comes out further, towards the center of the Fire Pot.

Here’s a more detailed summary of how to fix a Traeger grill that won’t ignite.

Clean the Fire Pot

The Fire Pot is a common cause of Traeger’s not igniting, so that’s where we will start troubleshooting.

Start by removing the lower and upper grill grates, the drip tray, and finally the heat baffle. Underneath the heat baffle, in the center of your grill, is the Fire Pot.

This Fire Pot needs to be clean, otherwise your Traeger will have trouble igniting.

If you see too many pellets inside, or sawdust starting to clump up and cake on the sides, then it is time to clean it!

clean your traeger grill fire pot

You can use a butter knife to scrape the sides of the pot, knocking off any build-up. Once you finish that, use a shop vacuum to vacuum out the debris.

Hint: try not to suck out the pellets from the augur, otherwise you’ll have to re-prime it!

Going forward, make sure you are using high quality pellets. Your pellets should be solid, dry and shiny, not damp or crumbling. If your bag of pellets got wet, or it looks like sawdust, just throw it out.

Check the Hot Rod

If your Fire Pot is nice and clean, the second most common cause of a Traeger grill not igniting is a malfunctioning hot rod.

The function of the hot rod is to ignite the wood pellets at the bottom of the Fire Pot, making lighting your Traeger grill easy.

If, for some reason, the hot rod malfunctions and stops heating up, your Traeger won’t ignite. Replacing the malfunctioning hot rod will undoubtedly restore your grill’s functionality and make igniting it easy.

Note: if your hot rod is producing heat (i.e. not broken), consider sliding it slightly out, deeper towards the center of the Fire Pot. Traeger recommends this when the hot rod works, but the grill won’t ignite. The process is pretty straight forward:

How to check a malfunctioning Traeger hot rod

  1. Lift the lid of your Traeger grill
  2. Remove the grill grate
  3. Remove the drip tray and heat baffle
  4. Turn your grill on to the smoke setting
  5. Place your hand over the fire pot at a safe distance to avoid scalds or burns
  6. If you feel any heat, your hot rod is working. If there’s no heat, the hot rod has malfunctioned.

How to replace a damaged Traeger hot rod

If your Traeger grill’s hot rod has malfunctioned, there is no other option but to replace it. The good news is that replacing a malfunctioning hot rod does not have to be complicated.

Here are the steps:

Removing the damaged hot rod

  1. Unplug your grill from the power outlet
  2. Underneath the hopper of your grill and locate the purple wire
  3. Unplug the Molex connector connecting the purple wire to the white wire
  4. Next, lift the lid of your grill
  5. Remove the grill grate, drip tray, and heat baffle to expose the Fire Pot
  6. Remove the four screws holding the Fire Pot using a 1 ¼ -inch wrench
  7. Twist the Fire Pot to a position that resembles a star to remove it easily
  8. Pull the Fire Pot out to access the hot rod
  9. Remove the screw holding the hot rod to the Fire Pot

Installing your new hot rod

  1. Unpack your new hot rod
  2. Take the Molex connector at the end of the new hot rod
  3. Tape it to your old hot rod to make it longer
  4. Pull the extended wire through to help guide your new hot rod wiring into your Traeger grill
  5. Plug your replacement hot rod into the purple and white wires from the controller
  6. Insert the other end of the rod into the firepot. Make sure it is an eighth to a quarter of an inch inside
  7. Tighten the screw to fasten the hot rod onto the firepot
  8. Reassemble the firepot by inserting it using the star shape mentioned above, twisting it back into position
  9. Fasten the four screws that hold the firepot
  10. Plug your grill and test if it will ignite as desired

Check and Spin the Draft Induction Fan

Sometimes your Traeger won’t ignite if the draft induction fan is not spinning or working appropriately.

In case you didn’t know, your grill has an induction fan under the hopper that circulates air into the Fire Pot. Adequate airflow in the Fire Pot makes it easy to ignite the grill and stock the fire.

If the draft induction fan is not spinning appropriately, your Traeger grill will probably not ignite.

The draft induction fan may stop spinning if you haven’t used your grill for a while or because of dirt or grease build-up.

The fan may also stop working due to entanglement with the wires underneath the hopper.

The easiest fix is to give the induction fan a couple of spins to boost its momentum. If the problem is due to dirt or grease build-up, clean the fan thoroughly to get it going again.

You may also want to get any wires out of the way to ensure that the fan has adequate space to spin without any obstructions.

How to test a Traeger draft induction fan

Testing if the draft induction fan is the problem is pretty straightforward. After all, the fan is underneath the hopper and is easy to see and access through the perforated plate covering it.

Here are the steps on how to test the induction fan:

  1. Turn on the grill
  2. Go underneath the hopper to locate the fan. It’s horizontal with an orange connector, making it easy to find
  3. Check if the fan is spinning when you turn on the grill
  4. Giving the fan a couple of spins to see if it will respond
  5. Check to see if any wires are obstructing the fan from spinning
  6. Turn off the grill and clean the fan
  7. Turn the grill on and check if the fan is spinning. If not, you may need to replace it

How to replace a draft induction fan that won’t spin

Draft induction fans rarely get damaged. In most cases, they stop spinning because of grease or dirt build-up or as a result of entangled wires.

If the draft induction fan of your grill has stopped working, you may need to replace it lest your Traeger won’t ignite. Here are the steps on how to go about it:

  1. Start by unplugging your Traeger grill from the power outlet
  2. Locate the draft induction fan underneath the hopper. It has orange wires coming from it
  3. Unplug the plastic Molex connector from the controller
  4. Remove the four screws holding the fan using a 1 ¼ -inch wrench
  5. Remove the fan motor
  6. Insert the new draft induction fan
  7. Lock it back down using the four screws
  8. Plug in the orange Molex connector back to the controller
  9. Test the fan by trying to fire up the grill

Sometimes the draft induction fan could be functioning well, but the motor is the problem. If this is the case, order a replacement by calling Traeger customer service or visiting their website.

Here are the steps to installing a new fan motor:

  1. Start by unplugging your Traeger grill from the power outlet
  2. Locate the draft induction fan underneath the hopper. It has orange wires coming from it
  3. Unplug the plastic Molex connector from the controller
  4. Remove the four screws holding the fan using a 1 ¼ -inch wrench
  5. Remove the fan motor
  6. Insert the new fan
  7. Reinstall the induction fan back and tighten the four screws
  8. Test the motor by turning your grill on

Check and Clear Jammed Pellet Auger

If everything seems to be working fine, but the Traeger grill still won’t ignite, consider checking the pellet auger for issues. A jammed or clogged auger can prevent your grill from heating up.

Your grill may not start or even stop working if the auger is not feeding pellets to the Fire Pot due to a jam. The most common cause of an auger jam is wet pellets.

Exposing your wood pellets to moisture will cause them to expand and block the auger shaft.

Fortunately, fixing this issue is not a big deal. All you have to do is clear the jam, and your grill will fire up within no time.

For this task, you’ll need the following tools:

  • 7/64 Allen key
  • Pipe wrench
  • Flat & Phillips driver
  • Pair of pliers
  • Hammer or flat object

Use the following steps to clear a jammed auger and get your grill firing up back again:

  1. Unplug your Traeger grill from the power outlet
  2. Remove all the screws that hold the controller in place using a Phillips screwdriver
  3. Insert the dislodged controller sideways into the mounting hole to secure it
  4. Remove all the four screws that hold the hopper using a 1 ¼-inch note driver
  5. Pull out the hopper and place it on the floor

Once you access the auger shaft, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the shear pin holding the auger motor to the auger shaft using your Allen key and pliers
  2. Using a flat head or Phillips screw, remove the bushing holding the auger
  3. Pull out the auger from the auger shaft using a pipe wrench
  4. Use an object with a flat edge to clear the shaft. You can also use the auger by spinning it several times inside the shaft
  5. Use a vacuum to clean out the firepot and remove any excess pellets remaining in the auger shaft
  6. Put everything back together, starting with the auger and the bushing
  7. Reattach the auger motor and screw it back
  8. Screw the hopper and controller back

Conclusion

As you can see, fixing a Traeger grill that won’t ignite does not have to be overly complicated. You only need to:

  • Clean out the Fire Pot
  • Check the hot rod for malfunctions and replace it
  • Check if the fan is spinning and clean it or replace it
  • Clear any auger jams

Let me know in the comments if any of the above tips helped you fire up your Traeger grill.