Why Is My BBQ Igniter not Working?

Gas barbecues are one of the most popular kinds of grills on the market. Only second to charcoal grills due to their ability to give food a variety of stronger smoky tastes, gas grills are known to make up for that disadvantage by being much faster to fire up and start grilling. Though they do have a larger number of parts, gas barbecues are rather beginner friendly, making them a good choice if you don’t have much experience barbecuing yet.

However, due to their many parts, there are times when something doesn’t work right or doesn’t seem to work at all. More often than not, many problems tend to originate with the barbecue’s igniter. In order to be able to actually start the grill, the igniter must always be working. So, when it stops working suddenly, the problem’s always noticed quickly.

To answer why you may find your BBQ igniter not working and how you can go about fixing the issue, we’ve written this article to cover the possible reasons. And as always, for anything BBQ related, be sure to visit our catalog to find the right one for you today.

What is a grill igniter?

If you own a gas barbecue, there’s a high chance you’re already acquainted with barbecue grill igniters. A grill igniter is a system used in gas barbecues that’s used to spark a flame for the burners to use and for you to cook with. It’s connected to the barbecue’s gas lines as well, allowing it to draw gas first before being carefully sparked.

Each kind of grill igniter is also different between each brand and model. The system is mostly the same between each, however, though they may use different methods to create the needed sparks. Typically, a grill igniter will have four components; a spark generator, igniter wires, a collector box and electrodes. 

As the name suggests, a spark generator creates the sparks that then travel through the igniter wires to the electrodes. From there, they emit the spark that lights the gas that’s in the collector box, creating the flames you need from your burners. 

Some spark generators may also use batteries. By checking the bottom of your grill, you can easily find out if you have a battery-powered spark generator or a piezo igniter.

Why might your barbecue’s igniter might not work

There are many potential reasons that you might find your BBQ igniter not working, with some of their solutions being simple to fix. When it comes to this kind of issue, the cause is with one of the parts that make up the igniter system, so make sure you check each and every part first!

The wire connections or electrodes are loose

One possible reason that you might find your BBQ grill igniter not working is the igniter wires or the electrodes are loose. Since the wires are what bring the spark to where they need to be in order to light the gas, any looseness can negatively affect the entire system. Instead of the spark making it all the way to the system’s collector box, the spark’s released and fades much earlier. 

In order to fix this problem, you’ll need to find the igniter wires first. If both the electrodes and the wires are in good condition and aren’t frayed, go ahead and disconnect the electrodes from the wires. After a few seconds, reconnect them with careful pressure to make sure there aren’t any loose connections. If your grill has a remote switch, carefully disconnect and reconnect the wires to both the ignition switch and the ignition box.

The battery is dead or corroded

Another possible reason that you find brand name equipment like your Napoleon BBQ igniter not working, is that the battery pack is dead or corroded. The battery is what’s creating the spark to begin with, so if the battery is dead, there’s not enough power to be able to create the spark. In damper climates or during the winter, moisture in the air can also corrode the battery, which can also interfere with how the spark’s created.

If you find that the battery itself is in good condition, simply replace the battery by turning the igniter button cover counterclockwise. You can do the same with a corroded battery, though do be extremely careful when doing so, since there’s still the chance that a spark can happen.

The electrodes are dirty or corroded

Similarly, a corroded set of electrodes can also be why the grill isn’t igniting. However, there may also be the chance that they’re simply dirty. With the electrode either dirty or corroded, the spark isn’t properly released, and the gas isn’t lit. Make sure to check the electrodes if you find the BBQ igniter not working.

A dirty electrode is a simple fix. If you have any rubbing alcohol, soak the end of a cotton swab or a small piece of tissue in it and gently clean off any dirt you see. Let the electrode dry off completely before trying to start the grill again. If it isn’t starting but you think there still might be dirt, try cleaning it again since it may take a few tries. 

Corrosion, on the other hand, will need a bit more elbow grease. With a light enough grit, use some sand paper to gently sand off any corrosion you see on the metal tip. Then, like when cleaning the electrodes, try lighting it to see if it works. If you find the igniter on BBQ not working even after checking these out, you may need to replace the entire system.


There are many possible reasons that you find your BBQ igniter not working. If you happen to be trying to barbecue on a particularly damp or wet day, make sure that your barbecue is properly dry first. Sometimes, the main reason that the igniter isn’t working well is a simple thing of the parts being too wet. However, if none of these solutions fix the problem you have, get a new igniter system. You may also need to consider getting a new grill entirely, if the issue still occurs after that.