Traeger Grill Not Igniting? Find Out Why!

August 25, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

If your Traeger grill is not igniting it may be due to a poor power supply, an improper startup process, poor quality wood pellets, or a malfunctioning auger, hot pot, or fan.

A few years ago, my Traeger Ironwood grill failed to ignite. I had just passed my warranty which meant that I was on my own.

I eventually figured out that my hot rod was to blame and was able to replace and fix it. While doing my research, though, I realized that various components and issues could be causing this problem and learned a bit about to sort out these messes as well.

In this post, I will outline what the top causes may be and also offer you some advice on how to fix them and even replace certain parts. Let’s begin!

Traeger Grill Not Igniting

Traeger Grill Troubleshooting Options for Failed Ignition

If your Traeger won’t ignite, here are some of the steps to take:

Check the Power Cord and Outlets

Make sure that the Traeger grill power cord isn’t damaged in any way. Tears or tips can mess with the connection.

cooking some beef on a grill

At the same time, you should make the power outlet and the power supply can handle the demands of the Traeger grill. If they can’t this will cause the power to trip, preventing the Traeger from igniting.

Always use waterproof power outlets that are meant to be used outdoors. This way, it can function in all conditions.

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Check for Proper Startup Procedure

Traeger pellet grills have been programmed to work properly and efficiently so long as the initial startup process is carefully followed. This is especially true for the newer models. The first step you should take is to shut down the grill and to start it up again:

Make sure that all the internal components of the Traeger pellet grill is inside and in their proper position. Next, plug in and turn on the grill. Set to your desired temperature and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes.

Examine the Pellet Quality

Yes, the issue may be as simple as poor quality pellets. With the grill turned off, look at the wood pellets at the end of the auger. They should have a nice sheen to them and should have a clean snap.

If there are wet pellets or you are using cheap wood pellets, then the grill may be unable to light the pellets on fire, producing a failed ignition.

Clean out all the pellets out of the grill and then replace with dry and high quality pellets. Then, run the startup process.

Check the Traeger Auger

Take out the grill grates, drip tray, and heat baffle out of the Traeger grill.

Plug in the grill, power it up, and set to the Smoke setting. Check the fire pot to ensure that the auger is turning.

The auger motor should be functioning on a cycle. It should be on for about 15 seconds and then off for about a minute. You should be aware that this may vary.

As the cycle continues, see if the pellets are being fed into the firepot. In case the auger is not turning, look underneath the hopper – you should see a small fan attached to the auger motor shaft.

closeup of grilled meat

If the auger motor shaft is turning, then it means that the shear pin has not fallen out. In turn, the motor is attempting to turn the auger screw. If this is the case, then the auger is working just fine.

If there is no movement, your Traeger grill may require an auger motor replacement. For this, you will need to contact the Traeger customer service for information on how to proceed.

Examining the Hot Rod

Run this test while the Traeger grill is still on and with it still set to the Smoke setting.

Place your hand over the fire pot and check to see if you can feel heat radiating from it. Then, turn the grill off.

Begin by disconnecting the fiberglass wrapped wire’s Molex connector from the purple (hot rod igniter) and white Molex connector. Then, reconnect it.

Power up the Traeger grill and let it run for about 5 minutes. The wood pellets in the firepot should begin to smoke.

If this doesn’t happen, then turn off the grill. Then, follow the hot rod high heat fabric wire – it is the orange wire – until you find its Molex connector. Disconnect this. Reconnect the connection by using the other component’s Molex connector.

Plug in the Traeger grill and turn it on. Allow 3 minutes to pass by for the hot rod to heat up. If the induction fan turns on after this then it means that the controller is working fine and the hot rod needs to be replaced.

If the hot rod turns on after 3 minutes but the induction fan does not, the components are fine, but the controller isn’t functioning properly.

You will need to report this to the Traeger Grills customer service.

Check the Induction Fan

Leave the grill on – if the induction fan is working properly, then you should be able to hear it. You can also feel some airflow if you place your hand over the fire pot.

If you have a WiFire Traeger grill, then there are some other steps that you can take to check on the induction fan.

Start by accessing the induction fan through the bottom of the hopper. Some models may have a hopper protection grate. This will need to be unscrewed if you want to get access to the induction fan.

Now, you will see two fans here. The larger fan with the red, black, or white wires coming out of it is the induction fan. If the fan isn’t spinning, then turn the grill off.

grilled chicken and sausages

Clean any grease or debris on the induction fan. You should also manually spin the induction fan to clear anything that may be keeping it in place.

Turn on the Traeger grill and see if the fan begins to spin. If it doesn’t, then the machine may require a Traeger induction fan replacement. You will need to call customer support to confirm this and proceed with the next stage of the solution.

Should You Replace Faulty Traeger Components By Yourself?

Once you have realized that a particular piece or component has given out, then the next logical step is replacement. However, is this something that you should manage yourself or hand over to Traeger or even a professional?

If your pellet grill is still under warranty, then I would advise you to reach out to the manufacturer. Keep in mind that any repairs, changes, or any kind of work may void your warranty. Needless to say, this isn’t a risk that you want to take.

On the other hand, if your Traeger is well past its warranty, then you can certainly try to fix the problems yourself. I would recommend that you do this only if you have previous experience with such repairs, though.

If anything goes wrong, you may end up spending even more money trying to fix your mistakes. As such, if you aren’t sure about what you are doing, then it is best to get a repair person to help you out.

The other thing that I would advise you to do is to always purchase replacement parts from the Traeger site directly. Here you can find a digital control panel, fan motor, power cord, fire pot assembly kit, and more.

By doing this, you can guarantee that the part will function with your grill as necessary.

A Guide to Replacing Traeger Parts

If your grill won’t ignite and you need to replace the hot rod or the induction fan, here is what you need to know:

How to Replace the Hot Rod

Here are the steps to removing and replacing this part:

Step 1

Unplug the grill from the power outlet. Check underneath the hopper to find the purple wire. Unplug the Molex connector that connects the purple wire to the white wire.

Step 2

Open the lid of the grill. Take out the grill grate, drip tray, and heat baffle. This will reveal the fire pot. This component is held in place by four screws – remove these.

Twist the fire pot and then remove it. There will be a screw holding the fire pot and the hot rod together. Unscrew this and take out the element.

Step 3

Take the Molex connector at the end of your new hot rod and tape it to the old hot rod. This is only a temporary fix to make the new component longer and make it easier to guide it to its necessary position.

bbq beef patties

Pull the extended wire through and move the new hot rod into place. Plug the new component into the purple and white wires from the controller. Insert the other into into the fire pot. Fasten the screw so that the hot rod is connected to the fire pot.

Twist the fire pot back into place and screw in the four screws you took out. The grill is now ready to be used.

How to Install a New Fan Motor

Step 1

Unplug the Traeger grill and look underneath the hopper. You will see the induction fan – it is larger and has wires coming out of it. On occasion, these may be orange wires.

Step 2

Unplug the Molex connector from the controller.

Remove the screws holding the fan motor in place. Remove the fan motor and replace with the new one.

Step 3

Replace the screws and screw into place and plug the Molex connector back to the control panel.

The grill is now ready for use.

A Note About Replacing the Fan

You can use the same steps mentioned above to remove and reinstall a new induction fan as well. You simply have to go the extra mile of removing the fan and then plugging in the new one.

Is the Traeger Taking Longer to Light?

In some instances, your grill may simply be taking longer to light rather than not igniting at all. If this is the case, cold weather and wind may be to blame

You may want to move your Traeger grill into a position so that it is facing away from the wind. An enclosed area is best but make sure that the top and two sides are open to ensure plenty of circulation of air.

Most newer models are equipped with a heat retention lid. In case you have an older model, then you can try an insulation blanket to counteract the cold weather.

Wrapping It Up

Even well-designed Traeger grills fail to function properly every now and then. If you have discovered that your Traeger won’t ignite, then this is the post for you! Regardless of what the issue is, you should be able to find your solution here!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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