Learn exactly WHY your Traeger pellet grill is not igniting and how to quickly troubleshoot to solve the problem.
We cover everything from checking your power sources and basic connections to finding the best replacements for faulty parts that may be keeping your Traeger from igniting.
If your Traeger pellet grill isn’t igniting, this can be a problem when you’ve got food ready to start cooking and hungry guests arriving soon.
Thankfully, the problem can usually be solved with some quick troubleshooting
We are going to cover a few common reasons why your traeger grill won’t ignite when you are starting it up as well as some step-by-step instructions on fixing any issues that might be causing the problem.
Step 1: Verify Your Power Source and Cables
Before looking at the grill itself, make sure you have power coming from your chosen outlets, any extension cords you are using, and the Traeger power cord itself.
Plug another device such as a hair dryer or a shop light into the outlet you are using and test that it turns on.
If not, check whether a GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) needs to be reset.
If a GFI keeps tripping while turning your Traeger on, make sure you are always using a good insulated OUTDOOR rated extension cord and that there is no water or moisture on the cords, or around the outlet or connection to the Traeger grill itself that could be causing it to trip.
If a GFI is not the issue, check that a breaker at your electrical panel wasn’t tripped when you started and tried to ignite the Traeger.
Lastly, make sure that the Traeger power cord itself has no rips or tears and that it is properly and securely connected into the Traeger grill you are trying to ignite.
Step 2: Remove the Traeger Control Panel and Check if the Fuse Needs to be Replaced
Make sure to turn the power switch to OFF and UNPLUG the power cord before initiating this step!
If the control panel comes on but the fire rod won’t get hot and ignite the pellets, your fuse is fine.
Remove the control panel as instructed below but then move on to Step 3.
But, if you’ve checked your power sources and cables and the control panel DOESN’T COME ON AT ALL, then you may need to replace a fuse on the back of the control panel.
To replace the fuse on your Traeger grill, simply unscrew the control panel to remove and inspect the fuse.
The fuse will either be held in place on a rectangular mount like this:
Or possibly inside a cylindrically shaped housing like this:
Remove the fuse and inspect it to see whether it looks black and burnt out and needs to be replaced with a new fuse.
It’s a good idea to keep several spare fuses around for when this happens.
Here’s a great video showing exactly how to remove the control panel and find the fuse:
Step 3: Check the Colored Wire Connections
Now, if the power source is working and the fuse is not blown, the next item to troubleshoot for why the traeger won’t ignite is the wires and connections coming and going from the control panel to the other parts of the Traeger grill.
First, you need to know what each of the colored wires mean and what they connect to.
- Black is the Power Cord
- Orange is the Induction Motor
- Red is the Auger Motor
- Purple is the Hot Rod Igniter
You may need to cut the plastic zip ties holding the wires in place in order to get a better look at each of them and check the connections. You can re-tie them later with new zip ties.
Each color should be plugged into its matching color near the component it controls. i.e. Black to black, orange to orange, etc.
If the control panel won’t light up AT ALL when you switch the POWER on, its likely the black to black connection.
If you’ve checked your power sources, replaced the fuse, checked all your wiring connections, and the control panel DOESN’T COME ON AT ALL, then the Traeger control panel may be faulty and need to be replaced.
If the display turns on and is getting power, then check each of the other colored connections one at a time making sure that each component turns on when it is supposed to
Ensure that all connectors are secure and are not loose and that none of the wires are corrupted, causing an issue.
Check the RTD Temperature Probe Connection
Lastly, if the RTD temperature probes are not making a good connection on the control panel, you will get an error message and the Traeger will not ignite.
Usually a loose connection will give the error code “ER1”.
Find where the probes connect on the little green box in the corner of the control panel and loosen, remove, and re-insert the RTD probe connectors to make sure you have a good connection.
If you check the connection and you are still getting an error message that says “ER2” or “ERR”, you may need to replace these temperature probes which we will discuss below
Step 4: Replacement of Faulty Traeger Components
Replacing the Traeger Hot Rod Ignitor
If the control panel comes on but your Traeger pellet grill hot rod will not ignite, you may need a new Hot Rod Ignitor Kit. This replacement kit includes the connector, the wire, and the hot rod ignitor itself.
You will need to go out and get an ash vac or shop vac and clean the ash from the bottom of the grill and the fire pot if the hot rod igniter on the Traeger grill has malfunctioned, meaning your grill will not light at all.
It may be hard to separate the hot rod igniter from the firepot, depending on whether rust or corrosion have developed.
Therefore, if the firepot is also in poor condition, both are often replaced simultaneously.
Replacing the Traeger Induction Fan
If the Induction Fan on your Traeger pellet grill fails, you will only have to remove the bottom panel to access it, remove it, and replace with a new fan.
Replacing the Traeger Auger Motor
If the auger is not turning and feeding pellets to the fire pot, then it doesn’t matter how hot the hot rod gets, it will have nothing to ignite!
The auger may also be causing your fused control panel to blow even though the auger motor may be fine; if the auger itself is blocked or jammed, it can draw too much power and blow your fuse.
If the Traeger grill pellets absorbed any water and expanded, they may have jammed the auger.
This is why it’s always important to store your Traeger pellets in a sealed bucket indoors rather than leaving them in the hopper between cooks.
Even with a good cover, the pellets can absorb moisture in the air and expand significantly. It also reduces how long the Traeger pellets last.
If the auger is not jammed with pellets and it is just that auger motor is no longer working, open and empty the hopper and lift out the retaining clips.
Pull the motor out of the hopper and replace it with a new one.
Make sure to check the fuse on the control panel and the connections mentioned above before you go through all this though!
Replacement of the RTD Temperature Probe
Again, if you are receiving error message such as “ER2” and “ERR, the issue lies with your faulty temperature probe.
If the Traeger control panel can’t get a signal for what temperature the cooking chamber is, it will error out and not ignite.
Since the entire purpose of a pellet grill is to automatically regulate its own temperature, it obviously can’t do this if it doesn’t know what the cooking temperature inside the chamber is.
If the problem is not just a loose connection, then you will likely need to replace the RTD temperature probe.
Other Traeger Grill Troubleshooting
The Traeger Grill is Not Making Smoke
We went over this scenario at length in our article about pellet grills not making enough smoke.
However, the general reason is that pellet grills make less and less smoke the higher the temperature.
So as long as the auger is feeding pellets to the fire pot and they are burning, you don’t have a problem. If you want more smoke, turn the temperature down.
The Fire Goes Out Frequently on the Smoke Setting
We have also covered at length why you should start up your Traeger grill on the Smoke setting, but cook low and slow on the 180° setting.
However, if you are trying to cook on the Smoke setting and the fire keeps extinguishing, it may be because your “P setting” is too high.
Unlike the cooking temperature settings on the Traeger control panel dial, the Smoke setting turns the auger based on time, not temperature.
The “P setting” sets how long the auger is OFF between 15 second bouts of turning on the Smoke setting.
You have a range of P1-P5 on most Traeger grills and the HIGHER the P number, the LONGER the auger will NOT turn in between these 15 second bouts of turning.
The “P setting” adjustment is usually changed with a paperclip in the small hole on the front of the control panel.
Gently depress the switch and the display will give you a reading for what “P Setting” you are changing the Smoke setting to.
Again, “P Settings” ONLY pertain to how long the auger is OFF between 15 second rounds of running on the SMOKE setting only.
It does not affect anything on the temperature settings, which is why we recommend you cook with those settings.
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