PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With the summer barbeque season kicking off Memorial Day weekend, now is the time to make sure your grill is in tip top shape.
Even if you keep it clean and covered, grills don't last forever. To help, Consumer Reports has five signs to look for that could indicate it's time to get a new one.
The question on Johil Ross's mind is to fix or replace her grill.
"We've been having trouble with the ignitor. It won't light," she said.
If your grill is still under warranty, fixing it is a no-brainer. If it's not under warranty, Consumer Reports has some advice.
"Get a cost for the parts that need replacing. Add it up and if it's more than about half the cost of a new grill, it might be worth considering splurging," said Paul Hope of Consumer Reports.
Here are the five issues to watch out for: Number one, a firebox that's cracked or rusted through.
"Not only is it not going to cook well, but it's also unsafe," said Hope.
CR says there really is no fix for a damaged firebox and you'll need to replace your grill.
Number two: If a burner is pumping out uneven or yellow flames that means there's a clog and your grill isn't getting as hot as it could.
Clean the holes in the burner tubes with a toothpick. If the flames go back to blue, it's fixed. If not, you can try new burners.
Number three: Grates that are flaking or cracked.
"Flaking grates need to be replaced because it can actually break off and get into your food," said Hope.
Number four: Cracked hoses and connectors.
"If you've got a leaking or cracked hose, replace it immediately. The last thing you want is a gas leak near an open flame," said Hope.
And finally: An iffy ignitor.
"An igniter is a part you want to replace immediately when it starts to falter because gas can build up inside the grill," said Hope.
If you decide your grill needs replacing, Consumer Reports has tested more than 500 models.
A few standouts for price and performance include a model from Even Embers (model #GAS8560AS for $400) and the Cuisinart 5 Burners Dual Fuel (model #GAS2556AS for $500). Both are available at Walmart.
Consumer Reports says when cleaning your grill, don't use a wire grill brush because the small sharp bristles can break off, stick to the grates and then to your food and accidentally be swallowed.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT GAS GRILL?
It's grilling season! In our lab, we wire the surface of each gas grill with thermocouples and perform four temperature tests. See ratings and reviews at cr.org/grills.