Performing general maintenance and cleaning your grill on a regular basis will help maximize its longevity.
Anyone who has watched fat and grease drip onto burners and stick to grates knows that cleaning your grill after each use is imperative.
Much like self-cleaning ovens, many grills can be cleaned by closing the lid and cranking up the heat, which turns most of the residue to ash.
You'll also need to clean off the grates-a good wire brush will usually do the trick, just make sure it is soft enough to not scratch the grates or chip off enamel.
Cleaning out the bottom of your grill can be a bigger task than just brushing off the grates, especially if you let residue build up at the bottom of your grill for a few weeks. To avoid this mess, some gas grills feature drip trays. These trays catch food drippings and can be easily removed and clean after cooking.
A more detailed cleaning and check up of your grill should take place at least one time during each grilling season, but ideally closer to monthly.
"We believe grills should be cleaned after every use, and a complete detail and check up should be performed at least once a month," says Rich Kalsi, president of Capital Cooking, a manufacturer that specializes in high-end grills and other cooking appliances. "A check up means adjusting the burners, checking orifices for deterioration, ensuring the valves turn smoothly and making sure there are no loose connections in the wiring. You would be amazed how many consumers aren't shy about spending $7,000 for a grill but refuse to perform the necessary 'labor of love' to ensure their machines are performing as they should be."