Why Does My Traeger Keep Shutting Off (6 Common Reasons & Fixes)

The first time it happens it’s a mild annoyance. The second time it happens you start to get a little concerned. By the third time it happens, you’re freaking out!

A Traeger that keeps shutting off can be painful. Especially when you’ve already prepared the meat!

Having got my hands on more than a few Traegers in my time, I’m going to tell you all the possible reasons why your Traeger can shut off during the cook.

Here are the six most common reasons your Traeger keeps shutting off and how to fix each one of them.

Before we get into some of the causes, let’s make sure the absolute basics are done for good measure.

Before troubleshooting any errors, make sure you’ve got:

  1. Pellets Loaded: Make sure you’ve loaded sufficient levels of appropriate wood pellets into your hopper.
  2. All Internal Parts Loaded: Before turning on your Traeger make sure you’ve properly loaded all the internal parts, from the heat baffle to the grill grates.
  3. The Traeger Plugged In Properly: Ensure your Traeger is plugged in properly to a sufficient plug, either directly to a wall socket or through a suitably graded extension cord.

Why Does My Traeger Keep Shutting Off?

If your Traeger keeps shutting off, keep your cool. Although it can seemingly be a random cause, there almost always is a problem that can be pinpointed and remedied.

Here are the top 6 most common reasons a Traeger will keep shutting off at the start or middle of the cook and how you can fix each cause.

Your Traeger Has Power Supply Issues

Let’s start at one end of the spectrum of potential Traeger mishaps. The power.

Any number of problems can come with power troubles. From the plug itself, to the wiring under the hopper. Let’s take a look.

The Fix:

Start the troubleshooting by first checking that you’re running your grill on a reliable outlet and that the GFI isn’t tripped.

Then, examine the Traeger’s cord for any signs of damage. Bends, singing, or fraying are all major red flags. If you spot any of those, get a cord replacement right away.

Next, you can move on to the internal components.

For one, you’ll want to look at the wiring under the hopper to make sure that the wires and the four Molex connectors aren’t worn out. This ensures that the fans, auger, and hot rod are getting a steady power supply. 

All these cords can be replaced from Traeger.

It’s Too Cold Or It’s Too Windy For Your Traeger

Lower Temperature Code Pellet Grill

Don’t get me wrong, Traeger grills can be run all year round, providing your summer barbecue or a winter-warming feast.

But, if it’s TOO cold outside, where the fire pot can’t properly hold the sufficient temperature to continue burning the pellets, then your Traeger will shut itself off.

Plus, If it’s really windy your Traeger may not even ignite.

It’s in these cases you’ll be left with a Traeger that keeps shutting off, and a bright, clear “LEr” showing on the digital display.

The LEr error (Low Error Reading) is basically telling you that the Traeger temperature is too low to operate.

The Fix:

You don’t have to let your grill collect dust just because you live somewhere with harsh winters. No, no.

When it comes to using your Traeger in adverse weather conditions, it’s all about how and where you set it up.

You should always aim to operate your Traeger in a sheltered environment, out of the wind (particularly important) and out of the rain. But, it should always be outdoors – not in a closed garage or shed.

The Hot Rod Is Malfunctioning

All models of Traeger comes with a nifty safety feature that shuts the grill down if the temperature drops too low for too long.

This keeps the grill from running when something is indeed wrong, like if there is no flame and the auger’s still feeding the pellets!

However, it can also mean that your hot rod is malfunctioning. When your Traeger shuts down like this, it will show the error code “LEr” on the digital display, the same error you get if it’s too cold or windy outside.

But, if it’s not windy and not too cold outside, then the LEr error can be pointing to problems in your hot rod.

The Fix:

To truly test if your hot rod is faulty, do a test run on your Traeger.

Before plugging it in, remove all the internal parts of the grill, check there are dry and fresh wood pellets in your grill, and ensure your Traeger is out of the wind.

Now, turn it to the lowest temperature, or even the “smoke setting” and carefully observe the hot rod.

If it’s not igniting the wood pellets properly or you observe it heavily struggling to keep them lit, then chances are your hot rod needs replacing.

Luckily, all you need to do is contact Traeger for a replacement rod. Once the spare part arrives, you can either try to tackle the replacement process yourself or call any local barbecue repairer.

The RTD Sensor Is Faulty

If the power supply looks good and it’s not terribly cold outside, you might have a broken sensor on your hands.

Normally, the RTD (Resistance Temperature Detector) sensor reads the internal temperature of the smoker and inputs the readings into the controller. 

As you can imagine, if the sensor is reporting the wrong reading, the whole operation can be compromised. For example, if your RTD is constantly relaying information saying the Traeger is below temp when it’s not, it will continually try to raise the temperature and will simply get too hot.

On the other hand, if your RTD is relaying that your temperature is hotter than it really is, your Traeger operations may try a constantly bring down the heat – leading to a Traeger that doesn’t get to high temps anymore.

The Fix:

To confirm the issue, look our for the errors “Err” or “Er1”, indicating an issue between the internal probe and control panel.

Another way to confirm the RTD’s the cause of your Traeger shutting down is to do a test of the internal temperature yourself and compare it to what the digital display is reading. 

If your measure of the temperature is out by more than 15-20°F then it’s likely your RTD system.

Again, this can quite easily be replaced even by yourself.

You Need To Clean The Fire Pot

Don’t sleep on this one.

I can’t tell you how often issues come up in pellet grills simply because the fire pot is full of wood dust and debris, or too many old wood pellets.

What’s more, if your Traegers been left in the rain or outside uncovered too long, water and moisture can accumulate in the fire pot, making things a bit sludgy.

The Fix:

Before every use of your Traeger, you should do a thorough clean-out. This keeps it in top-top shape and keeps it performing at its best.

So, before you start up your Traeger, be sure to:

  1. Fill your hopper with fresh pellets
  2. Vacuum your fire pot, clearing any leftover pellets, dust, or debris.
  3. Wipe the grill grates, chimney, and handles.

Of particular importance is vacuuming out your firepot. It helps your Traeger start up more effectively, and lowers the risk of any fire pot troubles that can cause your Traeger to shut off.

You’re Using Moist Or Old Pellets

This ones quite self explanatory, but using old or moist pellets is a big no-no when it comes to pellet grills.

Traegers require crisp, dry, intact pellets to operate properly.

Old pellets that have absorbed too much moisture lose their integrity and often break down as they are fed through the auger.

This can cause auger issues, weird noises in your Traeger, or wild temperature swings which can shut off your Traeger at any stage of the cook.

The Fix:

To clear the jam, you’ll first want to uncover and remove the hopper. Then, you can go ahead and remove the auger from the shaft. This way, it’ll be easy to dislodge the jammed pellets with any long tool or by spinning the auger itself.

Once it’s clear, simply reinsert the auger into its shaft and reattach the hopper.

Now be sure to only use the freshest, driest wood pellets out there.

Check out our guide for the best wood pellets to use!

Still Not Working? Here’s What To Do

Contact Traeger

In any case, don’t hesitate to reach out to Traeger support to get some help troubleshooting your grill, or to discuss potential solutions.

Check Warranty

Many of the problems that cause your Traeger to continually shut off may be covered under warranty.

So it’s best to always keep your warranty details within arm’s reach.  

Check the warranty of your Traeger grill model here.

Local Grill Repair

If you’re not confident enough to troubleshoot the problem yourself or to fix the cause of the issue, you can contact any local grill repairs you may have in your area.

Granted, there may not always be one close and it does take a bit more effort, but the help is available. 

Quick Recap

Don’t let the frustration and confusion get the better of you next time your Traeger decides to shut itself off!

Carefully and methodically look at everything that could have caused it and examine every clue you’ve got.

Although a fair few of the fixes require a bit of effort on your part, most of the time it’s a quick and simple fix.

The most common reasons your Traeger will keep shutting off are simply due to the wind, lower temperatures, fire pot troubles, or when you’re using old or moist pellets. 

Luckily these are all simple enough to fix, so you can spend less time stressing about a fix, and more time smoking meat!

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