My Charcoal Grill Won’t Stay Lit (Reasons + Solution)

It’s frustrating when your charcoal grill won’t stay lit, especially when you’re in the middle of cooking food.

Not only do you have to start over, but your food might not be as fresh or taste as good. You’ve tried everything to get your charcoal grill to stay lit, but it just won’t cooperate. 

You’ve probably spent a lot of money on charcoal, lighter fluid, and other grilling accessories, only to be left with a cold grill and no dinner.

In this article, we will help you troubleshoot the most common reasons why your grill isn’t staying lit. We’ll also give you some tips for how to fix the problem and make sure your grill stays lit. Read on to learn more!

10 Common Reasons Why Your Charcoal Grill Won’t Stay Lit?

Some of the common causes of the charcoal grill not staying lit are as follows:

1. A grill that isn’t hot enough

One of the primary reasons why your grill won’t stay lit is that it’s not hot enough. The charcoal needs to be hot in order to create an even cook and prevent the food from sticking.

If your grill is not hot enough, the food will stick and cause the grill to cool down, making it harder to keep lit.

2. The grill is too hot

On the other hand, if your grill is too hot, the food will cook too quickly and unevenly. This can cause the grill to flare up and go out.

To avoid this, make sure to regulate the heat by adding more or less charcoal as needed.

3. The vents are blocked

Vents are essential for regulating the airflow and temperature of your grill. If the vents are blocked, it can be difficult to keep the grill lit

4. There’s not enough air circulation

In order for a charcoal grill to stay lit, there needs to be good air circulation. If the grill is enclosed or in a windless area, it can be difficult to get the charcoal hot enough

5. The charcoal is old

If you’re using charcoal that’s old or has been stored improperly, it might not light as easily or stay lit as long. 

6. The grill is dirty

To clean your grill, use a wire brush to scrape off any residue. You can also use soapy water and a sponge to clean the grates if they’re not too dirty.

Dirty grill can be a fire hazard

7. A dirty grill can be a fire hazard

A dirty grill can be a fire hazard and it can also make it harder for the charcoal to stay lit. 

8. You’re not using enough charcoal

A good amount of charcoal can stay lit

9. A good amount of charcoal can stay lit

If you’re not using enough charcoal, the fire will eventually go out. Make sure to use a good amount of charcoal so that the fire can stay lit.

10. You’re using the wrong type of charcoal

There are different types of charcoal, and some are better for grilling than others. Make sure to use the right type of charcoal for your grill. If the charcoal is too wet, it won’t catch fire and stay lit. 

11. Use a Chimney starter

Use a Chimney starter

You may have trouble getting the charcoal to stay lit if you don’t use a chimney starter. 

Why Your Charcoal Grill Won’t Stay Lit: Troubleshooting Problem

There are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the problem and find out why your grill isn’t staying lit.

1. The first thing you should do is check the grill to see if all of the parts are in good working order. The problem could be as simple as a broken igniter or a blockage in the fuel line.

2. If everything looks good with the grill, then the next step is to check your charcoal. Make sure that it’s dry and not damp, as this can prevent it from igniting. It might not burn as effectively if your charcoal is old or has been stored in a humid environment.

3. Once you’ve checked the grill and the charcoal, it’s time to look at your grilling habits. Are you using enough charcoal? If you’re using too little, then it’s no wonder your grill isn’t staying lit. You should use about 1 pound of charcoal for every square foot of grilling surface.

4. If you’re using the correct amount of charcoal and your grill still won’t stay lit, then the next step is to check the airflow. There needs to be enough airflow to prevent the fire from suffocating. Make sure that the vents are open and that there’s no blockage in the chimney.

5. You should call a professional if you have tried all of these troubleshooting tips and your grill still won’t light. Getting your grill working again can be done by them.

What Are Some Tips For Keeping Your Grill Lit?

There are a few things you can do to ensure your grill stays lit during your cooking.

1. The first thing you need to do is invest in a good quality charcoal

This will help ensure that the charcoal is dry and effective at staying lit.

2. To make sure that the fire keeps going, check the airflow

The vents should be open and there should be no blockage in the chimney.

3. If you’re having trouble getting the fire started, try using a charcoal starter

This will help get the fire going and make it easier to keep the grill lit.

4. Once your charcoal is lit, don’t add on any lighter fluid or other accelerants

Adding these can cause the charcoal to burn out.

5. If possible, try to move the grill to a more open area

This will help with air circulation and prevent the grill from going out.

6. In case you are still having trouble keeping your grill lit, call a professional

They can help you figure out what’s wrong and restore it to full functionality.

We hope these tips help you keep your grill lit next time. 


To summarize, there are several reasons why the grill does not stay lit. As well as helping you cope with this problem, there are a few other things to consider. 

You should clean out the vents of the grill and ensure the coals are close to the top. If you are using lighter fluid, use it sparingly, and don’t use it at all. You can also find additional ways to help you in the blog.

Hopefully, this article helped you troubleshoot the main reason why your charcoal grill doesn’t stay lit.

Feel free to share any tips and tricks you have on how to keep a charcoal grill lit. Thank you for reading!


How much lighter fluid do you put in a charcoal grill?

It depends on the size of your grill and how hot you want the fire to be. For a small grill, start with about 1/2 cup of fluid.
For a larger grill, use 1 to 1 1/2 cups.  Be sure to follow the instructions on the container for proper usage and safety.

What’s the best way to light a charcoal grill?

An efficient way to start a charcoal grill is with a chimney starter. Fill the chimney starter with coals and place it on the grate.
Place some newspaper underneath and light it. The coals should be ready to use in about 20 minutes.