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12 Reasons Why Your Traeger Auger Is Making Grinding Noises

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Traeger Auger Making Grinding Noise

A grinding noise coming out of your Traeger grill is a serious cause for concern.

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Most grinding sounds are caused by some type of wood pellet jam in the hopper, around the auger screw, or a clog in the auger shaft itself.

Most of the time you can clear this in 10 minutes or less with the right tools. 

Clearing a wood pellet clog starts with removing as many wood pellets from the hopper as you can before removing the Traeger hopper’s external housing.

This will give you direct access to the auger and shaft.

You can then carefully release the bushing before pulling out the auger screw.

This should help spot any jams.

Though it’s still a good idea to completely clean out the entire auger system.

Be sure to extract any wood fibers from the auger shaft and the wood pellet hopper with a shop vac before reassembling. 

While clearing wood pellet clogs, keep an eye out for any misaligned or malfunctioning parts. Something like a bent auger screw will likely need to be replaced.

Though a simple misaligned auger fan can often be readjusted in a matter of moments.

If your Traeger grill continues to make a grinding noise, even after you’ve cleared any wood pellet clogs from the auger assembly, the problem could be a more serious mechanical flaw.

It’s best to contact Traeger’s customer service department to explore your repair options and investigate if there is any available warranty protection that might cover the problem. 

Why Is My Traeger Auger Making a Grinding Noise

A grinding noise is usually a sign that the internal auger in your Traeger is partially or completely jammed, and needs to be cleared.

This could be caused by using low-quality wood pellets that have a lot of loose, wood fibers, or wood pellets that have been left too long in the hopper during humid weather. 

High humidity can sometimes break down the water-soluble lignin binder that helps wood pellets maintain their shape.

When too many fall down into the hopper they can bind up and make it hard for the auger to deliver a consistent stream of wood pellets to the firepot. 

More serious issues like a bent auger, loose screw, a misaligned fan, or a damaged internal gear can cause a grinding noise.

These mechanical problems become more likely if the grinding noise continues even after you thoroughly clean a wood pellet jam.

What Should I Do If My Traeger Auger Is Making a Grinding Noise?

The first thing to do if your Traeger auger is making a grinding noise is to look for and clear any wood pellet jams.

This might call for removing the wood pellet housing and pulling out the auger from the shaft. Then carefully vacuum out the hopper, and clean all the components before reinstalling.

Fixing A Grinding Noise Caused By A Mechanical Problem

If you’ve cleared any potential wood pellet jams and your Traeger grill is still making a grinding noise, then it might be a slightly more serious mechanical issue such as a bent auger, loose screw, a misaligned fan, or damaged internal gear.

These issues are more likely to be afoot if you have an older Traeger grill or you are often lax about purging the wood pellets after a grilling session. 

Fixing a Twisted Auger In A Trager

If you have an older Traeger that’s been run hard it can cause a bend in the auger, which could cause a grinding sound as it makes contact with the walls of the auger shaft.

If you pull the auger out and roll it across a flat surface, you’ll be able to see if it is bent or not. 

There is no easy fix for a bent auger shaft on a Traeger grill.

You will need to contact Traeger to order a replacement auger specific to your model.

Installation is relatively straightforward, you just need to reverse the steps you used to remove the old one. 

Fixing A Loose Screw in a Traeger

A loose auger screw can also cause a grinding sound.

The more common sign of this problem is the grinding noise persisting when running your Traeger completely empty for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Fixing a loose screw in a Traeger can vary by model. It’s best to contact Traeger’s customer service and they can advise you on the best route.

If you have a newer Traeger grill, fixing a loose auger screw might be covered under the warranty. 

Fixing A Traeger With A Misaligned Fan

While it’s somewhat rare, a minor wood pellet jam can get pushed through the auger making contact with the Traeger’s fan as it emerges into the firepot.

This contact can move the wires of the fan or push it out of alignment causing a grinding noise.

This usually causes clicking sounds with a quiet, yet still abnormal, grinding noise, or a buzzing sound. 

Fixing a misaligned fan in a Traeger grill calls for a lot of disassembly.

You need to find the screws that hold the bottom panel of the hopper together.

Then use a screwdriver to back the screws out to take the bottom panel apart and locate the fan. 

At that point, you can clear any wood fibers or other materials to make sure the fan is free to move of its own accord. Run the grill and watch the relationship between the end of the auger and the fan.

You might need to move some wires or make minor changes to the alignment of the fan to ensure it isn’t contacting any other components in the lower assembly of the Traeger grill

Dealing With a Malfunctioning Gear Issue in a Traeger Grill

If you’ve tried all the other mechanical fixes, then chances are good it’s a malfunctioning gear.

This is not the sort of thing you can fix on your own.

Attempting a DIY fix could even void your warranty coverage. So, it’s best to contact Traeger’s customer service department to explore your repair options. 

Is an Auger Making a Grinding Noise Normal for Traegers?

A noticeable, grinding noise, isn’t normal for a Traeger wood pellet grill.

Especially if the noise wasn’t present before.

Though a low buzzing sound or a soft hum from the auger and internal fan are considered normal operating sounds.  

How Do I Unclog My Traeger?

Unclogging a Traeger grill starts with turning the grill off, unplugging it, and manually scooping as many wood pellets out of the hopper as you can, before opening up the hopper housing.

Once you have access to the auger and the auger shaft, you can carefully remove the busing screws and uninstall the auger screw. 

This will also make it easier for you to vacuum out the shaft and the bottom of the wood pellet hopper.

Then carefully clean the auger screw and look for any other obvious wood fibers in the system, before carefully reassembling. 

How Long Does It Take to Clear Auger on Traeger?

You should be able to clear an auger jam in a Traeger in less than 10 minutes with the right tools and a modest amount of mechanical skills.

If you need to do it multiple times in a year, you could even get faster than that. 

Though if you are frequently clearing wood pellet jams, you might be using low-quality pellets or leaving your wood pellets in the hopper for too long after a smoking session.

This is one of the reasons why Traeger insists that you use their wood pellets, and why you should always make sure to purge the hopper after every cook. 

Final Thoughts

A Traeger making a grinding sound is usually caused by a wood pellet jam in the lower part of the hopper, the auger screw, or a clog in the auger shaft.

Most of the time you can clear this in 10 minutes or less with the right tools. 

This calls for carefully removing the external housing on the Traeger’s hopper, to access the auger and shaft. Loosening the bushing and pulling out the auger screw will help you spot any jams, and you can then clean out the entire system.

Make sure to extract any wood fibers from the auger shaft and the wood pellet hopper with a shop vac before reassembling. 

When disassembling the Traeger’s auger system, keep an eye out for malfunctioning and misaligned components.

A bent auger screw will likely need to be replaced, whereas a misaligned auger fan can often be readjusted in seconds.

If you clear all wood pellet clogs and all the components seem in good working order, yet your wood pellet grill is still making an annoying grinding noise, it might be a more major mechanical flaw.

In a case like this, it’s best to contact Traeger’s customer service department to see if the problem is covered by the warranty or explore your repair options.

This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.

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