Keep your grill cooking with a few tips

Anne Agostino has had her grill for five years. Although she cleans the grill after every use, she is going to need to replace it soon.

"If I would've taken care of it, I wouldn't need to be buying a new one now," said Anne.

/*Consumer Reports*/ tested dozens of grills. Their experts say with a little extra effort, you can enjoy your grill for years to come.

Along with cleaning the grill after every use, you want to make sure you periodically check for gas leaks. An easy way to do that is to mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid and water, and then spray the mixture along the hose and over connections.

"If you get any bubbling, that means you have a gas leak. You either need to replace the hose or tighten your connections," said John Macchia, Consumer Reports.

But if you're like Anne, and you're looking for a new grill, there are a number of ways to save.

First, you'll see plenty of grills with extra large cooking areas, which you may not need. Another money-saving tip is to skip options you'll never use.

"If you don't need a rotisserie burner or a side burner, save your money," said Macchia.

Tests done by Consumer Reports found several grills that cook as well as ones that cost twice as much.

The /*Kenmore*/ model 16641 is a best buy at $350. There is also a /*Char-Broil*/ brand commercial series grill that is also a best buy, at $300. Both grills can handle high temperatures without excessive flare-up and turn out great-tasting steaks, chicken and fish.

Consumer Reports says another way you can extend the life of your grill is to replace the parts. Burners, the most commonly replaced gas grill part, are available at home centers or directly from manufacturers.

The Char-Broil grill Consumer Reports recommended as a "best buy" comes with a lifetime warranty on its burners.

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