Rotisserie Oven Troubleshooting and Fixes – Rods Not Turning?

Jim Bob – A long-time contributor to GrillBabyGrill. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.

A chef’s worst nightmare is when something goes wrong in the kitchen. If you’re cooking away and realize that your rotisserie oven isn’t turning, what do you do? 

Your friends and family are expecting a delicious meal of rotisserie meats, and if the rotisserie is broken, all you have is a boring, piece of roasted meat.

If this is your current state of affairs, don’t worry. Rotisserie ovens are pretty simple to troubleshoot and repair. Before you go tearing apart your rotisserie oven, you will need to pause and ask why did the rotisserie stop turning and what is the fix.

To help you work through this problem, we’ve put together this handy troubleshooting guide to walk you, step-by-step to finding the problem, and fixing it.

1. Why is the Spit Rod Not Turning?

Unless your rotisserie oven is old, or hasn’t been well maintained, what’s causing the spit to not turn is probably a simple, and obvious problem. We’ll walk through these problems one by one and give you some options for how to fix the problem.

There is a problem with the power

This could be a bad electrical outlet, the power switch is set to off, maybe the oven isn’t plugged in. Believe it or not, this is a really common reason your rotisserie isn’t working. Plug the oven in or change the outlet you are using, and make sure that you’ve switched the power button to “on”.

Motor Circuit Breaker has tripped

This is a part that some larger rotisserie ovens have. If you are using a built-in or commercial style rotisserie oven, make sure that the breaker for the motor is not tripped. If it is, reset it, according to the manufacture’s recommendations.

The switch for the rotor isn’t on

Again, another really common reason, and one that is super simple to fix. If your rotisserie oven has a separate switch that controls the rotor, make sure that it is switched to “on”.

The spit isn’t attached properly

If you didn’t get the spit seated into the rotor drive correctly, it won’t turn. Before you go tearing apart your rotisserie oven, make sure that the spit is seated correctly in the rotor.

Your food isn’t placed evenly on the spit

This problem will also likely come with a strong smell of burning food. If your meat isn’t properly positioned on the spit it can get stuck against the wall of the oven. The fix here is simple, remove the food, reposition and try again.

Too much weight on the spit

Make sure that you read your owner’s manual before you load up the spit. Know what your rotisserie oven can handle. Too much weight will stop the motor from turning and can also damage the motor. So don’t over load the spit.

Your oven is old

Sadly, if this is the case, and your rotisserie isn’t turning, your solution is to either purchase a new oven, or replace the motor.

2. What if the Problem isn’t Obvious?

Here’s the thing, the answer to your problem may not be any of the typical problems that we’ve already mentioned. Rotisserie ovens, like many other appliances and tools with moving parts can have issues that you just don’t see coming.

If you’ve checked all of the obvious problems and tried all of the obvious solutions, you probably need to undertake a deep dive of your rotisserie oven. To do this, first make sure that your rotisserie oven is unplugged and cool. This is really important for protecting you from burns or shock.

Using the owner’s manual as a guide, gather the necessary tools to safely disassemble your rotisserie oven. Begin by removing the simple stuff; the spit, grilling racks, grease tray, and other parts that don’t need tools to remove.

Once you have all of the removable parts out of the rotisserie oven, you can disassemble the motor assembly and check for wear, damage and dirt. If you find that parts are worn or in need of replacement, reference your owner’s manual for the correct replacement parts. 

Do not try and fix your rotisserie oven with parts that are not recommended by the manufacturer. This can cause irreparable damage to your rotisserie oven.

If parts aren’t damaged or worn, clean the motor and bearings and make sure that there isn’t dirt or grease that is causing the motor to not turn.

Reassemble the motor and install all of the parts that you have removed. Turn on the rotor and burners, without food on the spit to ensure that your efforts have remedied the problem. If you cannot repair your rotisserie oven by replacing worn out parts or cleaning the motor, unfortunately, the answer may simply be that you need a new rotisserie oven.

3. How to Avoid Wear and Tear?

Obviously, we cannot completely avoid wear and tear on your rotisserie oven. Moving parts will eventually wear out and need to be replaced or the oven will need to be replaced. But there are things you can do to slow the inevitable.

Keep your oven clean – this means cleaning after every use and doing a deep clean monthly or quarterly depending on how often you use your rotisserie oven.
Don’t overload the spit – too much weight on the spit can cause the motor to work too hard and wear quicker than it would.
Keep the owner’s manual handy – this is your best reference to how to care for your rotisserie oven. If you have questions about operations, care or maintenance, this should be your first stop.
Jim Bob

Jim Bob


Your rotisserie oven is a great investment for your kitchen or backyard. However, like other appliances it may challenge you from time to time. The good thing is that they are relatively simple to care for and maintain. 

If your rotisserie isn’t turning and you need to get it working quickly, start with the easy and obvious problems, and work your way to more complex issues. At the end of the day, your problem is likely a simple one to fix.