How to Fix a Stove Knob That Won’t Turn5 min read

When a stove knob won’t turn it can be inconvenient or even dangerous. What are you supposed to do when a knob on your stove won’t turn, and how can you avoid this annoying problem?

To fix a knob that won’t turn, remove it and check for obstructions. If the knob is misshapen or cracked, it should be replaced. If not, apply machine oil or some other lubricant to the metal peg shaft and try it again. If that doesn’t work, spare universal knobs can fit most stoves.

Not sure what to do when the stove knob won’t turn? Let’s look at some simple solutions to get your stove knob back in working order. I’ll also discuss some maintenance tips that can help prevent this issue.

This article has been expert reviewed by Andy Fulenchek, a professional appliance repairman with over 10 years experience. He also owns Grace Appliance and this YouTube channel.

What to Do If Your Stove Knob Is Stuck

A stuck stove knob can be a frustrating or even dangerous problem, but it’s thankfully both easy to fix and easy to avoid.

If you’ve recently replaced your infinite switch (i.e. switch behind the knob) and find that your knob no longer turns…check that you have installed the correct length of screws that hold the switch in place. These are very specific lengths and easily interfere with allowing the valve stem to turn.

Andy Fulenchek

The most likely culprit behind the problem is grease and grime clogging up the inner workings of the knob. This will cause them to fail to turn over time if they are not cleaned properly.

Stove knob
Later in the article, I take apart my stove knob and show you exactly how to fix it.

act fast If your gas or electric stove is stuck on

If you have a gas or electric stove and it’s stuck on, you’ll need to act fast.

gas stoves

For gas stoves, the most important thing is turning off the gas. Follow these instructions:

  • Turn the shut-off valve; it should be at the back of the oven. Building regulations require your shut-off valve to be within 6 meters of the appliance. If there’s a strong smell of gas, you should leave your home and immediately phone your utility company.

Note: for older stoves, the shut-off valve may be accessible through the drawer below the oven whereas for newer models you’ll need to move the oven. Don’t unplug the oven whilst moving because this could create a spark.

  • If you feel uncomfortable doing this or can’t find a shut-off valve, phone your utility company
  • Then, remove the plastic knob by pulling it backward, and try to use a pair of plyers to twist off the protruding metal part beneath the knob. Use caution not to mar the shaft or break the valve stem off.

electric stoves

If your electric stove is stuck on, turn the oven off, unplug the stove itself, or flip the circuit breaker.

Flipping the circuit breaker will cut power to the stove. Circuit breakers are located in a metal fuse box which is normally flush with the wall. The most common areas for fuse boxes are the hallway, basement, storage room, or utility room.

Still can’t find it? Older homes (like the one I grew up in) may have outside breaker boxes on an exterior wall.

However, if your knob is simply stubborn or you have an electric stove, here’s how to get the knob moving again:

Step 1: Remove the Knob to access the metal peg shaft 

Before you start, make sure that the stove is both turned off and completely cool. Then you’ll need to remove the stuck knob to inspect its inner workings.

One way to remove the knob is to place your thumb on its exterior and two fingers on its back. Carefully pull straight outward until the knob begins to loosen. If there’s a seal beneath it, don’t take it off.

Having trouble removing the knob? Try turning it back and forth or wedging a kitchen knife underneath it. It might help to loosen the knob with machine oil. There’s also the option of prying it off with a pair of pliers but if you do this, be very careful as it can damage the console. The rope method above is better.

Once the knob has been removed, you can then inspect the back of the knob and the peg that is left on the stove itself.

Back of stove knob
You should make sure the back of the stove knob has the same shape as the metal peg shaft itself. If the knob has warped or become ‘stripped’ then it won’t work.

Look closely at the shaft as well, many times the metal insert (a “D” shape) will come out of the knob where it should be located and remain on the shaft.

Andy Fulenchek

It’s normal for stove knobs to potentially become brittle over time as they are continuously heated and cooled. If you notice that either the knob or peg is misshapen or cracked, you’ll have to replace it. In this case, you should move on to step 2 where I show you how to replace a stove knob.

In the case that you can’t find any damage to the knob itself, it’s likely the fault lies in the metal peg shaft itself. It has probably stopped functioning due to: debris, dirt, or seizing up.

Use Machine Oil or Other Lubricant

Once you’ve removed the knob and checked for damage, the next step is to treat the peg shaft with some machine oil (on Amazon) or penetrating lubricant. This will loosen the mechanisms inside the shaft, allowing you to turn it the way you need. Mustard oil can be used as a substitute in a pinch.

Stove metal peg shaft
This is what the metal peg shaft looks like. Dirt and grime can easily get into the peg housing.

The best thing to do is add a drop or two of the machine oil on both the knob and the peg of the unit itself. Wait a few minutes to soak in before you attempt to clean it and put it back together.

Once the oil has had the opportunity to soak in, you can then proceed to clean the knob and peg. Then give the surfaces of the knob shafts and the buttons on the stove a good once-over with a damp cloth.

Then try turning the peg shaft with a pair of pliers. Hopefully, the lubricant has loosened up the shaft and it turns again. Then, you can put the original knob back on and job’s a goodun!

step 2: Replace the Knob

However, if you still can’t get the knob to turn, another option is to replace it. You can opt for purchasing a new knob directly from the manufacturer, or you use a set of universal knobs (on Amazon) that are designed to fit most stoves.

And, while the term “universal” here may imply what you’re assuming, note that in general, more expensive stove brands like those from Wolf are probably going to be a bit less, well, universal.

A safe bet is to take a working knob down to the hardware store with you and compare the shape of their connectors side-by-side with your replacement option, to prevent ordering and waiting on something that comes in and doesn’t even fit.

avoidance is key: How to Properly Maintain Your Oven

To keep your stove knob from getting stuck in the first place, it’s important to make sure that you’re not only cleaning the outside of the stove but the inside as well. This means that you should do a deep cleaning of the inner workings of the unit at least once or twice a year.

How to Deep Clean an Oven

You don’t need any harsh chemical cleaners to get your stove shiny. Baking soda, vinegar, and melamine foam sponges can be your best friends during a deep clean.

Soapy water is sufficient for the oven racks, though you might have to soak them to make a dent in any hardened grease. Completely coating the racks in baking soda and vinegar, letting them get foamy, and then leaving them to sit in a large container (or even a bathtub) overnight can do wonders.

As for the stove knobs, soaking them in a bowl of white vinegar, giving them a good scrub, and then allowing them to dry completely before reattaching them is more than enough.

Using melamine foam sponges (on Amazon) is also a convenient way to quickly and effectively clean surfaces, like the inside of the oven door.

How to Avoid Stuck Stove Knobs

Keeping stove parts in tip-top shapes not only means cleaning but treating them with machine oil on a regular basis. Doing so will keep the knob and peg lubricated to ensure that they continue to do their job well.

So, during your daily maintenance routine, remove the knob completely the same way you would fix it if it were stuck.

Once you have the knob removed, clean it and add the machine oil to lubricate it to keep it from sticking. When cleaning, take care to avoid getting any soap or water inside the knob shafts.

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Hi, I'm Ed, and I run BuildFanatic! I enjoy providing the best possible information on a range of home improvement topics.

Andy Fulenchek
Owner at Grace Appliance | Website | + posts

Andy is a professional appliance repairman and business owner with years of hands-on experience. He co-authors and reviews appliance articles, ensuring accuracy and top-notch information for readers.

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