Troubleshooting your hot dog cart 

Troubleshooting your hot dog cart 

Our hot dog carts run very reliably as long as they are used properly and are adequately maintained and transported. That said, this guide provides the serious hot dog cart troubleshooting with a playbook for when things go wrong.


Trouble starting a gas burner

  • A propane tank valve needs to be open.
  • A gas line should be connected to the burner if the propane tank is situated there.
  • Ensure you have propane in your tank.
  • Set the burner gas control to MAX and make sure it is ON.
  • What’s the wind like? In that case, the wind likely blew out the flame. It would help if you moved your cart to where it’s adequately sheltered from the wind.

Flames are showing under the cart

  • Turn off the propane gas supply at the tank.
  • Allow time for the area to cool down.
  • Check to make sure the propane gas supply lines are not loose or detached from the burner element.
  • Consult a professional gas line technician.

Cart Is Not Level. The cart keeps rolling out of place.

Place a small carpenter’s level on the top of the cart to ensure it is level. You can find an inexpensive carpenter’s level at a hardware store. You can use the optional Corner Jack to boost the front of the cart to make the work surfaces level. If you do not have a corner jack, use a box or piece of wood. To prevent your cart from moving, place chocks on both sides of the wheels.

Non-functioning Road Lights

  • Make sure that the electrical plug on the cart is connected to the adaptor on the towing vehicle.
  • Check that the wires from the tow vehicle are not severed or frayed at some point.
  • Inspect the fuse box in the vehicle towing your cart. Check the fuse for the brake, signal, or marker lights need replacement. If it seems to be blown, replace it and check for a short circuit in the cart’s lighting wires, also the electrical adaptor leading to the cart may a fuse blown. Use an amp meter to gauge output voltage from the adaptor – if it is less than 10 volts, it is likely damaged.
  • Check all electrical lines on the cart for damage such as wear caused by rubbing against the chassis or channeling. All worn wire must be replaced.
  • Check the electrical connectors for corrosion. Replace those that are worn or corroded. Once you replace the connectors, seal them. This will prevent the kind of moisture buildup which results in wire corrosion.
  • Are there faulty ground wire connections on the cart? Corrosion and lose connections inhibit conduction which could cause lights to malfunction.
  • Make sure that the light bulbs are not broken.

Wheels Squeak with Moving Cart

If the wheels are making a noise when the cart is in motion, have the wheel bearings checked by a mechanic. It may be necessary to replace or simply lubricate the bearings.

Electrical Appliances Will Not Work

  • Always make sure that the extension cord is plugged in properly to the outlet.
  • The fuse inside the building supplying the power may have blown.
  • You should check the condition of the extension cord over the length of it. A damaged extension cord should be replaced immediately.

DC Refrigerator Is No Longer Keeping Food Cold.

  • Make sure the refrigerator’s thermostat is set correctly.
  • The battery may be depleted and it may need re-charging.
  • There is a low level of electrolyte inside the battery which needs to be replenished. Add distilled water if water is needed to be added. Purchase distilled water from a pharmacy.
  • Check the wires from the battery to the refrigerator, they may have become damaged, disconnected, or the connections are corroded.

AC Refrigerator Is No Longer Keeping Food Cold.

  • The fridge’s thermostat should be set correctly.
  • Check the extension cord, it may have become unplugged at the outlet.
  • The fuse inside the building supplying the power may have blown.
  • Check the entire length of the extension cord for wear or breaks. It may have been severed.

It’s Noon, and I’m running low on inventory.

Granted, sometimes it is difficult to anticipate what inventory you’ll need, especially when you are new to running a hot dog cart. Try and always have a backup plan for when you run low on inventory. You can’t abandon your post to restock the cart. Have a wingman with you who can replenish your food supply from your commissary or the grocery store. Having more cold storage than you need will also help manage inventory problems before they arise.


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